ACHILLES GOT OUT OF THE RING
Un fist of people waiting for the train in front of two blades buried. Along the tracks passes a black monster that boils by the sun, but all are accustomed: the inhabitants of Mazatlan live the heat as the Eskimos the cold. The tons stop at the station and by their mouth families fall, and by their mouth families go up.
The Chávez González begin and end their days surrounded by steel. They eat between steel, they sleep between steel, they grow between steel. The Chavez Gonzales live in a corrugated block, boiling, bathed in sand, bathed in the sun. The Chavez Gonzales live in a van, “there on the tracks.”
Life is not easy for the family of a railroader, in 1964.
Life, in Mazatlán, Sinaloa, is not easy.
sometimes Traveling in the Bala and others in the Burro . My father was a railroad. They did not charge us.
The only luxury was Julio Cesar Chavez in his childhood, was the only luxury he could not use in his youth: to cross the desert road to Tijuana, with sand burning his face, the boxer took the donkey , which had no air Conditioned in 1979.
Chavez and the dream of becoming world boxing champion.
“I wanted the WBC belt to buy a house for my mother because we lived in the vans, there on the tracks.
Chavez arches his eyebrows and looks across the interior of his residence with spiral staircase with wrought iron railing, with baroque plaster moldings. His childhood home was rolling stock; Today is a residence with swimming pool. From growing up on earth and steel, Chávez now walks on one of marble.
The road to the ring was always intimidating and painful punches. Steel was always steel.
Was there another way to get the credit you now enjoy?
Not for him.
If you were a Mexican boy in the mid-eighties, Chavez would most likely represent a kind of father figure for you and your friends. He had that same temperance in the face of the adversity that we attributed to our parents. It was normal.
Mr. Nocáut also attributes to his father a courage of epic proportions: “My father saved lives. He was burning a wagon with dynamite near Los Mochis and he just took the burning train out of town because it was going to explode. Each month of October they pay homage to him. “
The Mexican boxing legend, the champion with 86 KOs, recalls a Mexican legend older than him.
“Like Jesus Garcia, the hero of Nacozari,” I ask.
“That’s right,” he says, more proud of his family than even his achievements in the sport.
The corrido Machine 501 tells the story of the Mexican machinist who at the beginning of the century reversed a train loaded with dynamite to take him away from Nacozari, a mining town in northern Mexico. He saved hundreds of Nacozari’s lives and ended his.
Stoker says ,
Jesus, come shoring up ,
look at the car behind
and us is burning.
Jesus Garcia replied:
I think very different,
I do not want to be the cause
of the death of so many people.
For the (ultra) political man, Chávez’s victories represented triumphs over Yankee imperialism, while for mothers, it was the opportunity to gather his people into a society that would put everyone in a good mood. It was as if, as long as our Aztec warrior continued to defeat all those soldiers sent by the northern neighbor, everything would be fine.
The legendary Salvador Sánchez had died in 82; Robert Manos de Piedra Duran had broken our hearts by refusing to continue chasing the elusive Sugar Ray Leonard a couple of years earlier. We were sure Chavez would never do that to us. He would continue with us for an indefinite time and would pursue his enemies tirelessly until they were defeated.
In Mexico the economy did not improve, democracy refused to arrive, but what happened in the string we saw as a sample of all we could do when facing our competitors under equal circumstances.
The feats of the great Mexican champion acquired a chivalrous hue by the elegance with which they were carried out. We never saw him bluster or insult his rival before a brawl. Instead of gaining recognition through an extravagant personality, Julio’s explosiveness was provided by his fighting style: without knowing the reverse and with combos of blows that were meant to hurt each impact, rather than impressing judges.
“It’s time to ride the bicycle,” a whole nation chorused, after we saw that the enemy was retreating when he felt the first hook of our countryman.
Unlike the politician, perhaps the most repudiated figure in Mexico, Chavez attracted attention through his actions, not his verbiage.
The triumph of the Mexican on the gringo and Russia no longer occurred only in jokes rogues. It was as if Chávez avenged the spoils suffered in the political field crushing the liver to his rivals, making them urinate blood. This is how he seduced a whole country that stood at his feet.
