It’s hard to not want to become a boxer when your father is the President of the World Boxing Council. Surrounded by the top names in the sport during his early years, Mauricio Sulaiman seemingly had little choice but to get bitten by the bug.
Until he’s was an infant, rubbing shoulders with the likes of Muhammad Ali and George Foreman was the icing on the cake of his young life.
But something changed in 1975 when Mauricio was taken by his late father Jose Sulaiman to watch his hero Jose Napoles in action.
Napoles, one of the greatest fighters of all time and a pound for pound number one in his day, was idolized by Sulaiman during his early years. And the one thing Mauricio did have, through his famous dad, was access.
As he explained on The Black Eye Barber Shop Show recently, Mauricio harbored solid dreams of following in the footsteps of Napoles until one fateful night in Mexico.
That’s where Sulaiman picks up the story.
“The first fight I remember with names – because I often went to fights and I didn’t know who was fighting, the one was ‘Mantequilla’ Napoles. He was fighting Muniz,” Mauricio explained to Black Eye Barber Shop hosts Anthony Crolla, Richard Poxon, and Johnny Nelson.
“Napoles was my hero. I was five years old. Now, the fight was very bloody. After the fight, my father takes me to the dressing room.
“He says, ‘would you like to see your hero?’
“I said, ‘of course’. Because I wanted to be a fighter. I wanted to be ‘Mantequilla’ Napoles.
“So I go in. There’s ‘Mantequilla’ Napoles lying on the bed with both eyes closed, both eyebrows practically open.
“And I just looked at him, then I turned to my father and said, ‘No, I’d rather be a fireman, dad. No more boxing for me,” he joked.
Continuing by remembering his father further, following his death in 2014, and his eventual succession as WBC President, Sulaiman added: “I was so fortunate.
“My father was so family orientated. He always took me to the press conferences. To the events and fights.
“I saw so many (Julio Cesar) Chavez fights. I also went to Las Vegas when I was 16 years old and saw Mike Tyson when he won the title.”