Canelo Gets the Runaround

By Robert Ecksel on May 28, 2013
Canelo Gets the Runaround
However convoluted it might sound, is it possible that the rules themselves require rules?


With the proliferation of sanctioning bodies having created multiple champions at each weight where there used to be just one, most of us long for the good old days before boxing stopped making sense.

Twenty-two-year-old Canelo Alvarez, one of the prospective saviors of the fight game, was in Panama today to formally receive the WBA junior middleweight belt he won by defeating Austin Trout on April 20. It should have been a joyous occasion, free of acrimony and distraction. But the joy was soured somewhat by the WBC, whose 154-pound title Canelo also holds, and whose President, in another precedent setting move, is demanding he chose one belt or another.

“I think that there is nothing wrong with Canelo going to Panama to receive his WBA belt,” Jose Sulaiman said, according to boxingscene.com, “because he won it in the ring. The World Boxing Council, in its rules, forbids a champion to keep two belts at the same time. We approved the fight between Canelo and Trout, based on one condition—that the winner would make a decision on which belt he was dropping in fifteen days.”

Unifying titles is the only thing that makes sense given the fractured fistic landscape. All of us who care about boxing above and beyond financial gain see this as another misguided attempt to place a stranglehold on a sport eternally gasping for breath. Reverting to the WBC rules of which Sulaiman spoke in effect gives him cover. But is it possible that the rules themselves require rules? However convoluted, this is one instance when the answer is yes.

“We only accept unification fights when the winner drops one of the titles. If you leave us, no problem. Then the title becomes vacant and we will draw another winner. If you stay with us, we are proud of that. In the case of Canelo, I have a lot of love, affection and respect for him. I’ve seen him grow from the time he was fighting on the sandstones of nightclubs. And I’ve pushed him all of my life. I’ve been the first, and sometimes the only one who defended him against the many attacks he has had. I’ve always said that I consider him to be the strongest WBC champion at the present, with the exception of Mayweather and Klitschko. Aside from that, I’m very proud of Canelo Alvarez for what he’s become.”

I wish I had been around to watch Canelo fight on the “sandstones of nightclubs.” That I was not is something I’ll regret to the end of my days. But Canelo won both titles fair and square. Actually, he won the WBA title more fairly and squarely, as Trout was a credible defending champion, as opposed to the WBC crown, which Canelo won by defeating full-time welterweight Matthew Hatton.

“He has to give us his decision in the next four or five days,” Sulaiman said. “I think he is going to stay within the World Boxing Council and I will respect him for that, and I also respect the WBA. If Saul does not stay with the World Boxing Council, it will be one of the saddest days of my life.”

But something tells me life will go on.

Follow us on Twitter@boxing_com to continue the discussion

El Consejo Mundial de Boxeo dará un plazo a Saúl “Canelo” Álvarez: José Sulaimán



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  1. nicolas 08:59pm, 05/29/2013

    Also note, that the WBA, IBF and WBO do not seem to have a problem with a fighter having many belts, just look at Wladimir Klitschko with his belts of those organizations. Sadly, if we look at all the organizations, the WBC probably overall has the best champions.

  2. nicolas 08:52pm, 05/29/2013

    From what I have seen, only in Mexico is this guy taken seriously. When was the last time that the American media interviewed him?

  3. Pete The Sneak 04:57am, 05/29/2013

    Jose (I Sully the Ground I walk on) Sulaiman and his alphabet soup cohorts are to Boxing what weeds are to a garden. Something that looks to choke the life out of something beautiful. He says that should Canelo accept the WBA belt, it “would be the saddest day of his life.” I actually believe that. That is, till the very next sanctioning fee is negotiated, which should be all of a few hours. But I’ll be super surprised if Canelo did vacate the WBC. Despite the scourge that is Sulaiman, to the Mexican champions the belt represents Mexico and make no mistake, Canelo is a proud and classy Mexicano; and don’t think Uncle Jose will not play on that. Peace.

  4. Mike Casey 01:37am, 05/29/2013

    There’s nothing so democratic as a self-appointed lifetime president. You gents do a grand job here of summing this guy up.

  5. FrankinDallas 08:18pm, 05/28/2013

    Sulaiman looks like a fat toad….but toads have morals and he doesn’t.

  6. Clarence George 07:36pm, 05/28/2013

    To be Champion of the World used to be the ultimate sports accolade.  What we have today are “champions” of this, that, or the other sanctioning body, and it’s one of the primary reasons why the fandom of one of the most popular sports (at least in the U.S.) has been reduced to a relative handful of hoary dinosaurs…of which, proud to say, I’m one.

    There was a time when wide-eyed boys would run after Dempsey or Marciano, crying out, “Champ!  Champ!”  That’s just it…there was a time.

  7. Thresh 07:10pm, 05/28/2013

    Boxers should start ignoring Jose Sulaiman. Act like he doesn’t exist. Conspire against him until he is rendered virtually done. This vomit-inducing wannabe Don Corleone egomaniac is all that is wrong with the business of boxing.

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