COMMENTARY | Tuesday, WBC President for Life, Jose Sulaiman, decided to get on the proverbial soapbox, as he his wont to do, and give boxing yet another sermon on what should and should not be considered proper in the world of big time prizefighting.
This time, Sulaiman would tread on some very familiar ground, completely oblivious as to how close to home his own accusations would fall.
In a press release issued from his Mexico City home office, the aged boxing bureaucrat voiced his indignation against "supposed organizations" sanctioning "fake" world title fights and "sullying the image of world organizations like the WBC, WBA, WBO, and IBF." According to Sulaiman, these "belt-sellers" are only interested in money and couldn't care less about the safety of the fighters or the integrity of the sport.
Cue the laugh track.
Appropriately, Sulaiman mentioned his three organizational rivals in his spirited press release. After all, it's only fitting that the WBC share the stage with the WBO, which once listed and then elevated a dead fighter in its rankings; the IBF, which was the subject of a federal racketeering bust: and the WBA, which hands out belts like sausage samples at Sam's Club and, at one point, had four reigning world featherweight champs.
The WBC has been every bit as horrible as its peers and, thanks to Sulaiman and his sermons, has also become unbearably sanctimonious about the way it does business.
Sulaiman's WBC has manufactured Diamond belts, Silver belts, and Champion Emeritus belts to go along with its world titles and countless regional/national straps. The organization has also become infamous for pulling the rug out from under certain fighters while appearing to run interference for others.
Case in point is the situation surrounding WBC junior middleweight champ, Saul "Canelo" Alvarez.
The WBC has ordered five world title eliminators featuring seven highly-ranked junior middleweights during Alvarez's reign. None of the fighters, winners or losers, are any closer to the title shot. But while guys like James Kirkland, Erislandy Lara, Alfredo Angulo, Carlos Molina, and Vanes Martirosyan have been forced to jump through hoops to earn their shots, soft touches like Alfonso Gomez and Shane Mosley were "somehow" able to cut straight to the front of the line for a crack at the title.
Then, there's the case of lightweight, Sergio Thompson, who was plucked out of oblivion last year to serve as "opponent" in a world title eliminator against Golden Boy-promoted former champ, Jorge Linares.
Thompson would flip the script that night and stop Linares on cuts in the second round. The exciting upset brought fans to their feet and brought tears to Thompson's eyes as he would now move on to a world title shot against champ, Antonio DeMarco.
But not so fast.
Sulaiman and the WBC would put the kibosh on this 135 lb. Rocky story by informing the public that, while this was an eliminator, it wasn't a "final" eliminator.
"Linares was the one who lost his chance to fight DeMarco," Sulaiman told the press. "Thompson was number 16 on the charts and he won overwhelmingly, but he can not climb the pole directly to one. The ratings committee will find a good position for Sergio and later he may be appointed as the challenger."
So, in other words, Linares-Thompson was only an eliminator if Linares would've won. When the underdog came out on top, all bets were off. If one didn't know better, this would almost sound like a set-up.
Stories of curious and questionable calls from the WBC (and the other sanctioning bodies) could go on and on, but most fans already know these tales.
Hardcore fight fans are familiar with the stench that comes from boxing's sanctioning bodies.
Sulaiman expressing self-righteous indignation over any questionable practice or dubious dealing is ridiculous. It's a joke at boxing's expense that, unfortunately, is just not that funny anymore.
Paul Magno was a licensed official in the state of Michoacan, Mexico and a close follower of the sport for more than thirty years. His work can also be found on Fox Sports and as Editor-in-Chief of The Boxing Tribune. In the past, Paul has done work for Inside Fights, The Queensberry Rules and Eastside Boxing. For breaking news, additional analysis, and assorted crazy commentary, follow him on Facebook, @TheBoxingTribune or on Twitter, @BoxingBTBC.
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