WBC strips Miguel Cotto of middleweight belt; fight still on

Boxer Miguel Cotto greets the crowd at the start of a news conference, Tuesday, Feb. 28, 2012, in New York. Cotto and Floyd Mayweather are scheduled to fight May 5 in Las Vegas.

Miguel Cotto/Photo courtesy of Associ


The World Boxing Council on Tuesday stripped Miguel Cotto of his middleweight title for what the WBC said was his refusal to comply with its rules and regulations. Cotto was set to defend his belt against Saul “Canelo” Alvarez on Saturday at Mandalay Bay in Las Vegas (on HBO pay-per-view). The fight is still on at this time, but Cotto won’t be able to walk away from it as champion, even if he wins, based on the WBC’s action.

Here is part of a statement released by the WBC and its president, Mauricio Sulaiman:

“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 did not agree to comply with the WBC Rules & Regulations, while Saúl 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“The WBC hereby announces that effective immediately  has withdrawn recognition of Miguel Cotto as WBC World Middleweight Champion.  If  Saul “Canelo” Alvarez wins the fight against  Cotto, he will be recognized as  the WBC middleweight world champion .

“The WBC’s decision is premised on the fact that Miguel Cotto and his camp are not willing to abide by the governing WBC Rules & Regulations, and the specific conditions the WBC established to sanction the fight.  Simply put: they are not willing to respect the very same rules and conditions which applied to  Cotto becoming WBC champion. The WBC wishes Miguel Cotto the best of luck as we truly regret the course of action which led to them taking such decision.”

The WBC did not spell out exactly where Cotto failed to live up to his obligations. But several outlets are reporting that Cotto refused to play the $300,000 sanctioning fee for Saturday’s bout.


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Jose Sulaiman, longtime president of the WBC, has died at the age of 82

Several outlets are reporting that Jose Sulaiman, the longtime president of the World Boxing Council, has died at the age of 82.

According to one story on BoxingScene.com, Sulaiman had some kind of operation on his heart in October and appeared to be showing improvement. His son, Mauricio, said his father then took a turn for the worse.

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