Boxing plays by its own set of rules. There is no commissioner making decisions for the betterment of the sport. No players union looking out for its athletes. Such fortunes are mostly enjoyed by organized team sports. If boxing did have its czar, the stupidity from last week’s bombshell by the WBC, might have been avoided.
Saul “Canelo” Alvarez, current Middleweight unified Champion, face of boxing and
bonafide bad ass, was in essence stripped of his W.B.C. title by the organization, elevated to “Franchise Champion”. Simultaneously declaring Jermall Charlo, who at the time was “Interim” champ, now be recognized “Full” Champion.
“The franchise champion is a special designation and status which the WBC may bestow to a current WBC world champion, who is also an elite boxer and who has achieved and maintains the highest of statures in the sport” the WBC said in a press release.
Bizarre news? Yes. Surprising news? Not one bit! Its boxing. The Wild Wild West of sports. Champions have been stripped seemingly overnight before. (i.e Alberto Machado’s WBA title last year) But creating a “special designation” for the sake of having one is meme worthy.
(image from Pound4Pound.com)
In all seriousness, adding another layer to an already convoluted labyrinth boggles the mind. In an attempt for clarity, don’t ask what a “Franchise” Champion is, the better question is why?
*cue the flashback music*
Song-Mexico Lindo y Querido／Vicente Fernandez
May 10th, 2016, the WBC formally orders Canelo/Golovkin with a 15-Day deadline to make a deal for their bout. Forcing Canelo into a mandatory defense. WBC President Mauricio Sulaiman said at the time “Both boxers and their teams were notified through a letter that the 30-day free negotiations period was due to begin on Monday May 9th. They will have 15 days to reach an agreement, in which case a purse bid will be held on May 24th.”
Canelo refused being ordered around. Come on! He’s Canelo! Ten Days later he raised a middle finger to the WBC and vacated their Championship Belt. “For the entirety of my career,
I have taken fights that no one wanted because I fear no man,” Canelo firmly said “Never has that been truer than today. I will fight GGG, and I will beat GGG, but I will not be forced into the ring by artificial deadlines… I informed the WBC that I will vacate its title”
A year from vacating, two months before Canelo vs GGG 1, a still pissed Saul Alvarez let it be known he will not fight for the WBC title. He said “I am very proud to be fighting for these important titles….as I defend my Lineal and RING Magazine titles, and take home the WBA and IBF championships.” No mention of the WBC Title. Ouch!
No title around boxings mega star meant the organization doesn’t collect their coveted sanctioning fees nor does its name get attached to Canelo. Bad for business. Time heals all wounds plus most friendships, and while we aren’t privy to private conversations had we can assume the WBC made amends with team Canelo by issuing him some sort of apology. Keeping him, and his sanctioning fee, on their side.
Fast Forward to present time. Going in to this past Saturdays bout, Jermall Charlos champion designation was “Interim”. (Two years as interim and he never enforced his mandatory shot vs Canelo. Reverse ducking! Different topic I’ll cover soon 😉 ) I'm not ready to discuss now neither is, Jermell Charlo...
Canelo was the “Full” Champion. Going by other boxing organizations stupid rules, both “Full” and “Interim” are usually forced to “unify” titles as to have one champion above all. The WBC very clearly remembers what happened last time they tried forcing Canelos hand. To avoid a similar situation Canelo was declared it’s “Franchise” Champion with all its special perks. While Jermall was now “Full” keeping everyone smiling. But the fans.
Filtering through all the bullshit, I can sum it up with this. The WBC wanted Canelo happy while collecting fees from his and Charlos belts. It should be an honor being declared first “Franchise” Champion. Maybe in a different era but not today. Money or politics are always at the root of anything boxing related. All this does is cheapen the well-respected Green Belt while opening Pandora’s box in other divisions. Is Deontay Wilder next to be declared “Franchise” Champ so as to avoid a long overdue mandatory shot against UK’s Dylan White? It’s boxing baby! Don’t be surprised when it happens!
· Article written by:
· Manuel “Hoper” Dominguez