Mauricio Sulaiman Introduces A New Title…….Again
By: Hans Themistode
Boxing fans around the world have grown sick and tired of the proliferation of belts. After seemingly every bout, a new world title is wrapped around the waist of the winner.
The breaking point for fans appeared to come when WBC President Mauricio Sulaiman introduced the ever confusing “Franchise” title to the mix. The baffling title allows champions to skip over mandatory challengers and cannot be won inside the ring. Instead, a fighter must either petition for the right to win the title, or, Sulaiman will bestow the newly founded belt at his discretion.
With fans screaming for all sanctioning bodies to remove the seemingly endless amount of titles, Sulaiman has decided to go the other way. In just a few more weeks, unified super middleweight champion and WBC “Franchise” champion Canelo Alvarez, will return to the ring as he takes on WBO titlist Billy Joe Saunders.
Despite four world titles on the line, Sulaiman believes there’s room for one more.
“Our great champion Saul Canelo Alvarez continues his plan to unify the super middleweight division by facing the WBO champion, British boxer Billy Joe Saunders, on May 8 at the Dallas Cowboys Stadium,” said Sulaiman. “During this fight, it’s going to be where the World Boxing Council will give the world another piece of art, the beautiful Mestizo belt, made by the State of Mexico.”
While another meaningless trinket will seemingly infuriate boxing fans, Sulaiman has a long track record of creating new belts to celebrate mega-events. In 2015, former unified welterweight champion Floyd Mayweather took on WBO belt holder Manny Pacquiao. To commemorate the event, Sulaiman introduced the WBC Emerald belt. Two years later, Sulaiman helped create a world title with 3,360 diamonds for Floyd Mayweather vs Conor McGregor.
In the mind of Sulaiman, fans shouldn’t be upset as he is simply continuing his long-standing tradition.
“As you may know, the WBC commemorates the two great Mexican dates (Cinco De Mayo in May and Mexican Independence Day in September), as the most important fights of the year are held on these dates and magnificent (title) pieces from various cultures have been created (for these fights).
“First it was the Huichol, then Chiapas, then the Mayan culture, and last year it was dedicated to the State of Mexico with the Mazahua and Otomi belts. As there were no fights in 2020 due to the pandemic, we agreed to dignify this entity in 2021, and very soon we will present the Mestizo (title).”
Mauricio Sulaiman: “Give The Franchise Designation A Chance”
By: Hans Themistode
While Mauricio Sulaiman might be sitting comfortably in his palatial estate, the WBC President can still hear the nonstop criticism. Most of the condemnation stems from the “Franchise” title Sulaiman recently added to the gluttony of belts already circulating in the sport of boxing.
Even though Sulaiman understands the confusion surrounding it, he simply asks that the public give it more time before airing out their disapproval.
“I just ask the public to give the Franchise designation an opportunity,” said Sulaiman during an interview on Barbershop Conversations. “It’s only one year so let’s give it a chance. It might be confusing but the WBC are very satisfied and proud.”
For the most part, the addition of the “Franchise” title is viewed as nothing more than a money grab from Sulaiman and the WBC. Typically, sanctioning bodies take three percent from the purses of both the champion and challenger. In short, more belts equal more money.
Despite those thoughts, Sulaiman continues to regurgitate that the inclusion of the “Franchise” title is for the fan’s benefit only.
“That is a new concept and designation. We have given it to a very few amount of fighters which allows them certain privileges. Canelo Alvarez and Teofimo Lopez. Those are the only two Franchise fighters that have the designation. What they can do is move up and down in weight to fight the important fights without having the commitment of a mandatory that would fragment the division.”
Although Sulaiman continues to defend his position, fans continue to poke holes in his story. Upon first introducing the “Franchise” title, Sulaiman claimed that it could not be won inside the ring. However, former multiple division champion Vasiliy Lomachenko lost his tag in his latest ring defeat to the aforementioned Teofimo Lopez.