Jejejeje … Glass bottles, a cry … Jejejeje … A lighter … Splash … A man lying on a pool chair, with a robe, eats abalone from a tray at his side. On the fourth floor of a hotel in San Jose, California, the man in the dressing gown, the man who surrounds one of his legs with the other, is surrounded by a group of unemployed men taking, smoking, laughing, serving.
Ah … how much joy. To have Julio César Chávez as patron is a guarantee of two things: money and fun. A prosperous man, a champion, a national hero, a generous man, a simple man … In the 90’s, there was no other Mexican sportsman who was a better employer than Julio Cesar Chavez. After each fight, he would gather his staff, invite them to eat, and then ask them to line up in front of him. JC sat at a table and one by one gave them an envelope with cash money. “Take money home,” he told them.
That late afternoon, Chavez rested by the hotel pool, twenty days before Ken Sigurani’s fight, an American he knocked out in the third round. He was so confident of his triumph that his lodging in California used it to rest. And that was something in his team celebrated … Except Rómulo Quirarte.
Rómulo Quirarte did not want the people close to the boxer. Romulus referred to them as “a ball of lame eggs.” Adulterers.
… Jejejeje … Glass bottles … a few shouts … Jejejeje … A lighter … Man overboard! .. hehehe … But Julio César Chávez had him – he professes – a monumental affection for the coach who prepared him his first years in Tijuana. So for that fight, consummate Chávez, the great champion, had invited him … but Romulo did not know that Chavez did not want to prepare for Sigurani … So when he saw him eating abalone, in the middle of a private party, lying in a hotel coat , With his legs crossed, Romulus scolded him:
“Why do you get me out of the gym if you thought you were a bastard?”
Chavez stared at him, his mouth full of mollusk.
“You have many patterns,” said Romulus. It’s been days since I got to the hotel and they do not let me see you – “The boss does not want to be disturbed,” they would say. I’m blocking this ball of prepotent.
Chavez rose from his chair:
“Oh, you bastards!” -his child. From now on they respect Don Romulo. The one who does not respect it, I’m going to fuck it, “I blurted. If you want to see me, the old man sees me. Is that clear?
Then Romulus ordered him to get up and run.
“No, old man, I brought you to train me for the next fight, not this one.
JC’s next fight was against Oscar de la Hoya, who had already beaten him once. The Mexicans saw Chavez’s defeat before de Hoya as the defeat of a country.
“Get up and let’s run,” he repeated.
The sound of bottles and laughter went out. Chávez took off his robe and that afternoon, he went running …
Rómulo Quirarte, surrounded by children, adolescents and adults sweating, beating the air, sticking to the pear, sticking to the sack, sticking to his shadows:
“Julio’s greatest virtue is his discipline.
“You never lost it?”
He lost his temper, but he never lost it. He was always obedient. When I trained, I really trained. He forgot all of them. Chávez is a fighter like few: touched by the hand of God.
In the decade of the 90, the soundtrack of the fights of Chávez was the elegant narration of Sony Alarcón and Toño Andere. This ended with the arrival of P ago by Event . Boxing disappeared from Mexican television. A sort of middle-aged pugilistic began. The public that had no way of seeing the most important functions stopped being interested in boxing. By that time Julio had already consolidated his career and, instead of affecting him, allowed him to access more generous bags. Chavez became the king of Pay per View.
The television monopoly canceled its boxing transmissions, turning football into the official sport, not because it was more natural to the Mexican spirit, but because of its ease of sale. It is more profitable to make the spectator follow a team that plays every weekend than a boxer who requires at least two months of preparation and rest between fights.
Many good Aztecs gladiators who did not have the opportunity to become a hobby before the arrival of pay – per – were victims of obscurantism that pierced his profession for those years. Televisa had determined that the only athletes to follow would be the Mexican soccer players and his teleauditorio, as always, he ignored to him. That is why I ask Julio for the fighters that he considers not having the deserved recognition, despite having left, like him, blood, sweat and tears on the shed.
