Rocky Martinez has been ordered to defend his WBO superfeatherweight title against Mikey Garcia by the end of October, according to a report at BoxingScene.com, which also points out the inconsistencies and strange timing of the ruling from the sanctioning body.
In short, Martinez (27-1-2, 16 KO) has faced the WBO's top-ranked contender in his last two fights, against Juan Carlos Burgos and Diego Magdaleno. He successfully defended his title both times, with a controversial draw against Burgos and a win in Macao over Magdaleno. According to WBO rules, that should give him nine months to make another mandatory defense.
So why the ruling here? I can't say with 100% certainty, but, look, Top Rank wants to make Martinez-Garcia. As soon as Garcia (32-0, 27 KO) missed weight at 126 in June before demolishing Juan Manuel Lopez, Bob Arum was talking about moving him up to face Martinez.
Let's be clear here: it's not that this is a bad fight or some major crime worthy of protest or whatever. But the situation appears to be that Martinez was unhappy with the money he was being offered for the fight, so he started looking into other opportunities. Political clout being the way things get done a lot of the time in Boxing: A Business, it's no surprise that the WBO has decided that Martinez MUST face Garcia, or else be stripped of his belt, which is the biggest negotiating tool he has.
So Mikey Garcia, because he's a favored son for a power promoter and a sanctioning body, will be getting a forced title shot after missing weight in his last fight and having to give up his featherweight title, which also seems silly to me, but what can you do? I don't think there's any debating that the way this has played out is very clear, and frankly unfair at best. But that's just how I see it. If we get the fight -- and hopefully Martinez is paid fairly to do it -- then it's a good fight and I'll be excited to tune in to see it. The fight is fine. The situation is boxing.