Pride and Prejudice: Cotto vs. Canelo

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Pride and Prejudice: Cotto vs. Canelo
“I think we are going to be seeing more big name boxers making these decisions,” Mendoza told ESPN Deportes.

Pride and Prejudice: Cotto vs. Canelo

by
Pride and Prejudice: Cotto vs. Canelo
“I think we are going to be seeing more big name boxers making these decisions,” Mendoza told ESPN Deportes.

“I think we are going to be seeing more big name boxers making these decisions,” Mendoza told ESPN Deportes.
“I think we are going to be seeing more big name boxers making these decisions,” Gilberto Jesus Mendoza told ESPN Deportes.

On Saturday, November 21, at the Mandalay Events Center in Las Vegas, Nevada, in a fight televised live on HBO Pay-Per-View, WBC World middleweight champion Miguel Cotto (40-4, 33 KOs), from Caguas, Puerto Rico, was supposed to defend his title against former WBC World super welterweight champion Canelo Alvarez (45-1-1, 32 KOs), from Juanacatlán, Jalisco, Mexico.

But just days before the fight, Cotto was stripped of his title.

According to WBC President Mauricio Sulaiman, “After several weeks of communications, countless attempts and good faith time extensions trying to preserve the fight as a WBC World Championship, Miguel Cotto and his promotion did not agree to comply with WBC Rules & Regulations, while Saul Alvarez has agreed to do so. Accordingly, the WBC must rule on the matter prior to the fight [and] hereby announces that effective immediately [the WBC] has withdrawn recognition of Miguel Cotto as WBC World Middleweight Champion.”

The WBC’s action has put a damper on the fight. If Canelo wins he’ll be crowned WBC middleweight champion. If Cotto wins he will have succeeded in keeping Canelo from claiming the title he won from fair and square from Sergio Martinez in 2014.

No one is happy at what transpired. Mauricio Sulaiman is distressed at the reaction. He considers Cotto his friend. Canelo’s promoter, Oscar De La Hoya, is distressed as well.

“It’s a disgrace,” he told BoxingScene.com. “It’s a disgrace to the promotion. It’s a disgrace to the sport to do something like that. Every fighter dreams of fighting for the WBC middleweight championship and to do something like that is a disgrace.”

Whether it’s a “disgrace” or not is relative.

Cotto is a proud man and decided to set the record straight. After explaining that the WBC wanted a $300,000 sanctioning fee and another $800,000 step-aside money for Gennady Golovkin, who is the mandatory for whoever wins Saturday’s fight, Cotto said, “Ask Oscar to give $1.1 million to the WBC and then wait for an answer [from him]. It was $1.1 million. Is that fair? No, it’s not…they want four champions in every division just to earn the 3% of everybody. Then we have to pay for their mistakes. It’s not fair to me.

“I talked to Mauricio. He had our answer before camp started. He waited until the last moment to put pressure on us. We call him yesterday. [Instead of] the $800,000 we have to pay Golovkin just to step aside, I had agreed to pay them $125,000 more…that was a reasonable number for me. He said that was not reasonable for them and he said ‘No…you are not going to be our champion anymore.’

“I don’t need belts. I have enough belts in my house and with $1.1 million I can buy any belt I want and I can be champion of whatever I want in my house. I don’t need a title. This fight sells by itself and everybody knows what they can expect from Saul and what kind of fight they can expect from Miguel. I kill myself and train my ass off every day with Freddie in LA and I know I have everything to beat Canelo.”

Running a sanctioning body is not easy. There are rules to enforce, but the enforcement of those rules needs to be weighed against public perception, which is more often critical than not.

The Vice President of the WBA, Gilberto Jesus Mendoza, understands this as well as anyone. He empathizes with the situation in which Mauricio Sulaiman found himself. He does not, however, believe it was handled gracefully, especially as concerns the step-aside negotiations between Cotto and Golovkin.

“I think we are going to be seeing more big name boxers making these decisions,” Mendoza told ESPN Deportes. “My intention is not to criticize what the Council did or did not do, but the decision was a little off. I do not agree with the decision that was made. They should have found a solution, perhaps after the fight. Cotto is a serious person who has nothing to hide. But I also wonder what and who was involved in the step-aside agreement. I think that the WBC did not handle it well and I will let [Mauricio Sulaiman] know at our next meeting.

“To me all of this seems a bit unethical. I know Miguel respected world titles. As sanctioning bodies, we cannot get into private agreements. Doing so will distract the public.”

This article was penned by the author who is not related to the WBA and the statements, expressions or opinions referenced herein are that of the author alone and not the WBA.


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