I admit it, the question is biased. I hope you mention your friend and sparring José Luis Castillo, for example. Or the great Daniel Zaragoza, another favorite of the interviewer.
It does not happen. But not for the greed of wanting all the recognition of his people for him alone. Quite the opposite. He feels the challenge of listing so many good colleagues outweighs him. He turns upward and watches the majestic chandelier hanging from a dome on the roof of his home.
He concludes that he can not answer that question.
-Hazela! … It is that they are many … The net … To chile … It is that you know that Mexico has always been the cradle of great world champions. They say that I am the best Mexican fighter of all time but I do not consider it that way …
-What is the heaviest category of talent these days? I say, just to get him out of trouble.
It does not happen.
Chavez, as average northern, turns “son of the fucking” into son. It is his way of protesting what he considers another puzzle impossible to solve. He then goes on to list almost all the categories recognized by the boxing organizations.
“They’re the middleweights, the lightweights, the supergallos … But also the feathers, because there you have Mickey Garcia, for example.
I ask the generic question:
-What were your five most complicated matches?
“Lots of very tough fights,” he says, clearing his throat and adjusting, as if the pure memory caused him to stab his ribs.
-The two with Roger Mayweather were difficult because the güey struck very hard with the right hand. In the second I became the monarch of the superligeros, “he says, with an accent that accuses him of being in each syllable he utters. Hence Edwin Rosario’s, where I got the scepter of the light ones. He hits so hard that you hit a home jab and make that you beat her with a bat in his head.
Make a parenthesis.
“That bastard talked a lot of shit,” he said, not nodding and looking past the brown quarry fireplace in front of him.
But without doubt the toughest fight I ever had was the first with Meldrick Taylor . The toughest fighter I’ve ever fought. The nicest of all – he says in homage to a man who left a part of his being in the ring on the night of March 17, 1990, in Las Vegas, Nevada.
“The super athlete raised and designed by the perverse Uncle Sam to beat Chavez,” thought the Manicheans.
They were partly right. The brunette seemed to possess the ideal style to challenge ours. It was all that the servant in Sinaloa was not: artificial, vain and elusive. Chavez was the opposite: no tricks him by his as the bolo punch ; The style that defined it was sobriety; And never ran. It was easy to find for what could be offered to the rival.
Taylor was a dancer.
“Chavez was the plumber who arrives in his truck. Meldrick the pretentious who drives the fancy Jaguar. The problem was that the truck could crush the Jaguar, “explains the American journalist Ron Borges.
Two of the three judges had Taylor winning by wide margin until the eleventh episode. The Legend needed a knockout to win. The bloody final point Chavez placed in the American’s jaw was the pincelazo of an artist who had just painted his masterpiece. His Mona Lisa, his Guernica.
Almost all the Mexicans I know have a vivid recollection of that litigation first considered the best of the year and then enshrined as the best of the 1990s by The Ring magazine. They know perfectly well where they saw her, who they were with and what they did after referee Richard Steele declared the TKO in favor of the Mexican, with only two seconds to go.
“Have you seen someone as talented as Meldrick Taylor among today’s superligeros?”
The born in Ciudad Obregón, Sonora, is sharp.
Taylor’s quality of life and health declined dramatically after facing Boxing’s Caesar. Seeing his facial fracture and seeing him urinate blood, the Nevada commission doctor sent Meldrick urgently to the hospital. The Olympic champion born in Philadelphia has never been the same again. The punishment received that night was too much. Difficulty in speaking and loss of memory were evident during his public appearances.
“All those rivals I mentioned to you were of much better quality than those I lost.
“How about Kostya Tszyu?”
“They cheated on me in that fight.” Don King sold me to the Russian promoter. I was dehydrated. They gave me a concoction that made me go to the bathroom like fifteen times before the fight and I got up well fucked.
“But I had a brutal strike,” I say.
“Not to win.”
The same thing he thinks of Oscar de la Hoya, nemesis during the twilight of his career and who claimed two defeats when the skin of his face opened easily and his physical condition was no longer the same.
