Sulaiman Explains Why He Went To White House Pardon Ceremony



Sulaiman Explains Why He Went To White House Pardon Ceremony

That visit from boxing bigwigs to the White House last week stuck in my craw.

I really felt like, quite possibly, Deontay Wilder, Lennox Lewis..

.. and Mauricio Sulaiman, the WBC president, got used as props.

One day Donald Trump opines that persons performing a peaceful protest, kneeling to attract attention to the epidemic of police brutality, which you see on a daily basis in viral videos which show some bad apples tasked to serve and protect misusing their power and brutalizing civilians, should leave the country.

The next day he’s inviting boxing royalty, in Lennox Lewis, and a prominent African American pugilist, as well as the head of a fight game institution, the WBC, in Sulaiman, to celebrate with him the pardon of a man who quite likely would have at least chafed publicly at this era’s version of racial intolerance. (By the way, there are other elements of this case which spur debate.)

I didn’t pretend, I messaged Sulaiman, whose organzation is based in Mexico. Basically, I asked him, how could you?

After Trump has spent years denigrating your nation, and smeared their citizens and leaders by saying that Mexico sent their dregs to America, where they pillage and plunder…

I head back from Sulaiman on Monday. “This was a monumental accomplishment which took many years and people working towards it. This was purely SPORTS and through boxing, human equality and inclusion succeeded,” Sulaiman explained. “I’m the president of the WORLD BC…. not Mexico. I represent the world and have great similar accomplishments in Japan, Argentina, South Africa , etc.”


I understand to a point his point, and Wilders,’ in that the message he fixated on was the correction of an injustice perpetrated on Johnson. We will agree to disagree, and we should all pay attention to, I think, Trump’s words and his deeds, more so than staged photo ops. Because the pardon of the heavyweight champ of a hundred years ago doesn’t help the next guy coming up against systematic oppression and excessive brutality at the hands of poorly trained “peacekeepers” with anger issues. Note: I in no way imply that all cops are bad, or that by and large cops don’t do a helluva lot of good every day. But until we all rally around the undebateable certainty that this nation sees far too much casual violence inflicted on persons who didn’t deserve that beating, or that modern day lynching, and it needs to be attended to,  we will continue to be undeserving of being able to categorize ourself as an exceptional nation.

Founder/editor Michael Woods got addicted to boxing in 1990, when Buster Douglas shocked the world with his demolition of the then-impregnable Mike Tyson. The Brooklyn-based journalist has covered the sport since for ESPN The Magazine, ESPN.com, Bad Left Hook and RING. His journalism career started with NY Newsday in 1999. Michael Woods is also an accomplished blow by blow and color man, having done work for Top Rank, DiBella Entertainment, EPIX, and for Facebook Fightnight Live, since 2017.

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