Gilberto Mendoza: an indelible memory

by
Gilberto Mendoza: an indelible memory
Gilberto Mendoza: an indelible memory

Gilberto Mendoza: an indelible memory

by
Gilberto Mendoza: an indelible memory
Gilberto Mendoza: an indelible memory

Today marks the eighth year of the passing away of Gilberto Mendoza, 33rd president of the World Boxing Association, the pioneer boxing organization, born in 1921 as the National Boxing Association (NBA) governed by the American Walter Liginger and since 1962 known by the name that distinguishes it today.

The physical demise of the Venezuelan leader a few days before his 73rd birthday, in Caracas, closed a 33-year consecutive cycle of his unparalleled management of the organization. His son Gilberto Jesús Mendoza has presided the WBA since 2015 when he was elected by acclamation at the annual convention held in Panama City, after the resignation of his father for health reasons.

As it is to be expected, these lines are a tribute to the man who with such a singular success led the WBA’s destinies. We should mention that part of the article was published in 2020, on the occasion of the fourth anniversary of Gilberto Mendoza’s death.

Needless to say, Gilberto left an indelible mark among his hundreds of friends and very especially in that of his companions in the entity that he firmly led for 33 years (1982 – 2015), as we have mentioned.

Gilberto Francisco Mendoza (Barquisimeto, 3/30/1943-Caracas, 3/11/2016) was a great sports lover since childhood, soccer player in adolescence, was a passionate and a boxing practitioner in his youthful years.  He graduated at Universidad Andres Bello in Caracas as an industrial engineer, then took postgraduate studies in Toledo, USA. He is survived by his wife, Elena Alvarado, his children Gilberto Jesús and María Elena and his grandchildren.

Gilberto Mendoza’s designation as President Emeritus was conferred during the 2015 Annual Convention. The President Emeritus designation is a Latin voice that honors in perpetuity those who have fulfilled their duties at the head of an institution.

Below, we share the rest of the article initially published in 2020, with some slight changes, as we said before.

A LIFE DEDICATED TO EXCELLENCE

In this incomplete portrait of Gilberto Mendoza, it is worth mentioning that one of his first contributions to the WBA was the Ratings Guidelines, which is still in force, developed while he was on the Executive Committee.

After this, with the irrestricted support of the recently deceased WBA president, Rodrigo Sanchez from the Panama, Mendoza would become president of the organization in a close and disputed electoral contest held at the Convention of San Juan de Puerto Rico in October 1982, in which Mendoza, in boxing terms, ended with his arm raised against his opponent on the occasion, Robert Lee from the United States, thanks to a convincing majority.

Mendoza also made a great contribution to boxing with the “KO Drugs” worldwide campaign, which is now being held all over the world; he encouraged the organization of seminars for judges and referees in order to improve their assessment in championship fights. Additionally, he was the creator of regional organizations such as the North American Boxing Association (NABA),  Latin American Boxing Federation (FEDELATIN),  Caribbean Boxing Federation (FEDECARIBE),  Central American Boxing Federation (FEDECENTRO) as well as the Bolivarian Boxing Federation (FEDEBOL), the Pan-African Boxing Association (PAFBA) and the European Boxing Association, among others. He also introduced the designation of super champions to fighters with 5 successful defenses and the creation of interim titles, among many other programs.

There are two historical episodes of significance. The first occurred at the Annual Convention in Reno, Nevada, in October 1986. There, a case of difficult handling was dealt with, such as the analysis of the expulsion of South Africa for its segregationist policy of Apartheid, repudiated in international sports in December 1985 by the UN. It was a very hard and dramatic situation faced by Mendoza. The African nation was then one of the most active countries in the boxing world. Mendoza handled the complex situation with singular skill so that the country’s exit did not result in a serious crisis for the organization. In 1991, with Apartheid outlawed and Nelson Mandela in power, South Africa was readmitted to the concert of global sport, economy and politics.

A second conflictive issue occurred at the 1988 Convention on the Venezuelan, where a small group of leaders led by the Dominican Republic and Puerto Rico opposed to Mendoza -they objected to some statutory rules and the Ratings system for boxers- and attempted to displace the Venezuelan. Once again, Gilberto Mendoza showed what he was made of: his opponents were defeated and set up their own tent.

Eight years after the departure of our friend and President Emeritus, we can say due to his fruitful life trajectory, the words of the Andalusian bard Antonio Machado: ” Walker, your footprints are the path and nothing else/ Walker, there is no path/ the path is made by walking…/Walker, there is no path/ but trails in the sea…/”.

There is no doubt that Gilberto Francisco Mendoza was an unforgettable helmsman of the WBA, in an unpolluted and selfless life dedicated to the pursuit of excellence, always taking firm and straight steps.


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