The youngest and the least initiated were terrified by Michel Hamelin. The one we friendly called “the commissioner” reigned over the safety of boxing and martial sports in Quebec for more than 10 years.
It’s finish. Michel Hamelin warned the bosses of the Régie des alcools, des courses et des jeux that he was at a crossroads. His annual contract ends in January and Hamelin has decided that was enough. Let him move on. He tendered his resignation.
And group man if there is one, Hamelin warned his employees and his comrades working for the safety of combat sports very early yesterday morning by thanking them warmly. The news should be confirmed today or tomorrow in Rimouski.
“FACE DE BEU”
Michel Hamelin learned to work with the police for 30 years, to be intimidating. Journalists often laughed at his photos in the newspapers or at camera shots on television where he displayed “his black face.” He knew how to be obeyed and had a short fuse. In the exercise of his functions, he did not have an easy smile. He laughed about it himself after the evening which, the vast majority of the time, had gone perfectly.
Hamelin was very demanding. And with him, the application of the Régie’s rules has reached a new peak. As promoter Camille Estephan pointed out earlier this month, Hamelin will have brought something very important to professional boxing in Quebec.
“A gala presented in Thetford Mines or at the Bell Center had to be organized in the same way. With him and his team, the boxers were safe. There was no small safety gala, the boxers were always first, ”said the promoter.
YEARS OF GLORY
Hamelin lived through the glory years of professional boxing. He was there for the world titles of Jean Pascal, Lucian Bute, Adonis Stevenson, David Lemieux. The situation of a Gallic village in Quebec in international boxing allowed the boss of the Régie to meet and get to know famous promoters such as Oscar De La Hoya, Bernard Hopkins, Bob Arum, Frank Warren, Yan Pellerin, Kathy Duva or Eddie Hearn. He had the stature to impose his standards. Which was not always easy.
What would you have done with Don King, who had just put two fingers in a power outlet, judging by his hairstyle?
Mathieu Boulay, Nancy Audet, Luc Legendre and a few others saw him speak loudly and put his fist on the table to resolve problems with gloves or ring size.
And I will never forget Sadriddin Akhmedov’s first fight in Quebec. Sadriddin has the forehead all around his head and the seed of a champion. He had frozen a Mexican in 10 seconds. Without respecting the tradition of touching the gloves at the start of the fight.
Michel Hamelin was furious. He had joined Anna Reva and Akhmedov in the aisle leading to the locker rooms. He was fuming. He was talking to Mme Reva, who tried to translate the words of the “commissioner” into Kazakh while Sadriddin kept justifying his gesture.
“Listen to me Anna, I don’t know how you’re going to tell her in Russian or in Kazakh … but tell her to close her host with her mouth!” “
Akhmedov had closed it.
TWO PAINFUL YEARS
The last two years have been difficult for Hamelin. He hated being stuck with requests from new promoter candidates like Yan Pellerin, when the Régie and the police had certain reservations. In addition, he found himself trying to unravel the agreements between Pellerin, his partners and Yvon Michel. We know that the Régie finally suspended Yvon Michel’s promotion license for two weeks.
These conflicts seemed to have made Michel Hamelin lose much of the pleasure of working. Journalists and his relatives were aware of this.
It should not be forgotten that the position he held is one that requires passion. You have to know the Quebec and international boxing world, know the individuals, know the alliances, approve the right decisions and sanction the right fights. Above all, you have to walk straight and have a good spine.
His successor will have to be chosen with care. And above all, as in any chronic bureaucracy, we will be tempted to choose a committee or simple officials. A decision to be avoided at all costs. This would push back boxing by 40 years and plunge it back into the hands of mafiosi and schemers.
Finally, Michel Hamelin made his decision. Submit your resignation and, in the spring, as soon as COVID permits, climb aboard an RV and treat yourself to miles and miles of freedom and holy peace.
All he needs is a Harley …
IN THE CALEPIN | Should seek advice from Jean Langevin, one of the inspectors of the Régie. He was involved up to his neck in Formula 1. He outlasted Jean Todt, Craig Pollock, Bernie Ecclestone. In other words, he already has his bulletproof jacket …