By Samuel Rosenberg
Gilberto Mendoza was one of the greatest representatives of the World Boxing Association (WBA). The oldest sanctioning body in the world remembers its president Emeritus in this month of March, when three years will have passed since he left. However, Mr. Mendoza transcended beyond the body he directed from 1982 to 2015 and was a great reference for boxing and sports in general.
He always focused on sports and tried to provide a great show for boxing from the position in which he had to cooperate for world boxing. But Mendoza was a visionary and a man concerned about all aspects, beyond the sport itself.
Originally from Barquisimeto, Venezuela, he always saw very closely what happened to youth in his country and around the world. The problem of drugs worried Mendoza a lot during his life and for that reason he decided to find a way to face the situation through boxing.
The creation of the “KO a las Drogas” program was one of the standards of Mendoza, who began to take boxing cards to the most remote places in the world and to attract young talent, which he took off the streets to put in the world of sport. The project was successful and today it continues to be carried out with the same energy and great results that Mr. Mendoza predicted, which is a commitment for the WBA.
Mendoza is also responsible for reducing the number of rounds from 15 to 12, a decisive decision to reduce the risk suffered by fighters and a measure that was later adopted by all the organizations in the world.
Another important project of Mr. Mendoza was to eliminate the racial discrimination of boxing in South Africa, in which he put great effort and work into with among other great names working hand in hand with Nelson Mandela.
Mendoza changed boxing forever and implements the modern classification lists, which are used by all the world entities. The world remembers the legacy of President Emeritus and appreciates his infinite contribution to sports.