FOURTH REFLECTION ON THE PAN-AMERICAN GAMES
THE REVOLTING COMMERCIALIZATION OF ATHLETES
What, from the technological and economic points of view, has been the worst problem faced by poor countries? The brain drain.
What has been their worst problem in patriotic and educational terms? Talent theft.
In poor countries, local newspapers and honest individuals who are interested in sports begin to ask themselves why they must endure the theft of their nation's talented athletes, after the many sacrifices and investments it took to train them.
They gave a detailed account of how the shameful business of purchasing and selling boxers works. I quote their statements below, in the order they reached me:
Castro’s accusations reached Muller-Michaelis through DPA, which, in an article today published by Cuban newspapers, confirmed the desertions of two-time world and Olympic champion Guillermo Rigondeaux and world champion Erislandy Lara, members of Cuba’s delegation at the Pan-American Games held in Rio de Janeiro.
Hamburg, July 25 (DPA) – The two Cuban boxers who deserted during this year's Pan-American Games in Rio de Janeiro, Guillermo Rigondeaux and Erislandy Lara, turned to mediators to come into contact with the German promotional agency Arena Box Promotions, according to declarations for a Berlin newspaper made by Turkish German promoter Ahmet Oner, president of the company.
In the brief declarations he offered the newspaper, Oner claims it was the boxers who separated themselves from their country’s delegation and sought contact with his company, and not the other way around, as was insinuated in a number of Cuban media.
In view of this, Oner, who is not currently in Germany but vacationing somewhere in Southern Europe, said that he decided to send emissaries to South America to try and contact Rigondeaux and Lara, offering no further details.
Oner’s declarations were confirmed in
In this case, the athletes in question are Odlanier
Solís, Yuriokis Gamboa and Yan Barthelemy, who are currently not in
In this connection, Peter Danckert, chairman of the Bundestag Sports Commission (Lower Chamber) of the German Parliament refused to make declarations on the Cuban boxers who deserted.
I'll let the experts on the matter do that, he commented
in response to a request from the agency DPA in
Hamburg,–July 26 (DPA) – The two Cuban boxers who "deserted" at the 2007 Pan-American Games in Rio, Guillermo Rigondeaux and Erislandy Lara, are currently in Turkey, where they await a German visitor's permit, according to an article published by the newspaper Morgenpost today.
We have hired Rigondeaux and Lara, the Turkish president
Fidel, naturally, is angry, but he has no reason to be surprised. His boxers do not want to be amateurs their entire lives, they want to make money, Oner declared for the paper.
Fidel wants to hide his formidable boxers from the world. I show them to the world, the young, 34-year-old promoter underscored.
Twenty-six-year-old Rigondeaux is extraordinarily talented. Between 1999 and 2003, the two-time bantamweight Olympic champion won 142 consecutive fights.
Oner told Morgenpost that, Castro’s anger vis-à-vis the
“German mafia” notwithstanding, he wants to do business with the Cuban
president. I will suggest to him organizing a boxing evening in
Hamburg, July 26 (DPA) – Cuban boxers Guillermo
Rigondeaux, two-time bantamweight Olympic champion, and Erislandy Lara, world
welterweight champion, signed contracts with the German Arena Box Promotions
following their 'desertion' during the Pan-American Games of
All speculations have come to an end: Rigondeaux and Lara have signed five-year contracts with Arena, a communiqué published by the Hamburg-based company headed by Turkish-German promoter Ahmet Oner confirmed today.
According to the communiqué issued by Arena,
the two boxers will shortly travel to
"Guillermo Rigondeaux, a bantamweight who won gold at the 2000 and 2004 Olympics, and Erislandy Lara, an amateur welterweight world champion, signed with Arena TV.
Arena TV is the company that other three first-class Cuban boxers, who deserted in December, signed with.
“'Now the best up-and-coming professionals in the world fight for Arena',' company boss Ahmet Oner said.”
“The two fighters
failed to appear for bouts after leaving the Pan Ams athletes' village Sunday
“Since the 2004
Olympics, the Cuban boxing program has been hit hard by defections, with
several champions now fighting professionally in the
Arena wants to secure a place for itself in the world of televised sports and believes the Cubans are a great investment.
I organized the whole thing, the owner of the company Arena Box Promotions stated during declarations published today by the Folha de Sao Paolo newspaper, where he admitted having paid nearly half a million dollars to finance the operation.
Twenty-six-year-old two-time bantamweight Olympic and world
champion Rigondeaux was one of
The boxers' desertion was discovered this week when they failed to appear for weighting, to which they had to be submitted to fight in their respective categories, in which they were gold-medal candidates.
A German company here with contacts in
I took good care of Solís, Gamboa and Barthelemy, who are
friends of Rigondeaux and Lara’s. I believe that helped, the businessman added
upon commenting that the boxers’ friendship helped in making the other two
Olympic champions opt for deserting to begin professional careers in
The German promoter said that the operation undertaken last December to organize the desertion of three boxers and transport them to Germany cost him around 1.5 million dollars.
The five will be world professional boxing champions. Today,
I am the youngest boxing promoter in
Hamburg, July 26 (DPA) - The desertion had been planned
months in advance, for a tournament in
Following this, when Cuba decided not to take part in
Germany's Halle tournament, where the Chemie Pokal tournament is traditionally
held, Oner began to suspect Cuba had been tipped off that a boxer was
considering desertion. The city of
That is why we set our sights on
Now, we are going through the red tape with the boys, and,
once we have all of the documents, we’ll travel to
For the other Cubans, all this took three months. With these two young men, we'll take half the time, that is to say, a month and a half.
Just look at how
they boast about their foul deed against our country. Everyone knew perfectly
But they would never have been able, not with all of the world's money, to buy men like Stevenson, Savón, or the deceased Roberto Balado, whose beautiful tradition bequeathed much glory to Cuban boxing.
In spite of everything, we have already won 44 gold medals.
Fidel Castro Ruz