By Sean Crose
“The WBC withdraws recognition of Miguel Cotto as WBC Middleweight World Champion.”
Those words, posted on Twitter today by the World Boxing Council, will undoubtedly reverberate throughout the fight world for some time, as Cotto was expected to defend that very title against Saul “Canelo” Alvarez in a superfight this Saturday in Vegas.
The pay per view extravaganza is already under fire for lacking the necessary “heat” to become a huge financial success as it is. Tuesday’s announcement will clearly not help matters. In a bit of good news, however, Alvarez himself will instantly become the WBCs world middleweight champ should he defeat Cotto this weekend.
No one knows exactly why the WBC decided to effectively end Cotto’s middleweight reign –at least not yet. “Miguel Cotto and his promotion did not agree to comply with WBC Rules and Regulations,” the organization stated plainly, “while Saul Alvarez has agreed to do so.”
There is at least some speculation that Cotto’s seeming disinterest in fighting mandatory contender, and fellow titlist, Gennady Golovkin may have had a lot to do with the WBCs decision. ESPNs Dan Rafael, however, offered another possible take on the issue.
“I’m told,” Rafael stated in a tweet, “he (Cotto) refused to pay agreed-to sanction fee.”
No one, of course, will know the exact reason why the WBC has made this move until the council itself, or at least head honcho Mauricio Sulaiman, gives an official explanation. Expect speculation to run wild in the upcoming hours and days.
Cotto, truth be told, was always an odd fit as WBC world middleweight champion. He’s not really a middleweight, after all, and has expressed little interest in fighting at the middleweight limit. This has led to criticism of what has generally been a stellar comeback for Cotto these past few years under the tutelage of trainer Freddie Roach.
It’s worth noting that Cotto is still the lineal middleweight champion, an abstract yet well respected title which is free from the realm of sanctioning bodies and which goes to “the man who beat the man who beat the man.” Cotto won this championship from Sergio Martinez and can continue to hold onto it now.
What Cotto himself makes of Tuesday’s developments, however, remains unknown at press time. He’s always been a rather stoic sort. What’s more, no one can take away the fact that he won the WBC middleweight strap fair and square against the well regarded – though hobbled – Martinez. Until he personally weighs in on the matter, Cotto’s thoughts will remain a mystery.
Yet whether Cotto is impacted by all this or not, there’s no denying Tuesday’s events are a public relations nightmare for the people behind Saturday’ card.