For many years Miguel Angel Gonzalez He was seen by his neighbors in the Roma neighborhood, in Mexico City, as an idol. He was a neighborhood hero, especially when he was proclaimed lightweight world champion, not far from there, at the Frontón México in 1992.
And those same neighbors who admired him so much, today see him with a look of melancholy and sadness. The passage of time has been overwhelming. Miguel Angel Gonzalez he wanders through that corner of the Roma neighborhood, lost in the place he knows best. Severely impaired by alcoholism and drug addiction problems, Miguel He rejects the help that his neighbors, those of a lifetime, have wanted to give him. In his intoxicated world Miguel he is calm, at peace.
The neighbors do not know where he sleeps, nor do they know if he eats. They also do not know if he has money, or if he needs it, but they assure that, sometimes, the same Wizard he takes out of his pocket a ticket to give away.
Coahuila Street, in the Roma neighborhood, is, for Miguel Angel Gonzalez, His whole life. He lived there since he was a child, when he was an idol, and now also, in the midst of his addiction problems. The coming and going of Tokyo Santa throughout the day it is already a common scene. At some point he stops, takes over a small space on the street to put some belongings and gives them away, he says that he will only keep what is necessary to live.
The concern of his neighbors on Coahuila street
His neighbors, Antonio Meneses Garcia, To who Miguel has always called “The Rondana”, and Jesus SanchezThey have known the champion since he was a baby. They remember that from the hospital where he was born they took him to an apartment on Coahuila Street, between Jalapa and Tonalá.
“I think they want to help him, but they don’t let it,” he explains. Jesus Sanchez to LEFT PUNCH. “There are people who come in cars and talk with him. We do not know where he sleeps. Yesterday I spoke with a cousin of his, who contacted one of his brothers in the United States, in Chicago, and he told me that this brother was going to come to Mexico in these days ”.
After the situation of Miguel Angel Gonzalez and his current condition, many people have approached the former boxer.
“On Saturday someone took him away and when they returned him he arrived bathed and looking better, he said The Rondana. “They already bathed him right now, because he was very filthy. They came for him, took him away and brought him bathed and changed ”.
Don Antonio explain what Miguel Angel He is from a family of seven siblings; his parents live in Apizaco. He had two wives and has two daughters, he is even a grandfather.
In recent days it has transpired that Julio Cesar Chavez and the president of CMB, Mauricio Sulaimán, they want to help Miguel Angel. The Rondana wants the same thing, because he has a friend who could help in the rehabilitation, but they know that the will of the Wizard, and the permission of a family member. “If we force it and the family denounces it, we get into fights,” he warns The Rondana.
They have witnessed the life of the Tokyo Santa. They say that much of the time, Miguel Ángel is calm and friendly; he does not mess with anyone. But the street is rough, and when the champion has had to defend himself, he has done so.
“Here he is not aggressive, the thing is that when they bother him,” he added Antonio. “A guy who came by one day was bothering him. They were drinking both of them, he did it like this (he hit him), stopped him, sat him down, poured another vat and they began to drink both ”.
Both characters, who are over 50 and 60 years old, are saddened by the current situation of Miguel Angel. They do not believe that after the success achieved and having made so much money now it is like this. They wait for the necessary help to arrive, and to be able to recover the Wizard they knew a long time ago, the one who had illusions and who helped his own when he could.
“All day (Miguel Angel) walk like this. Lately, all these days, I’ve seen it like this. The truth is very sad, he is a good friend and it is sad to see him like this ”, he says. Jesus.
Antonio ensures that Miguel Angel he does not need money, he has always been a generous and caring person.
“When he started out, he said that he was going to buy a house for his parents and he did so,” he recalls. Antonio. “He put business to the brothers. He was good, but he fell into drugs. He doesn’t ask for money, then he gives it away. Money is not the problem, alcohol beat it ”.
While they wait for help for their friend to arrive soon, one of the neighbors in the area claims to have heard that in a couple of days people from Julio Cesar Chavez to take away Miguel Angel to the rehabilitation center of the great Mexican champion.
She has a food business, also on Coahuila Street. That’s where he usually eats Wizard.
“He says that many times he is not hungry, but when he is, I give him his tacos de carnitas,” says the neighbor.
Thus, while lifelong friends and neighbors worry about the health of Miguel Angel Gonzalez, it receives continuous visits in recent days. All hoping that at some point someone can convince him and take him away to rehabilitate, because all they want is to see him well.
The meeting with Miguel Ángel González
The old saying goes that when you talk about the King of Rome, he looks out the door. LEFT PUNCH went to the streets of the Roma neighborhood to look for Miguel Angel Gonzalez and we found it. While your neighbors Antonio and Jesus They tell us the situation, the champion appears. The king of Rome looks out.
