When I was a child, in the nineties and early 2000s, walking down the street, it was common to see posters with celebrities. The bullfighter Cristina Sánchez, the musical group Tenesse or the actor who played the older brother in Farmacia de Guardia occupied those posters that populated galleries, pharmacies or bars. Along with them, another renowned person from the neighborhood appeared: the world boxing champion Javier Castillejo. One, in his innocence and ignorance, considered this a trivial subject, but then as I grew up I realized that that person who appeared there was a living history of sport in Spain.
At that time, and despite not being considered as such, it was a benchmark. Because, despite the fact that Spain has recently been accompanied by sporting success, represented in the so hackneyed and at the same time stale slogan “I am Spanish, what do you want me to beat you at?”, At that time the maximum that a Spaniard aspired was to to the quarterfinals. Or settle for a tennis Grand Slam by Sánchez Vicario or Conchita Martínez, in isolation. Or adapt the black legend to the sport as Carlos Sainz did every time the jinx was fed on him. However, there we had Castillejo winning and defending European and world titles for Spain, France and Germany. And fighting for glory against one of the superstars of the moment in Las Vegas, Oscar de la Hoya.
As I was saying, Spanish success has become common and notable in recent times. Among others, soccer and basketball teams have conquered Europe and the world, Mireia Belmonte collected gold medals. Nadal, Alonso and Gasol have become world stars winning everything in their corresponding disciplines, becoming world references. And in the nouns of every plainclothes phrase you want to show off. All of them are honored with awards and recognitions, all deserved, of course. Even that of Spain’s favorite son-in-law. But Castillejo, with the same and even more achievements, is hardly recognized as it should: one of the historical ones.
Neither “El Lince de Parla” is lucky within its subject. Condemned to a hypocritical ostracism, the noble art hardly receives the deserved consideration in Spain. Despite having notable athletes and champions, only the exploits of Poli Díaz are known, more for his strong personality and his scandals and for Pedro Carrasco for having been married to a famous singer. However, Castillejo is the victim of a unique formula: more sporting successes than his colleagues, less no fuss equals little recognition.
I don’t know if you will care. I don’t know him personally. But you sure have a clear conscience. Which is not an obstacle for not only boxing fans but any citizen to see common sense that he is already considered one of the greats. And above all those authorities who, unlike me, as a child, do not sin of innocence and ignorance and know who Javier Castillejo is. A historic debt that Spain must pay.