Four-time world champion Miguel Cotto describes Canelo Alvarez's decision to vacate the WBC middleweight title as a "smart move." But Cotto says this not because it keeps Canelo out of the line of fire with respects to Gennady Golovkin, but rather because he doesn't agree with the practices of sanctioning bodies. In particular, Cotto takes aim at the WBC in an interview with El Vocero after he himself refused to pay their sanctioning fee ahead of last November's fight against Canelo.
For that fight Cotto had to pay Golovkin $800,000 in step aside money since Golovkin was his mandatory challenger, but when the WBC required an additional $300,000 in sanctioning fees, that was just too much of an ask for Cotto.
"Canelo is an intelligent person and his (recent) action says a lot about him. I did the same for our fight in November under the same pressures, and he did it now in a very intelligent way," Cotto said to El Vocero.
"Here is what we mentioned last November. The ambition, the greed of global organizations who want to create six champions in every division so they enjoy a sanctioning fee from all champions. That has made boxing lose credibility. This has caused boxing to greatly diminish the quality of title fights and has allowed sports like UFC [to gain a foothold] in these times," he continued.
Speaking from experience, it is pretty difficult to describe to people who don't closely follow the sport why there are multiple champions in each division. Every time I try to explain it, I'm met with a confused look. And then I'm instantly reminded about how silly the whole concept is. But then again, this is boxing...
That aside, Cotto continued by saying that all other major sports in the world have a single champion and that's how it should be. He says there's nothing attractive about having a multitude of champions in each division for the sole purpose of sanctioning bodies collecting fees from fighters. He even credits that behavior with destroying the sport of boxing. But in addition, Cotto also takes aim directly as WBC president Mauricio Sulaiman and their relationship over the years.
"Mauricio put a price on the relationship we had for years," Cotto said. "Mauricio thought as a businessman, not as a sensible person. With their five senses in place he would have understood our position to save $1.1 million because we had already paid $800 thousand to Golovkin. Because of the WBC's greed, they washed their hands as to the 'step aside' that we paid Golovkin...but then they wanted charge a [sanctioning fee] when we had already paid $800 thousand."
I'd say that Cotto's assertion here, while completely valid at face value, is a little misguided as it pertains to Canelo. Canelo didn't vacate his title over a sanctioning fee dispute nor any step aside money he would've been required to pay. Canelo and his team are thinking business first, just like Cotto says of Mauricio Sulaiman, and just like Cotto was when he decided to opt out of the paying his own sanctioning fees. It's all about business interests. It's just that more often than not there are, in fact, competing interests in this sport.