Oscar was the improvement that Bob Arum made to the product created by his competitor Don King. It was the pasteurized and commercial version of the Mexican fajador. Maybe with less power in his fists but bilingual, without vices and flirtatious with the camera.
It sold well to the Mexicans who had the most money on them – those who lived in Upper California.
“Oscar was cute. Oscar struck as cute. Oscar fascinated women. Oscar is not a real Mexican. Nothing can be authentic if it comes from Los Angeles, “wrote the author of crime novel James Ellroy in his book, Destino: la morgue.
When a power is overcome by trifles, defeat takes on epic dimensions. Zishe Breitbart, the strongman Jew who could lift chains elephants and break his arms, was killed in 1925 by a rusty nail that got wood smacking accidentally pricked up his leg. Today is legend among Jews. Robert Wadlow, the tallest man in the world, died in 1940 with a blister that infected his foot. Shoe size 37 double A. At the funeral of the man who died having 2.72 meters and 22 years, attended by about 30 thousand people. His family buried him in solid concrete for fear of fanatics desecrating him. Goliath, the Philistine soldier who for 40 days challenged the Israeli army, was defeated by a shepherd. “You can not go against that Philistine to fight with him, for you are a child and he is a man of war from his youth,” Saul told his son David. The giant with squire, with spear, with javelin, with sword, with helmet and armor, was defeated by a boy in blond hair, with a wallet, with a staff, with a sling and a stone. Ethiopian Abebe Bikila barefoot gold in the 1960 Olympic marathon. Vietnam defeated the United States in a war without chemical weapons. Apple crushed the mighty IBM from a garage. The 17 thief robbers who plundered 2.6 million pounds ($ 78 million) of a train in England in 1963 fell because they forgot a monopoly with fingerprints on a farm that police found five days later .
Julio Cesar Chavez, Mr. Nocaut, the man raised in steel, the man who looked like steel, was defeated by a young pop singer.
“Show me a hero and I’ll write you a tragedy,” said writer William Faulkner.
What most encourages Julio are the issues related to his Mexican roots, so I ask him about the cities he loves the most.
-Definitely to Tijuana and Culiacán. To Tijuana because I was recognized as a fighter here. Here I was given shelter Esteban and Lupita Virgen. I stayed for a year in his house. With them I knew God. It was a very Catholic family. I was very poor. They gave me food. Everything he earned sent him to Culiacan. That’s how I made my mother’s house.
He was very poor. It was common for me not to eat. It was customary for Chávez to train with hunger.
“We lent him money to take the truck to Esteban’s house, or we gave him a lift to the house of Stephen, where he lived.
Esteban Virgen was the promoter of box that knew to Julio Caesar, because before it knew his brothers, that before the man legend, and they were boxing.
“Everything he earned, as it was, sent him to Culiacan with his mother.
Rómulo Quirarte speaks surrounded by boxers drenched in sweat, steeped in the history of Julius Caesar. “Chavez is 52 now,” says a young man who is blindfolded to beat his sack. “He was re humble,” says he who sells it.
One afternoon in 1981, after 5:00 pm, when the young Julio Cesar Chavez finished working in the gymnasium of Romulo Quirarte, he was invited to eat at the coach’s house. He sat with his six children at the table, on the steps of the stove, to eat softly.
In the room of the Quirarte family, three beds were laid out. In five square meters, they ate eight people.
Julio Cesar Chavez served the stew himself.
“When he likes a meal, he serves himself,” says Romulus.
“That time he left us without food,” he says with a laugh, Roberto Quirarte, his son.
Chávez used Tijuana as a pivot to move to cities such as Las Vegas and Los Angeles, to name them. Then it was used by other sinaloenses who followed in his footsteps, as Humberto La Zorrita Soto, Daniel El Travieso Arce and Antonio DeMarco.
-By the way, I find pictures of you in seafood restaurants all over Tijuana and Culiacán, what is your favorite seafood?
This question encourages him even more. He sits in his chair and runs his tongue over his upper lip.
