Lucha Libre: Despedida de El Angel

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Last night was a huge milestone in the life of a dear friend of ours, and also a major event in the sports history of Mazatlán. El Angel, the first world champion in Lucha Libre from Mazatlán, retired from the ring after a 30 year career. Some of you may know Tony Acuña, who owns a stand in the Pino Suarez Market, and previously owned several shops in the Golden Zone as well. We felt very privileged—and had oh-so-much-fun—helping him celebrate!

We invited a bunch of friends to this historic event—about 50 bought tickets to join us. I had been to Lucha Libre once before, in the bull ring, and don’t remember enjoying it very much. But last night ROCKED! I’d made signs supporting Angel, bought a bunch of noise makers, we all wore black shirts, and many of us bought masks as well. OH MY GOSH! Was it fun!

Yes, lucha libre is like a dance—one fighter follows the other’s lead, and there are some basic moves fighters must master plus variations and frills added on. It is absolutely full of joy, whether the luchadores are back-flipping off the ropes or hitting each other over the head with chairs. These men are up there to entertain. The luchadores are skilled athletes, many of them gymnasts. They love the kids, they take time to play with and take pics with the audience. They were even game to pose with us middle-aged sexy women 😉

Last night El Angel was joined by the very famous Blue Panther and the Mascarita Sagrada, who flew into town for this event. The Kempo Dragon, a young local lad with abs of steel and contact lenses that made his eyes look very spooky, was another hit with our group. We saw dozens of luchadores fight last night. It was a wonderful, action-packed, 3 1/2 hour event.

Most of the lucha teams last night—there were six or seven fights total—were composed of four members each. There is a técnicos team—the good guys, and the rudos team—the nasty guys. Booing the nasty guys is sooooo much fun! They came over and grabbed some of the signs I’d made, right out of my friends’ hands, and ripped them to shreds. My girlfriends scolded them and enjoyed themselves to pieces yelling at and then posing with them.

Our son had several young adult friends with him, and I haven’t seen them so happy since Carnavál.

If you are like me, and you haven’t really been to Lucha Libre, because you weren’t expecting to like it much, I’d recommend you reconsider. Going in a large group, revving everyone up for the event, and having some noisemakers, t-shirts, and signs to make sure the event is fully enjoyed, will really help.

Beer is sold in the Cancha German Evers, and usually you can get ceviche or salchichas or some other snacks as well. Masks are sold, as well as some other toys for the kids, and a guy walks around selling peanuts and chips. Highly recommended.

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La Cancha German Evers/German Evers Gymnasium is way up at the beginning of Zaragoza. It is across the street from the girl’s orphanage. Remember that Zaragoza is a one-way street. Both boxing and lucha libre are held here. Taxis and pulmonías wait out front to take people home after the events.

People ask me how they can know when there is a lucha libre or a boxing match. The sports section of the newspaper is the easiest bet. These events are also announced on radio and television sports programs (shot of me below on TV with El Angel), and on posters all over town. Keep your eyes and ears open!

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Tony, congratulations on an outstanding career! Thank you for doing so much to promote the sport in Mazatlán and throughout the Americas! We are proud to call you friend. And everyone who joined us, thank you for coming and for making this night so very special for Tony! PS, the mask-maker was VERY psyched to sell so much last night, and hopefully he’ll now be able to get his hip surgery done!

 

About Dianne Hofner Saphiere

There are loads of talented people in this gorgeous world of ours. We all have a unique contribution to make, and if we collaborate, I am confident we have all the pieces we need to solve any problem we face. I have been an intercultural organizational effectiveness consultant since 1979, working primarily with for-profit multinational corporations. I lived and worked in Japan in the late 70s through the 80s, and currently live in and work from México, where with a wonderful partner we've raised a bicultural, global-minded son. I have worked with organizations and people from over 100 nations in my career. What's your story?

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