MEXICO CITY – With prayers and applause thousands of Mexicans gathered Tuesday at the Basilica of Guadalupe in a final tribute to Raul “Raton” Macias, one of the greatest idols of Mexican boxing, who died this week of cancer at the age of 74.
At least 5,000 people attended the Requiem Mass for the champion officiated by Monsignor Diego Monroy Ponce in the basilica.
“How can we forget the phrase of ‘Raton’ (Mouse) Macias: ‘I owe everything to my manager and to the little Virgin of Guadalupe.’ Today the Virgin welcomes her son,” Monroy said at the ceremony, attended by the departed boxer’s many fans and friends.
At the doors of the basilica, fans sounded cheers like “Raton, Raton, Ra Ra!” and “With boxing today, tomorrow and always!” and applauded the words of Monsignor Monroy loud and long.
Notable at the basilica were large photos from his glory days in the 1950s, when he won fame as the first boxer who openly commended himself to the Virgin of Guadalupe and had millions of Mexican followers.
Raton’s death was mourned everywhere in Mexico and at every level, from the office of President Felipe Calderon to the Catholic hierarchy.
The Mexican Olympic Committee, presided over by medalist Felipe Muñoz, recalled that Macias competed at the 1952 Helsinki Olympic Games and was director of the Amateur Boxing Federation when Mexico’s Hector Lopez won silver at the 1984 Olympic Games in Los Angeles.
Macias won gold at the 1950 Central American and Caribbean Games in Guatemala and bronze at the Pan American Games in Buenos Aires in 1951, both in the bantamweight division. EFE