The World Boxing Council (WBC) stripped lineal champion Miguel Cotto of his middleweight belt for failing to comply with the organization’s rules and regulations.
The 35-year-old Cotto (40-4, 33 KOs) will battle Canelo Alvarez on Saturday night at the Mandalay Bay Events Center in Las Vegas, Nevada. The WBC also announced that if the 25-year-old Alvarez (45-1-1, 32 KOs) trumps Cotto, he will be awarded the WBC crown. On the contrary, if Cotto emerges victorious, Gennady Golovkin will become the WBC’s titleholder by default.
In an extraordinarily dominant performance, Cotto won the title in June 2014 after stopping Sergio Martinez six seconds into the 10th round. Meeting at a maximum weight of 159 pounds, the 5-foot-7 Cotto sacrificed size, speed and power against the 5-foot-10 Martinez (51-3-2, 28 KOs). Nevertheless, Cotto floored Martinez three times in the first and once more in the ninth and was ahead 90-77 on all three scorecards when trainer Pablo Sarmiento mercifully halted the beating.
“The World Boxing Council worked tirelessly through a process that began over two years ago to secure the celebration of the highly anticipated fight between Miguel Cotto and Saul ‘Canelo’ Alvarez. The WBC is proud of that accomplishment that is giving boxing fans around the world a very important fight to see,” the WBC said in a statement.
“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 [Roc Nation Sports] did not agree to comply with the WBC rules and regulations, while Saul Alvarez has agreed to do so. Accordingly, the WBC must rule on the matter prior to the fight. The WBC hereby announces that effective immediately it has withdrawn recognition of Miguel Cotto as WBC world middleweight champion.”
Some insiders claim Cotto refused to pay the WBC a $300,000 sanctioning fee to defend the title versus Alvarez. Although that may be true, Cotto likely trashed his crown because he wants to avoid the 33-year-old Golovkin (34-0, 31 KOs) in advance.
Nicknamed “The Good Boy,” the 5-foot-10, 159-pound Golovkin scored an eighth-round TKO over Canadian slugger David Lemieux to unify middleweight straps on October 17 at Madison Square Garden in New York City. Golovkin, who has now knocked out 91 percent of his opponents and is 15-0 in title scraps, secured his 21st straight stoppage and retained his 160-pound belt for the 15th time versus Lemieux (34-3, 31 KOs). GGG, a 2004 Olympic silver medalist with an amateur record of 345-5, is a better prizefighter than both Cotto and Alvarez.
Now that the WBC “has withdrawn recognition of Miguel Cotto,” Gennady Golovkin will either become the world’s most decorated middleweight this weekend or after finishing Canelo Alvarez in the springtime.