-Definitely the ax callus, that hard and big of Sinaloa.
But the gastronomic pleasures of Julio César Chávez, like any other pleasure, require sacrifices. The ax callus is considered a delicacy in Mexico. Chavez is interested when I tell him about the dead divers when a rich vein of this molluscated mollusk is found in Teacapán, Sinaloa.
-How was that? – He wants to know.
I explain that the deaths were the result of the decompression that several inexperienced divers underwent to hasten to the surface of the water, after having spent hours working in the depths of the sea.
“Come on,” he says in amazement.
The people demanded more and more heroic exploits. To have to feed our chauvinism again and again was their responsibility. The pressure was similar to that of those divers in Teacapán. Money, fame and gold belts did not give her the expected tranquility. The small fissures that made our hero human became evident.
After his retirement from the strings, his life became a lost weekend, as The Lost Weekend, Billy Wilder’s movie. The days and nights of intense parranda came to charge his bill, weakening him physically and making him dependent on alcohol and drugs.
Julio Cesar Chavez is a giant because he accepts his mistakes. When in 1999 he lost by TKO to African-American Willy Wise in Las Vegas, he burst into tears. It was the fourth time Chávez had lost in 19 years.
“It’s my fault, old man,” he said, crying to Rómulo Quirarte, the coach he most respects, who he most thanks.
“You prepared very well to lose,” said Romulus, a gray-haired man with glasses on his nose.
“It’s my fault, old man,” Chavez repeated in the dressing rooms of the Hilton Hotel.
One afternoon, he tried to commit suicide.
When his addiction to cocaine had consumed him, he locked his crew in a room of his house and went out into the courtyard to get shot in the temple.
His explanations of why he is still alive are varied. When he pulled the trigger, the pistol jammed. When he was pulling the trigger, the figure of God appeared on his head.
In both versions, he freed his employees, who ended up kneeling in front of him.
Even in the debacle of his career, Julio Cesar Chavez’s record was higher than that of Floyd Mayweather Jr., now considered the best boxer on the planet.
Julio Cesar Chavez remained undefeated for 14 years.
Floyd Mayweather Jr. has been missing for 18 years.
Chavez lost in his 89th fight.
Mayweather carries 46 fights intact.
In 18 years, Chavez fought 5.5 times a year.
In 18 years, Mayweather has fought 2.2 times a year.
If Julio Cesar Chavez was a locomotive, Floyd Mayweather Jr. is today a brass car.
Flashback on February 20, 1993. More than 130,000 Mexicans present at Estadio Azteca to watch their idol fight against the American Greg Haugen, who had had the audacity to affirm that the only impressive thing of the JC’s record was because he did not Had faced more than pure “taxi drivers in Tijuana.”
All the lights go out, except one that illuminates a mythical and imposing Chavez wearing a white shorts with the logo of the Bank of Atlantic, whose owner is a prestanombres of the most powerful drug trafficker of the moment: Amado Carrillo.
The stadium lights up again. Presentations are made. Chávez took so much to the chest of the taxi drivers of Tijuana that he refuses to greet his opponent. From the initial bell of the brawl the Caesar corrala the rival. It stifles it to the right and the left, which seem to come from different directions and angles. He sends it to the canvas. Haugen gets up. Joe Cortez gives him the count of protection and the lawsuit continues. The Mexican finds a way to finish the shot in less than three minutes, but opts for a cruel, painful and prolonged punishment. When he sees that he has the gabacho on the edge of the nocáut, the Sinaloan stops his attack, he hopes that his enemy recovers, only to continue with the onslaught seconds later.
In the fifth episode Joe Cortez is kind to the big mouth and stop torture.
As soon as the referee raises Chavez’s hand, he shouts at the television camera:
“I’m going to Culiacan tomorrow. Receive me with the drum. There I wait for all my countrymen at the airport, at one o’clock in the afternoon with the drum.
“You still listening to the drum?” I ask.
-Jalo the drum-what in Sinaloan slang means to hire one of these groups to play near you-very little because I do not take and when I listen to it I feel like taking, but I have to say just for today no. I try to avoid the memories of old that took me to fart … But I still like the drum, of course.
