Remember those fancy Cinco De Mayo belts the WBC created to celebrate Mexican heritage? Yeah, well for starters let’s acknowledge the fact that the WBC at least had the sense to scrap the “world champion” inscription across the front. That aside, the custom made belt will be awarded for the first time ever to the winner of the Canelo Alvarez vs. Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. fight this weekend.
Except Canelo doesn’t want any part of it...
Upon arrival at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas yesterday, Canelo told reporters that he will shun the WBC’s belt if he emerges victorious against Chavez Jr. RingTV quotes Canelo as saying:
“From the very beginning the WBC wanted to be involved in this fight and we said no because this fight is not for a world title,” Canelo said. “We knew something was going to come up. [Mauricio Sulaiman] came up with this belt and they used it against me so I can look like the bad guy.”
For those who don’t follow, Canelo, it seems, still begrudges the organization following their handling of his mandatory defense against Gennady Golovkin while he still held their middleweight title.
After Canelo won the WBC title from Miguel Cotto in November 2015. Golovkin, who was the WBC’s interim titleholder at middleweight, was due a mandatory shot at the full title. But ultimately Canelo and Golovkin negotiated a deal that would allow for Canelo to make a voluntary defense first, where Canelo would end up taking on Amir Khan who would move up from welterweight to challenge Canelo at a catchweight of 155lbs.
Canelo would predictably spark Khan within six rounds, living up to general expectations, which would in turn prompt the WBC to order a 15-day free negotiation period between Canelo and Golovkin — something that was specifically delineated at the time the voluntary defense deal was negotiated months earlier.
But when that official order was made, Canelo and his handlers decided they weren’t going to be “rushed” into making a deal with Golovkin, and so Canelo decided to vacate the middleweight title instead, but took umbrage in doing so...
“The WBC is saying I’m ungrateful. I’m very grateful and very loyal. But [Sulaiman] was pressuring me on a 15-day basis to make a decision on GGG and I had problems in Miami,” Canelo said, referencing his lawsuit with All-Star Boxing. “He made it look like I was afraid of GGG.”
“I won that title based on sacrifice, hard training and beating a great fighter like Cotto just so [Sulaiman] can hand it over to a guy who didn’t even fight for it? You’re going to tell me that’s respectful?” Canelo asked incredulously.
So with at least one participant vowing not to accept the WBC’s new trinket, the optics aren’t particularly good for the WBC organization heading into this fight. I mean, it’s not an especially good look if the first ever receiptent of an award, assuming Canelo wins, throws said award back in your face for the world to see.