While the “Franchise” title has become somewhat obtrusive and a magnet for castigation, Sulaiman points to the track record of his organization as a reason for those who continue to doubt him to have faith in what he’s doing.
“The WBC has historically been the organization that has changed the sport of boxing. If you go to the past we changed from 15 to 12 rounds. We changed the day of the weigh-ins to do it a day before so fighters can rehydrate. We changed from three ropes to four ropes and so many different things that are now natural so you don’t notice these changes in today’s boxing. But we keep looking into what can be done to bring fans to the sport, safety features, entertainment and we continue to improve in many aspects of the sport.”
Mauricio Sulaiman On Lomachenko vs Lopez: “For This Fight, The Winner Will Be Designated As The Franchise Champion”
By: Hans Themistode
It turns out that Devin Haney’s title run may have been a hoax.
This coming Saturday night, both Vasiliy Lomachenko and Teofimo Lopez will look to settle their differences once and for all. For the past several months, their contest has been promoted as an undisputed title fight. Something that Devin Haney is incredulous too.
The 21 year old California product, currently holds the WBC lightweight title while Lopez is in possession of the IBF belt. Lomachenko on the other hand, has a stranglehold on both the WBA and WBO titles. The 32 year old did at one point have Haney’s world title but it was taken away from him in light of the WBC Franchise title.
Several fans, media members and even boxers are still confused over the exact meaning of the Franchise title. Mauricio Sulaiman, President of the WBC, understands the confusion that the Franchise label gives off whenever it’s mentioned.
In order for either Lomachenko or Lopez to be considered the undisputed lightweight champion, a bout with Haney has to take place first. Or at least, that was the original thought.
Although Haney is technically listed as the full champion, his title reign could be considered a phony one.
“Lomachenko is the WBC lightweight champion,” confirmed Sulaiman during a recent conference call. “He won and petitioned for the Franchise designation. The Franchise is put above any champion in the lightweight category. So, Lomachenko is in fact champion with special attributes.”
Sulaiman went on to further clarify that although many find the Franchise tag a confusing one, without it, Lomachenko vs Lopez would never have taken place. At least, not so soon.
“Lomachenko doesn’t have to face the mandatories that normally come when you win a vacant title. He was named Franchise and he could go ahead and make this fight with Teofimo Lopez. The concept of the Franchise (champion) is to be presented to very fighters who have specific set of attributions, like Canelo (Saul Alvarez) and Lomachenko. They have been fighting in several weight classes. The Franchise designation with Lomachenko permitted him to have this fight with Teofimo Lopez.”
Although Haney would go on to become Interim champion late last year, he was quickly elevated to full champion once Lomachenko was officially Franchised. It appears that a road to undisputed does in fact still run through the Ukrainian Lomachenko and not Haney after all.
As mentioned on previous occasions by Sulaiman, the Franchise title is more of a designation rather than an actual title. It cannot be won regardless if said Franchise champion losses in the ring.
If the hard hitting Lopez manages to take home the win this upcoming weekend, the Brooklyn native would have been extremely unsatisfied with walking out of the ring with only three belts as opposed to four.
With that being said, team Lopez made it their duty that their man won’t be shorted a world title this Saturday night.
“For this specific fight, we received a request from Teofimo Lopez. For this fight, the winner will be designated as the Franchise champion. We have previously stipulated that this is not normally put on the line. But we are proud to have this event with all of the championships on the line.”
Mauricio Sulaiman Addresses Daniel Kinahan Situation, Joshua vs Fury, and Much More on Boxing Insider Radio
For this week’s episode on Boxing Insider Radio, the crew welcomes WBC President Mauricio Sulaiman as he calls in to talk with our panel on some of the topics that have grabbed boxing by the throat over the past few days.
With Anthony Joshua and Tyson Fury reportedly coming to an agreement for a two fight deal in 2021, how realistic is that contest? Also the man behind the deal in Daniel Kinahan finds himself in legal trouble due to his questionable past. Sulaiman gives his thoughts on the situation. How about Dillian Whyte? Where does WBC interim champion fit into the Heavyweight landscape? Sulaiman addresses it all and more on this weeks podcast.
