Wow - this one is a bit of a shocker. The WBC, just days before the huge fight between Miguel Cotto and Canelo Alvarez, has just announced that they have stripped Miguel Cotto of their middleweight title. The sanctioning body states that Cotto refused to comply with their rules and regulations, resulting in their decision, but that they'll still allow Canelo Alvarez to win the title should he emerge victorious this weekend. The WBC's full statement can be found below:
The World Boxing Council worked tirelessly through a process that began over two years ago to secure the celebration of the highly anticipated fight between Miguel Cotto and Saul "Canelo" Alvarez. The WBC is proud of that accomplishment that is giving boxing fans around the world a very important fight to see.
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The WBC hereby announces that effective immediately has withdrawn recognition of Miguel Cotto as WBC World Middleweight Champion.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 is a non-profit governing organization founded 53 years ago. The WBC has implemented all of the current rules in the sport, paving the way to a much safer boxing. The WBC creates, implements and enforces, its Rules & Regulations to bring safety, order, unity, justice and equality to a sport that was marred with abuse and unfairness. Since the first day of existence of our organization, the WBC has taken countless actions for the protection of the boxer and it is a fact that most if not all boxers dream of conquering the green belt.
The WBC stands by its honorability and will not participate in the abuse of power and greediness, which has taken our boxing world to regrettable actions from different parties. The WBC wishes the promotion great success and we are satisfied that this great fight for boxing will be enjoyed by millions of fans around the world.
What does this all mean, really? It's hard to say. The WBC doesn't specify which of their rules and regulations Cotto refused to abide by, but stripping him of his title belt sort of removes some of the sheen from his fight with Canelo.
Sure, it'll still be a good scrap (even if there weren't any titles on the line) but I can't imagine that this decision will boost the promotion of the fight. It also just generally kind of sucks when you have a fight where only one combatant is eligible to win (or retain) the championship.
A source tells ESPN's Dan Rafael that Cotto refused to pay the WBC's asking price of $300,000 for the sanctioning fee after already having paid a portion of the $800,000 in step-aside money given to Gennady Golovkin. According to the report, the WBC was unwilling to negotiate their fee down.