“The Ring Magazine is a magazine. I don’t know why media and champions and promoters give any credit to a Ring Magazine belt, which only threatens the credibility of the sport,” Mauricio Sulaiman says with a stern look.
WBC president Mauricio Sulaiman, the special belt connoisseur, made the remarks in a gathering with his fellow surrogates in Uzbekistan, where he was asked to comment about The Ring’s decision not to put its vacant 112-pound title belt on the line.
“I’m very upset because they just declared a few days ago that the rankings of the organizations are corrupt. And if you touch my WBC, I’m going to fight back. I don’t care about The Ring Magazine because they are a business; they make money, they are biased. And that is not boxing. Boxing is what you see here: the world of boxing united to make boxing better and safer. A paper magazine awarding a belt has no meaning.”
The Modern-Day WBC Is A Laughing Stock
There’s much to unpack here, so let’s start from the top.
If The Ring is illegitimate for making money, what does that make the WBC?
Like most dictators, Sulaiman doesn’t take criticism well, and like most dictators, they’ll make contradictory comments and disparage journalists.
For instance, WBC middleweight titleholder Jermall Charlo has not defended his belt in 879 days, yet Sulaiman has refused to strip him of the belt.
Injuries and mental health issues have kept the unbeaten fighter out of the ring, but he’s set to finally make his long-awaited return on Saturday, November 25, at Michelob Ultra Arena in Las Vegas, where he is set to face Jose Benavidez Jr. at a catchweight of 163 pounds.
The title Charlo hasn’t defended in more than two years isn’t even on the line.
What’s worse is that Carlos Adames has been the interim champion for more than a year. The thought of possibly ordering a vacant title fight or, at the very least, elevating Adames to full world champion hasn’t even crossed Sulaiman’s mind. Does the WBC have any meaning?
Charlo (32-0, 22 KOs) doesn’t seem to think so.
During a virtual press conference, BoxingScene’s Keith Idec pressed Charlo on whether it’s fair for him to remain the WBC champion after such a long period of inactivity since his 12-round, unanimous decision win over Mexican veteran Juan Macias Montiel in June 2021 at Toyota Center in Houston.
Charlo practically dared Sulaiman to take the belt.
“It’s no reason, man,” Charlo replied. “It’s no reason. Y’all want [the WBC belt], you can have it. You come get it tomorrow.”
Obviously, this doesn’t paint the WBC in a great light. They stood by their guy as he sat on the sidelines for years and Charlo kicked them in the groin. That translated to, ‘Yeah, I don’t really care about your goofy belt. Come take it if you want.’
But instead of doing the right thing and stripping Charlo and taking a hit on the chin, Sulaiman landed his own low blow. It’s not our fault; it’s the lying media.
“It’s very unfortunate to post such a misleading comment and not the many other statements he did,” Sulaiman stated on X in response. “Charlo is a proud WBC Champion and fully respects the organization. We just spoke and confirmed directly from him. It is very common to take a few words here and there and make a story.”
Apologies, Dictator Sulaiman. Did we miss something? Were we supposed to skip over that part? Did you want us to make something up entirely?
No Undisputed For You Says Mauricio Sulaiman
Earlier this year, Sulaiman announced that WBC refused to sanction a potential undisputed fight between unbeaten light heavyweight champions Artur Beterbiev and Dmitry Bivol.
“The WBC can not sanction a fight with Bivol in it,” Sulaiman told Izquierdazo. “That is because of our position with Russia [and the war with Ukraine]. WBC would not accept that fight.”
Beterbiev is also Russian.
He has dual citizenship in Canada but was born in Dagestan and represented Russia throughout his amateur career before moving to the Montreal area in 2013 to begin his professional career.
It is laughable to think Beterbiev is less Russian because he lives in Canada.
With the WBC’s logic, Bivol would get the fight if he leaned on his Korean heritage and became a citizen of South Korea.
Bivol argued that he only lived in Russia for four months last year. It wasn’t enough to convince Sulaiman, who said he needed to submit a petition to potentially earn an undisputed fight.
“Our position is not personal, and we are very sorry if it hurts anyone,” Sulaiman told Seconds Out. “In this case, (it hurts) Bivol because he is Russian, but it is nothing personal against him. We are a sanctioning body that fights for peace, for justice against abuse of power, against discrimination, against aggression. And it’s very unfortunate, he (Bivol) is a victim in this situation, but this is something that neither he nor we can control.”
The 32-year-old Bivol (21-0, 11 KOs) held secondary versions of the WBA light heavyweight title for nearly four years until he was elevated to “super champion” in October 2019.
He has since made five defenses, including victories over Canelo Alvarez and Gilberto “Zurdo” Ramirez in 2022, culminating in Fighter of the Year honors. How’s that for a petition?
Preventing Bivol from fighting for the undisputed title doesn’t hurt Vladimir Putin or financially impact his followers. It’s merely a lame political point for cheap applause and a sound bite for his cabal of sheep.
The Ring Threatens The Establishment, And It’s Good
The folks at The Ring Magazine believe that one belt per champion and one sanctioning fee per title fight is more than enough.
However, Sulaiman and people like him want their own battlefield of multiple champions per weight class and special belts to rake in sanctioning fees.
And when we question the WBC’s intentions, we get called “anti-fighter.”
Simultaneously, the same organization blocks a guy from fighting for the undisputed championship because he happens to be from a place that’s run by a tyrannical maniac.
The sport needs to be simplified.
We’re going in the wrong direction, and the WBC has played a role in the decline of this sport.
The average fan doesn’t know who the real champion is. Other sports don’t have this issue. You’re either the champion or you aren’t.
Boxing needs The Ring Magazine, and as far as the business aspect is concerned, I’d trust anyone over there to reform the WBC.
But as we all know, the conflicts within this sport are deep, and the WBC is just one layer to a rotten onion that is boxing.
Peel off one stinking layer, and there’s another even smellier one beneath.