Jimenez remembered with love and affection
By Bill Tibbs
I posted a story earlier in the week after the passing of long-time Public Relations man Ricardo Jimenez. The piece touched on the outpouring of love and memories from colleagues and friends who knew the Los Angeles based Jimenez. Well, the memories continue to light up social media, clearly evident that Jimenez was loved and respected in the boxing industry.
However, a closer look at Jimenez shows that there was a lot more to Jimenez than just his work in boxing. He was very well educated and highly respected in many areas of the sports industry. And, if that isn’t great enough – he also loved The Beatles!
Ricardo, after graduating with a bachelor’s degree in Business Management from Cal State University, (Fullerton) in 1983, would begin what would become a very distinguished career in sports. He worked for La Opinion, covering basketball and football, specifically the Lakers and the Raiders. Originally a newspaper man, he expanded his resume when he did play-by-play for the (pre-season) Raiders football games and was also the ringside commentator for "KCAL FIGHT NIGHT" on Los Angeles (local) Channel 9.
While working as a sportswriter, he covered 10 consecutive Super Bowls, 5 NBA Finals, 1 World Series and numerous world championship fights. In short there wasn’t many major sports events that weren’t part of Jimenez’s extensive and impressive resume.
Jimenez’s outstanding work didn’t go unnoticed and he (deservedly) reaped many awards and accolades throughout his distinguished career. Some of the awards he won were, “Sportscaster of the Year” from the World Boxing Organization, 3 (local) Emmy’s for his work on Channel 9 (Los Angeles), he won honors for coverage of the 1998 FIFA World Cup in Japan/Korea (while he was the sports editor at La Opinion), was named the “Best PR man in Sports” by Telefutura and Univision Sports Anchor Ricardo Celis (in a Hispanic Wire Monitor Monthly Newsletter) and in 2007 he received the Good Guy Award in New York by the Boxing Writers Association of America for his decades-long work in boxing. And, Jimenez was inducted into the WBC International Hall of Fame in Los Angeles, California in 2015. Clearly, Jimenez had an outstanding career that was saw him recognized as one of the very best in his field.
In 2000, Jimenez would be recruited by Bob Arum, President of Top Rank Inc., to help promote their roster of Hispanic boxers. During this time, he also promoted two boxing series for Univision and DirecTV Latin America. During his decade-and-a-half at Top Rank, Jimenez took care of the very elite of fighters including Erik Morales, Jose Luis Castillo, Antonio Margarito, Miguel Cotto and Michael Carbajal to name but a few. With his promotion, and endless public relations work, these fighters became household names in the Latino markets in the United States, Puerto Rico and Mexico.
As a Top Rank publicist, Jimenez handled all promotional opportunities for the Hispanic boxing stars of Top Rank including arranging newspaper, radio and television interviews for the fighters, as well as translating and serving as a liaison for Top Rank and numerous television networks such as HBO, Showtime, ESPN, Univision and Telefutura. He coordinated Top Rank events from top to bottom. He wrote and distributed press releases in English and Spanish to over 100 media sources in the United States, Puerto Rico and Mexico. He also organized press conferences and liaisoned with production crews to ensure that the narrators, producers and technicians had the necessary information before heading to broadcast. During his 15 years at Top Rank, Jimenez played a vital role in all aspects of public relations for Top Rank’s Hispanic fighters.
However, what really distinguished Jimenez as a true champion was the way he made the people feel that he worked with. He managed to maintain his warm and kind demeanour to people while at the same time striving for excellence at all times for his fighters and the company he represented.
Contacted right after Jimenez’s passing, long-time fight manager, agent and promoter Sean Gibbons spoke of his relationship with Jimenez as the two had worked together for years. Like all people looking back on their time with Ricardo, it was nothing but warm and fond memories.
“This hit me very hard”, said a clearly sad and reflective Gibbons. “Ricardo was the best of us, he really was. You couldn’t meet a nicer guy who would do anything you asked of him. He would help you in any way that he could”, said Gibbons. “Siri (long time Gibbons fighter Orlando Salido) and I were just talking about Ricardo and what he had meant to us over the years. Orlando thought the world of him and was very sad when he heard about his passing. Ricardo had done so much work for me over the years with Salido and we both just loved the guy. Orlando said to me, ‘This is very sad news Sean, I thought the world of Ricardo, I really did. He did so much for me over the years. I’ll never forget that’. I mean Orlando just couldn’t say enough good things about him”, said Gibbons.
And, like Salido, Gibbons looks back on his former colleague and friend with sadness at his passing but the greatest of memories.
“The thing I really remember a lot is how much he loved his family. His daughters, he just adored them and loved to talk about them; he was so proud of them. I had so much respect for this guy Billy, I really did. He had a rough go with his health at the end, but was a man about it, he never complained, and he was just humble and grateful, and he was just a great person. He was a true boxing guy and there aren’t many of them left”. Pausing, Gibbons added, “He loved his family and he served his country. God bless him, he really was one of the good ones. I’m really going to miss him”, said Gibbons.
To donate to the Ricardo Jimenez Memorial Fund, set up by his daughters, please see the ink below.