He goes to where his friends are in the middle of Calle Coahuila, in his own Rome. Dull, old, dirty black shoes; a black pants, a jacket half blue, half red, and a black cap, the same color as the mask, wrongly placed.
The Miguel Angel Gonzalez who is in front of us today, although it may not seem like it, he was a man of the world. He competed in the 88 Seoul Olympics in Korea; He traveled to Japan, where he made five fights, already as a professional, calling himself Tokyo Santa. He also fought in France. He stepped on the biggest boxing stages. He put 50,000 people into the Plaza de Toros México to confront Julio Cesar Chavez in a controversial draw in 1998, where many saw him win. He fought in Las Vegas with Oscar de la hoya in the best moment of Golden Boy, giving him a decent fight and closing his left eye almost completely.
When Miguel Angel he approaches with his friends, shows them some drawings that a few minutes before someone gave him or sold him. His friends look at him with complicity, they follow the roll; but at the same time, they see it with tenderness. They claim that many people abuse the condition of the champion.
“That gives me courage,” he asserts The Rondana. “Before, even politicians used to hang out with him. When Colosio he was going to be president, he spoke to him, we asked him where you are going and he said ‘he spoke to me Colosio, and went with him ”.
There is Miguel Angel Gonzalez with us, and we tried to talk to him.
Looking a bit lost and slurring a few words, the former lightweight world champion of the World Boxing Council he is friendly at all times and even philosophical.
“Always at your service, always with pleasure,” says the champion, who ends his comment as if guessing what we wanted to ask him. “Life is one of ups and downs, when you are down remember that you have to go up, you don’t have to stay down. And when you are up, you never have to go down ”.
He doesn’t talk about boxing, or he doesn’t want to talk. Kind in dealing when approached, gives advice. He talks about how complicated the moment is due to Covid 19 –although he wears his mask on the wrong side-, he tells us a phrase in English, gives other advice and even gives us a gift ”.
We let you know, as you have already been told, that the boxing family is concerned about your health. They fondly recall the battles he lived through and the triumphs he gave to his people.
But he believes that this is not the time to accept help.
“These are pandemic days, they could not help,” he says. Miguel Angel and smiles a friendly but sharp smile. “Honestly, there is no job. There is a healthy distance, so, although they can, no, I prefer to forget a little ”.
Two girls near the scene motivate the former champion to launch a new comment. He sees them as successful and assures them that they will achieve what they want, but that they need discipline. And boy did he Tokyo Santa you know, because to achieve what you did in the sport of fists, it was more than necessary. Take the opportunity to review your English classes, and respectfully, tell them about yourself.
“Beautiful woman, you know what? she is going to be a successful woman ”, she tells them Miguel Angel. “You and your sister, remember, you will have whatever you want, look, you have to be disciplined. My English teacher used to say: ‘what you need is discipline’, you are intelligent, you are intelligent, you need discipline, if you don’t have, you won’t be anything, you have to have discipline ”.
Miguel Angel Gonzalez She carries a green bag, one of the ecological ones for the supermarket. In it, he keeps the belongings that he carries with him and that he gives away when he puts “his position” in the streets of Roma, his Roma.
After the last earthquake that struck the country’s capital, Gonzalez he assures that he only wants to keep what is necessary. He thinks that if his apartment is buried, all his things will also be under the rubble. That is why you want to get rid of them. From his green bag he takes out several hooks to hang clothes, and gives them to us. He says he has many.
“Thank you very much, at your service, thanks to you who stop and see my position,” he says. Miguel Angel. “I only need a little piece of land, not much; do not fall in love, without falling in love. I give things away, take these hooks, I have thousands of hooks. It changed my mind (after the earthquake) because I live on the sixth floor and I say: ‘if it had fallen, everything would have been buried’. Then I am going to give everything away and I am going to keep only what is necessary ”.
From the same green bag she takes out an apron that she gives to one of the girls.
“For you, to cook, if you accept me, to cook tomorrow, cool one,” offers the champion.
He takes out a couple of band-aids that he also gives away. Then a gray and blue tie, visibly dirty. How can she tie a knot to put it on, she says it’s for “when I go to parties at night.”
The Wizard He didn’t talk about boxing. It seems to be the last issue that matters to him, although the world of boxing, these days, does not stop worrying about him.
He says goodbye to the girls with a “take care, beautiful women,” and he even takes time to see the figures that adorn them in the tennis shoes of one of them. “Your shoes are cool, are they Mickey or Minie?”
And so, Miguel Angel Gonzalez he goes walking, calm, serene, philosophical, along the sidewalk of Coahuila Street in the Roma neighborhood. We wanted to see him, to know how he is, what he thinks. We did not want to take the camera out of our pocket, it was not necessary. We are left with the nineties image of his determined face, and his irreducible attitude, ready to fight in a ring in front of immortal beings.