Middleweight world champion Sergio Martinez finds himself in the unenviable position of being a divisional ruler having to chase trinketholders for big fights, but the WBC is promising Martinez that he'll soon get his shot at their dubious titlist, Julio Cesar Chavez Jr:
WBC President Jose Sulaiman says Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. will have the option of making a voluntary title defense before he is mandated to fight the 800-pound gorilla of the middleweight division, Sergio Martinez.
Sulaiman's WBC and HBO played a vital role in Chavez ever getting the belt in the first place, as HBO turned down a March fight between Martinez and mandatory challenger Sebastian Zbik. Seeing HBO exposure as more important than his trinket, Martinez vacated/was stripped of the belt to fight Sergiy Dzinziruk instead, a fight for which the WBC "helpfully" made their "diamond title" available, in effect naming Martinez "champion emeritus" and guaranteeing him a title shot at some point.
HBO found no problem with a fight between Zbik, who was named titlist after Martinez, and Chavez for June 4. To say this was a curious decision is putting it lightly, and frankly the whole thing has been bogus and makes HBO seem as bad as the "sanctioning" bodies.
The guy really getting the shaft here, you can argue, is Marco Antonio Rubio. Rubio defeated David Lemieux in a well-publicized WBC eliminator on April 8. Now that fight was apparently not a WBC eliminator, which begs the question of why it made Rubio the No. 1 contender in the official rankings of the WBC, but heeeey, who cares, right! Nothing to see here!
And realistically, there is nothing to see here. But as long as this crap has an impact on what fights get made and what fights don't, you sort of have to pay it some mind. Martinez is going ahead with an October 1 fight against Darren Barker, with the guarantee that the WBC will force Chavez to fight him after, or relinquish his title belt, should Chavez get past a voluntary defense. And if they both win, what are the odds Chavez's team advises him to just give up the green belt and not fight Martinez? And again, I think Julio would fight him -- or at least I have no reason to suspect the kid wouldn't take the fight. But I have every reason to suspect that his handlers won't let him near Martinez any time soon.
And can we really expect the WBC to live up to their word? Should we ask Marco Antonio Rubio about that?