On June 11, 2012, media from around the world echoed the news: The legend of Teófilo Stevenson, the greatest Olympic boxer of all time, had been born in Havana after the age of 60 his heart gave the last bell of a fight that the super heavyweight born in Las Tunas had won a long time ago.
Las Tunas, Cuba.- The Chicago Tribune then spoke of the "boxer who rejected a million dollars for love of Cuba", while the also American Huffington Post stressed his character as a legendary boxer and the Spanish La Información described him as "the Cuban god of boxing."
The "Cuban legend Teófilo Stevenson" dies, Marca said in its digital and printed editions, while the Diario de Mallorca used the term "mythical", teleSUR defined him as an "icon" and La Nación, from Argentina, stated that "The most admired Olympic boxer had left."
Not a few press reports collected those days the words of the great Mohamed Ali: "I was deeply saddened this morning by the news of the death of one of the great boxing champions, Teófilo Stevenson."
The man with whom the Cuban could star in "the match of the century", assured that the fact of "having won three gold medals in three different Olympic Games, guarantees that he would have been a formidable enemy for any other reigning heavyweight champion or any challenger at his best."
"I will always remember the encounter with the great Teófilo in his native Cuba," continued Ali, who surprisingly gave the best definition of the man his friends called Teo or Pirolo: "He was one of the greats of this world and at the same time a warm and huggable man.”
Warm as few human beings of his stature, and huggable, deeply endearing for the love and simplicity that he shared equally: among his family, the longed-for hometown of Delicias or his closest friends; but also with his millions of followers in Cuba and the world, with anyone who came to meet him and even among those rivals of his days in the ring, whom he more than once helped to rise after his terrible fists had knocked them down.
Now, eight years after his death exploded on the chin of an entire country, Teófilo Stevenson remains a vital presence, the memory of an essentially good man, who preferred the affection of his people over any material good, the eternal child who returns smilingly to his home town every year, completely oblivious to the enormous myth that he will always be.
Because Teófilo was not only able to reject a million dollars for staying with his countrymen, but he descended from the pedestal in which he never wanted to see himself and met the ordinary people who idolized him. He naturally possessed the power to radiate joy and the same danced with the Van Van orchestra on a stage that he had a very intimate party at his home, from which nobody could leave until the champion authorized it.
For that reason, this day we Cubans remember a man who, while so great, lived pending the small things, those closest to the heart.