Chávez confesses, and his mouth waters.
In The Iliad it is narrated how Achilles summoned to the funeral games, where the champion pugilístico turned out Epeo. After beating Euríalo, he himself carried him to his corner, an act that reminded JC of sharing his water bottle with Macho Camacho after his beating in the ring.
Tethys immersed Achilles on the River Styx to make him immortal. He held it from his heel as he did so, and thereby established his weak point.
Chávez should have been held by his nose, his Achilles’ heel, where he used cocaine for years. The ideal drug for the party. With Chavez it was proved that fine powder can beat steel. The more cocaine, the greater tolerance for alcohol, and Chávez loved alcohol. Once, when he quoted one of his compadres at the Palacio Azteca Hotel in Tijuana, the first thing he saw as he entered the champion’s room was an open bottle of Don Julio tequila and a single glass. Chavez opened the door with a white towel tied around his waist.
“What the hell, you bastard. I did not open because I was bathing!
He returned to the bathroom, the compadre sat down on the bed and heard the ring of Mr. Nocuat’s cell phone. Then he heard the shouts of the champion and then a crystal clear.
“This old prick, it’s all frigging,” Chavez said in front of the vanity mirror.
Then they went to eat seafood.
“I never saw anyone leave with empty hands,” recalls Armando Centeno, a journalist specializing in boxing. Once, he saw how Chavez removed a 24-carat Rolex to give it to a keyboardist because he played one of his favorite songs.
JC has always been hard as steel but partying as harlequin. The buttons of the Palacio Azteca Hotel, in Tijuana, remind you like a customer with unending energy.
One early morning of 2010, after a party, Chavez warned of his arrival:
“Let’s see, son-in-law, form here.
Chavez called the bellmen, the receptionists, the waiter. Any employee who walked by the front desk.
“Stand firm. Right.
And the employees settled, one next to another, firm, right, looking at Chavez. A formation of eight uniformed men awaited instructions from an exboxer, who never failed to repeat instructions.
-Derechitos Stand up well.
The man who made his people urinate blood, walked to the employee of his extreme left and simulated giving a hook to the liver, in slow motion. He went with the next, with the next, with the next.
In the end they all laughed, while Chavez returned, one by one, to give tips of 5, 10 dollars.
One afternoon, he was arrested.
Julio and his current partner were eating at a vegetarian restaurant in Tijuana when they started arguing. The lawsuit came off the table because of the champ’s screams. People thought he was going to hit Miriam, though he did not even try. A client called the police. A policeman called his superior. The superior received Chávez with hugs in his office.
“How are you?”
Víctor Manuel Zatarain Cedano, the Tijuana police director, had known Chávez years ago in Sinaloa.
“People who do well, they always do well,” says Romulo Quirarte, about the fate of the champion throughout his life.
It came in 2005 and the same medium that catapulted him to fame rescued him from a life without direction: open television, which bet again by Mexican boxing. It is evident that his work as an analyst in these transmissions has given a new and timely order to his life. The next step was to undergo a treatment that would cure his condition. Julio César Chávez entered a rehabilitation center because his children deceived him to enter.
Now, when asked about his addictions, he repeats in all his interviews that he does not, “just for today.”
Rómulo Quirarte, sums it up like “The son that we all wanted to have”. An exescolta synthesizes it with a “crazy good people”. Omar Chávez, his son, as “My idol”. The waiters at the Durazo Negro restaurant, “a good tooth customer”. The buttons of the Hotel Aztec Palace, “a fun guest.” Mike Tyson, “the best boxer of my generation.”
For my part, I always believed that meeting Chávez would be like talking to the lazy uncle of the family. Then I met Chavez and I realized that was exactly like talking with the vague uncle of the family. For his lack of speech, his chingadamadres, his son preached and his praises to the callus of ax. But this folklore does not function as a well-calculated imposture. Is the. Which is even more fascinating. Here is a man who carried out deeds worthy of being told by Homer, behaving like a true neighborhood idol.