For the first time in roughly four months, boxing fans had a smile on their face. They sat back and watched as COVID-19 took away their 2020 boxing schedule after a promising start. Thoughts of Deontay Wilder vs Tyson Fury 3, Leo Santa Cruz vs Gervonta Davis and Canelo Alvarez vs Gennadiy Golovkin 3 all fell by the wayside.
Now, fans were given no choice but to enjoy the grotesque mismatches of Shakur Stevenson vs Felix Caraballo. The frown that accompanied the faces of fans grew to anger. But with one announcement, it was turned upside down.
Fans of the sport broke their chairs, smashed their telephones and screamed uncontrollably as unified heavyweight champion Anthony Joshua (23-1, 21 KOs) and WBC belt holder Tyson Fury (30-0-1, 21 KOs) informed the public that they agreed on a two fight showdown in 2021.
But things quickly became strange when the man behind the scenes who helped broker the deal in Daniel Kinahan, is said to have a hand in more than just boxing.
Drugs, illegal firearms sales and a long list of other crimes now accompany the name of Kianhan. Which in turn, makes Fury vs Joshua a moot point. Fans of the sport became confused as to what his alleged illegal associations meant for the biggest fight in quite some time. Joining fans in their confusion is WBC President Mauricio Sulaiman. Much like the fans who read the headlines all across the Internet, a puzzled Sulaiman scratched his head.
“I have no idea,” admitted Sulaiman on Boxing Insider Radio. “Since we have had his pandemic, I have chosen to keep a very clean, mental health. And to do that, I avoid anything that creates anxiety. So I don’t really follow much of what goes on unless it’s something positive or inspires me. I choose not to listen to gossip or whatever is not official. I have followed very little. And I have no interest in getting involved in what is not for the betterment of the sport.”
Kinahan and his current legal troubles aren’t the only thing that is in the way of the mega showdown between Joshua and Fury though. While the rest of the world marks Joshua vs Fury and their collective calendars, Deontay Wilder paces back and forth in his palatial estate. Seething, fists clenched and smoke fuming from the top of his head. With a title reign that stretches five years and the most devastating right hand in boxing history. Wilder is incredulous to the conjecture of most counting him out of their upcoming third clash.
Sulaiman however, is not. The WBC President is quick to remind everyone that although he is unsure of when, their third contest will certainly happen.
“Right now we don’t know when boxing is going to resume for some specific fights such as the rematch between Deontay Wilder vs Tyson Fury. We don’t know if that fight will happen October, November, December, next year. We cannot control that. But for the WBC there is a legal contract that they signed for a third fight.”
Wilder and Fury of course, gave the fans one of the most dramatic heavyweight contests in history when they battled to a highly controversially draw in 2018. There was nothing contentious in their rematch however, this past February as Fury dropped Wilder twice before ultimately stopping him. One more contest now awaits both men. But while COVID-19 has made awaiting their third contest painfully difficult with no date set in stone, interim WBC titilst Dillian Whyte has been waiting even longer for his own shot at a world title.
It’s been five years since Whyte suffered his lone loss to Anthony Joshua. Since then, Lebron James added another NBA title to his resume, Jay-Z dropped the 4:44 album and Tom Brady grabbed two more Super Bowl titles to give him a grand total of six. During that span, Whyte hasn’t just sat back on his laurels either. He’s taken down three undefeated fighters, two former world champions and won every possible title eliminator thrown in his direction.
With everything completed on his end, Sulaiman believes that he cannot make the British born fighter wait any longer.
“For the WBC there is a mandatory title defense that the champion has to make. The mandatory challenger is the interim champion Dillian Whyte. He has the right to enforce his title shot after the Wilder vs Fury third fight. Fury vs Joshua is just speculation. They have both come out and said that they have a deal which is very good. But there are many things that must take place before it actually happens.”