The 89th Annual WBA convention was officially opened today in Managua, Nicaragua. The Poeta Rom at the convention center of the Crowne Plaza Hotel played host to the days events. After opening remarks by Executive Vice President Gilberto Jesus Mendoza, the benediction by ordained minister and WBA treasurer Michael Welsh, former and current champions in attendance were introduced: Eddie Gazo, Roberto Duran, Miguel Cotto, Vyacheslav Senchenko, Roman “Chocolatito” Gonzalez, Juan Palacios, Jose Alfaro and Eduardo Ray Marquez and Ricardo “Finito” Lopez.
Of course, the main reason Managua was chosen as host city for this year’s convention was to honor the first and greatest Nicaraguan champion of all- Alexis Arguello- the Explosive Thin Man, who died tragically last year. Arguello was remembered with a ceremonial ten count of the bell.
Several Nicaraguan dignitaries then spoke and paid homage to Arguello and the great champions of Nicaragua, including Managua mayor Daisy Torres, Nicaraguan Army General Molinares, Marlon Thomas- president of Nicaraguan Institute of Sports.
A video tribute to the reigning champions of the WBA was presented by Panamanian boxing media impresario Juan Carlos Tapia. The segment was part of Tapia’s weekly television show in Panama, “Lo Mejor del Boxeo,” or “The Best of Boxing.”
President Gilberto Mendoza then took the lectern and discussed the past and present Nicaraguan boxers, as well as the impact of their discipline or lack thereof, on future boxers. Mendoza then touched on the speakers and topics for this year’s convention, including “Sports Marketing” by Dr. Habib Chamoun-Nicolas and “Negotiation Techniques” by Gerardo Molina.
Dr. Chamoun commenced with his talk on Negotiation Techniques, after just returning from Paris, France. He compared negotiation with the art of bargaining while utilizing persuasion and communication skills as well as possession of the traits of credibility, reputation, being punctual, and how one handles defeat. Dr. Chamoun fielded questions near the end of his talk, ranging from boxing negotiations, to marriage, to the possibility of dealing with terrorists. After Dr. Chamoun’s talk, a lunch break ensued in La Vista (The View) room on the second floor of the conference center, with an afternoon session to begin at 2 p.m. local time.