This Saturday night, November 21 at the Mandalay Bay Resort & Casino in Las Vegas, Nevada, Puerto Rico’s Miguel Cotto (40-4, 33 KO’s) takes on Mexico’s Saul ‘Canelo’ Alvarez (45-1-1, 32KO’s) for what is now the vacant WBC World middleweight title after a shocking announcement made earlier today. Given a Monday deadline to either pay the fee or be stripped of the title, Miguel Cotto decided to vacate the title.
After a brief conversation (via telephone) with WBC President Mauricio Slaiman, the decision was cemented. The WBC announced that effective immediately, they are ‘withdrawing recognition of Miguel Cotto as the WBC World middleweight champion’ just 4 days ahead of the ‘Canelo’ Alvarez fight for (allegedly) refusing to pay a required $300,000 WBC sanctioning fee. Sal Alvarez and Golden Boy Promotions (Oscar de la hoya) had agreed to pay the fees while Cotto and RocNation (Jay-Z) balked.
“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 The WBC hereby announces that effective immediately it has withdrawn recognition of Miguel Cotto as WBC world middleweight champion.”
In addition the WBC announced that should Alvarez win Saturday night, not only will he be the lineal middleweight champion but claim the vacant WBC belt. Should Miguel Cotto win, he will remain lineal champion but WBC interim titleholder Gennady Golovkin will be elevated to WBC World middleweight champion status. Inside sources say Genady Golovkin was paid $800,000 in ‘step aside’ money to allow the Cotto/Alvarez fight to go on and Cotto felt that after being forced to contribute to those fees, another $300,000 to the WBC to sanction the event was more than he was willing to contribute. Another source said the WBC was unwilling to negotiate a lower sanctioning fee, something they had done in previous fights where Floyd Mayweather, Jr., Manny Pacquiao and Oscar De La Hoya (Golden Boy Promotions) were involved.
The WBC continues its money grubbing ways, the late Jose Sulaiman at the helm during many turbulent issues in the past, causing many to distrust the organization and its leadership. That dictatorship reminiscent of ‘The Godfather’ types, his son and new WBC President Maurico Sulaiman had promised ‘a change’ but apparently he has fallen into the same pattern of wanting financial superiority. The old adage, ‘the more things change the more they remain the same’, has found a perfect new home.
Oscar de la hoya was well aware of this ‘opportunity’ unfolding in favor of his client as the fight negotiations have been underway for the better part of two years and should either be admired or condemned, whichever you prefer, for setting up Saul ‘Canelo’ Alvarez (should he defeat Miguel Cotto) with the bargaining position of forcing Golovkin to make their fight at 155 lbs. rather than the usual 160 lbs. middleweight limit. ‘Canelo’ is on record saying any fight between him and GGG (Golovkin) would only be conducted at 155 lbs.
This fight on Saturday night was already expected to be a FOY (Fight Of the Year) candidate but with today’s announcement the WBC, Saul Alvarez and Miguel Cotto have even more riding on this fight outcome. Miguel Cotto now surely knows he cannot get a ‘decision win’ on Saturday night he must stop the younger and stronger hero of Mexico (and the WBC) to come away with this one. If Miguel Cotto needed any more motivation, the WBC just gave it to him.