A lot of profoundly strange things happened last year, though few stranger than the WBA finally getting on everyone’s last nerve. After years of horrific rankings, endless redundant titles, and a general disinterest in providing the scant benefits sanctioning bodies use to justify their existence, the Mykal Fox-Gabriel Maestre debacle proved a step too far.
Loathe as I am to give them any sort of credit, Gilberto Mendoza and co. actually did start to clean up their acts. They vacated all of their interim titles and ordered their former recipients to face their respective “world” champions, while those divisions without interim titlists saw the “super” and world champions ordered to consolidate.
There’s clearly still a lot of work to do, as seen in their continued dealings with Don King and the bizarre roadblocks they set up between Yordenis Ugas and Errol Spence Jr. before ultimately electing to let the fight proceed, but progress is progress. For what felt like the only time all year, collective anger proved sufficient to sway those in power.
Now it’s time to channel that anger towards another worthy target.
I loathe Mauricio Sulaiman more than almost any other figure in the sport of boxing. I can’t even muster up that sort of antipathy for King, who’s devolved into a mostly powerless sideshow villain at this point. Sulaiman’s complete lack of shame as he spews whatever BS is most convenient at the moment reminds me of nothing so much as Transmetropolitan’s Gary “The Smiler” Callahan, a sociopathic cretin whose craving for power far, far outstrips any potential desire to use it for the public good.
The “Franchise” belt was non-transferrable until it wasn’t. “Bridgerweight,” which was totally named after a brave kid and not as a way to “bridge” the gap between cruiser and heavyweight, is absolutely necessary despite Oleksandr Usyk schooling Anthony Joshua. Purse bids have a maximum split of 70/30 unless they really don’t like the challenger. Champions must face a mandatory challenger once a year unless they decide to do it once every two years.
What made Mendoza mildly tolerable was that he didn’t even try to justify half the crap he pulled; the WBA’s idiotic plans went from proposal to execution to aftermath without a peep beyond the occasional reality-divorced press relief. Heavyweight title fight between a washed-up cruiserweight and a guy whose last two opponents were a combined 4-44? Whatever. Dead guy in the rankings? Whatever.
Sulaiman, on the other hand, is always ready with some patronizing garbage. Just look at the Oscar Valdez situation, where Sulaiman responded to Valdez failing a drug test by praising him, pointing out he’d never tested positive before, refusing to strip his title, and brushing off the test by claiming the substance he popped for wasn’t performance-enhancing.
That was far from the first time he’s gone to bat for one of his personal favorite champions; Luis Nery, Julio Cesar Martinez, and Canelo Alvarez all pissed hot and got to keep their belts, but this might have been the most blatant bit of favoritism of all.
Stop throwing him softballs. Stop letting him weasel his way out of the few hard questions he receives. Treat Sulaiman like what he is: a lying, self-aggrandizing fraud who somehow manages to stain a sport composed almost entirely of stains.