By Mauricio Sulaimán / Son of José Sulaimán / President of the WBC
I will never get tired of repeating that we are living in a new golden age in boxing.
This Saturday there was, once again, a great fight in Carson, California. WBC world champion, Jermell Charlo, knocked out the now former WBO champion, Argentine Brian Castaño, thus unifying super welterweight and giving the world the first undisputed champion of this division, since he is now the champion of the four world recognized organizations .
Charlo, a two-time WBC super welterweight world champion, is the owner of the WBC, WBO, IBF and WBA championship belts.
The fight was a rematch, or rather a tiebreaker, as their first fight in San Antonio, Texas, ended in a draw last year after 12 rounds of intensity and drama. The one on Saturday was wonderful; fierce exchanges in the center of the ring, and with a fifth round that will be remembered as one of the best of the year.
The end came in the tenth round, when Charlo dropped the Argentine warrior, who got up with a lion heart only to receive a severe punishment, and that led the Referee to stop the fight.
After 22 intense rounds between these two champions, and a year of intense rivalry between them, their teams and the American and Argentine fans, we relived the beauty of this sport, when we saw how Jermell Charlo raised his opponent’s arm, during the interview with Showtime , as a tribute, recognizing his value and courage with exemplary sportsmanship. This is boxing. Fighters at the end of each fight, embrace themselves in a hug recognizing the virtues thus initiating a friendship that lasts a lifetime.
My son Mauricio once asked the great champion Oscar de la Hoya what it feels like to knock someone out. And he told him
“It’s the most incredible feeling in the world; It comes naturally, and you know instantly from landing the blow that the fight ends there. You feel an indescribable sensation on your knuckles, energy travels in milliseconds that passes through your arm and reaches your heart; It is something unbelievable.”
The World Boxing Council will remain strong in its campaign to try to achieve unification fights so that fans can enjoy the ones they deserve to see, battles between champions that grab their attention.
Unfortunately, words have no value when an organization, or rather, its leader, has no honor.
At the beginning of this year, the four Presidents of boxing’s governing bodies met in Puerto Rico, Francisco Valcarcel ( WBO ) hosted us in San Juan. Daryl Peoples ( IBF ), Gilberto Jesus Mendoza and Gary Shaw represented the WBA and I represented The WBC. We basically met with the best intentions of finding ways to improve conditions and implement some measures for the administration of the sport, with respect and reciprocity among our organizations.
The priority was how to keep champions unified, and make sure mandatory challengers don’t break their undisputed status and lose belts on a desk. We also agreed to start a process so that the organizations seek to have common mandatory challengers, and thus prevent the unified world champion from having to do mandatory fights one after another, after another…
Sitting around a table, we agreed to start the process and right there we set the example with the super lightweight division, explaining and discussing the commitments already made by undisputed champion Josh Taylor.
Right there we agreed that Taylor would do the WBO mandatory against Jack Catterall, and the winner would do The WBC mandatory match, with José Chon Zepeda, and the winner would continue with the IBF mandatory. We all accept that process at no time was anything contrary to that commented.
Taylor complied with the mandatory WBO fight and his following match is ours, the WBC mandatory.
It turns out that the WBA breached the honor agreement that was held, and ordered Taylor against another fighter, resulting in a purse bid in which only one promoter participated with the ridiculous amount of 200 thousand dollars.
Taylor, who already earns millions of dollars, would be forced to fight for about 120 thousand. This past Saturday, Josh abandoned the title of that organization, and thus the undisputed championship of the super lightweight division ended. A real shame for Taylor, for the fans and for boxing in general.
The WBA did the same at super flyweight. They knew that the third fight between Juan Francisco Gallo Estrada and Román Chocolatito González had been ordered by The WBC and in the process of finalizing the negotiations, once again the WBA ordered Estrada to fight another man with a purse bid of…120 thousand dollars! We will see what Estrada will decide to do .
In other words, Gallo and Estrada would have to get into the ring for a ridiculous amount of money for a world champion of his level.
Those times of respect and reciprocity of the late Mr. Gilberto Mendoza (RIP) no longer exist. How sad it makes me to be experiencing these complications and disrespect that only hurt our sport.
Did you know…
There have only been eight undisputed champions in the four-belt era. In these recent years some of them have reached this status with great glory: Oleksandr Usyk, from Ukraine, unified the cruiserweight division; Josh Taylor, the super lightweight; Saúl Canelo Álvarez, the super middleweight, and now Jermell Charlo, in super welterweight.
The WBC will continue to do everything in its power to maintain undisputed champions and make mandatory challengers of the level a champion deserves.
George Foreman visited Mexico in 2018 to celebrate his 50th anniversary of having won the gold medal at the 1968 Mexico Olympic Games. In an unforgettable breakfast he told me with great pride what he experienced with my father José Sulaimán early in his career .
“Mauricio, your father, was the most honest and decent person that has ever existed in boxing and in life in general. When Joe Frazier beat Muhammad Ali, I was the official WBC challenger. Ali vs. Frazier was very successful and broke all the financial records, they wanted to put me aside and they were looking for a rematch. Very worried, I looked for your father, who replied:
“Being an official challenger is a privilege and this position must be occupied by the best in the division, right under the champion, and you George, you are in that position; Ones word is the most sacred thing that a human being has, it must have the same validity as a contract, and right now I give you my word, that you will fight Frazier.”
And Foreman continued: “Your dad, with the WBC, demanded that Frazier fight me immediately and that’s how I won the WBC world title, knocking him out in two rounds and knocking him down six times.”
I appreciate your feedback from at firstname.lastname@example.org