EL PASO, Texas (KVIA) - Members of the El Paso Boxing Hall of Fame grace a wall of the De Soto Hotel downtown. A reminder to the community of the cultural impact the sport played in the Segundo Barrio for so many years.
On Tuesday, El Paso City Council approved an updated plan to renovate the De Soto Hotel which sustained severe fire damage in February 2022.
The original plan was had a cost $1.2 million, the updated agreement doubled to $2.4 million due to the damage sustained in the fire and increases in the costs of construction materials.
Included on the plan is a new mural to cover the current one showing a hand release several doves.
Ray Perez a Golden Gloves boxer who won a championship in 1950 and was entered into the El Paso Boxing Hall of Fame in 2003, figures prominently in the current mural.
"So and it's gonna be sad to see it go just because it's, it's been here for 20 years and we always bragged about it," said Perez' grandson Caesar Cubillos.
He says the mural shows how people can turn their lives around after heading down the wrong path. It commemorates those boxers who reached career highs and those who turned their life around and serve as inspiration for their families, friends, and community.
"My grandfather was kind of notorious since back in the day, always getting into trouble going to juvi," added Cubillos.
Perez dropped out of school at 15 and began getting into fights around the neighborhood and in trouble with the police.
An officer gave him the option to continue going down the path he was and end up in the system or he could train as a boxer.
Perez chose to train as a boxer. He boxed for 11 years, including several years in Golden Globe competitions. The annual competition for amateur boxing in the United States. Where boxers receive a belt, ring, and the title of nation's champion.
This mural is one of the memories Cubillos has of his grandfather that he shares with the next generation.
"So I can show her the mural...this is your great grandfather. To her this was an older man in a wheelchair...the prime of his life was a professional fighter."
Cubillos says the mural represents what a man who dropped out of school when he was 12 and got into trouble with the law was able to turn his life around. Becoming a good father and businessman. An a great inspiration to his family and the community.
"I would want them to see it and understand the history of it all and not just a name on a newspaper clipping."
Cubillos says he would like to see the mural replicated on another building to keep the tradition and memories alive.