Round 12: Recognition of the Greatness of Boxing
By Mauricio Sulaimán / Son of José Sulaimán / President of the WBC
This past Saturday a wonderful cycle culminated in the lightweight division; without a doubt, the most attractive category of today, filled with talent and potential great matches to be made. With great satisfaction we see that the World Boxing Council concept is flourishing, the franchise champion.
This innovation arose to recognize those few elite boxers with special benefits, but most importantly to enable the great fights to be made.
This concept still has detractors; Resistance to change is a conservative and stubborn part of human nature, and systematic criticism from those who live in obduracy occurs incessantly when there are controversial issues.
It is confusing, but the results and the facts are what count. They speak for themselves.
The first franchise boxer was Saul Canelo Alvarez. Under that designation he captured the super middleweight world championship, the light heavyweight, and in these last 11 months, he had four fights, to be the first to unify the super middleweight belts, thus becoming the undisputed champion with the WBC, WBO, IBF and WBA crowns.
The second monarch to receive this designation was Vasyl Lomachenko, a two-time Olympic champion, as well as world champion in three different divisions.
The lightweight division one was completely messed up about two to three years ago. Mikey Garcia, who held the WBC world championship, asked permission to fight over the weight; and while that was happening, The WBC ordered a series of elimination fights, but some of them did not occur for a variety of reasons, and finally, accepted the request to sanction an interim championship between Devin Haney and Zaur Abdullaev, in which the first of them was the winner.
Mikey decided to vacate the championship and continue fighting in welterweight.
Vasyl Lomachenko, as WBO and WBA champion, asked for the opportunity to dispute the WBC vacant belt, an unprecedented request, which we unanimously accepted, and thus he conquered the Green and Gold Belt by defeating Luke Campbell.
The lightweight division division turned to be the one to watch, Devin Haney WBC interim champion, Teófimo López, with the IBF crown; Gervonta Davis with the WBA title , Ryan Garcia became known as a great promise. The former champions: Jorge Linares, Yuriorkis Gamboa and Javier Fortuna remained on the map, among others.
Lomachenko, through his Top Rank company, petitioned the WBC for the franchise designation, which was accepted, thus supporting the ultimate unification of the four belts against Teofimo López.
At the same time, Top Rank requested that the winner of said main fight be considered franchise, thus giving a change to the concept, adjusting the recently created rule, which allows said designation to be put at stake in the ring.
The activity in the division boomed and so many great fights happened throughout this process
López beat Lomachenko. Haney beat Gamboa, and later Jorge Linares. Garcia won the interim title from Luke Campbell. JoJo Díaz did the same on Fortuna, and was projected to fight vs. Haney. George Kambosos, from Australia, surprised by defeating Lopez to be the champ and the franchise designation. Meanwhile, Haney beat Diaz. Gervonta Davis defeated Issaac Pitbull Cruz, and finally, Lomachenko superb performance over former champion Richard Commey.
We will close the year next weekend, with the world title fight, between the champ Artur Beterbiev against the challenger Marcus Browne, in Canada. A day later, YouTube King Jake Paul will step into the ring, bringing millions of new fans to the sport.
December 12 is the celebration of Guadalupe Virgin appearance in Mexico in the year 1531, becoming the mother of all Mexican faithful catholics. She is still regarded as the major motivation and guidance to tenths of millions in our country.
Raul Raton Macías, who was a bantamweight world champion, was the greatest idol for my father in his lifetime. Don José planned his honeymoon so that his visit to Mexico City would be precisely while one of his fights was taking place, in the Plaza México . it always seemed to my mother that it was an incredible coincidence!
Fate led my dad to take the boxing path, and thus he managed to become an endearing and everlasting friend with Macias. They enjoyed breakfast every Saturday in Sanborns, travelled the world together and were always like brothers. Macías was known for his phrase: “I owe everything to my manager and to the Virgin of Guadalupe.” He eventually fell to a painful illness, but characteristically and bravely he fought it every inch of the way, as the True Champion he`ll forever be.
One afternoon, my dad said to me: “My son, I’m going to see Raúl, he’s very sick.” And we went to the hospital. My dad came out very sad. Not even three minutes passed, when his wife came out to notify us that he passed away. It was something inexplicable, because he managed to say goodbye to his brother in the last moments of his life. Don José made a series of calls, and the next day, the glorious Basilica church was secured for the services and it was packed to the rafters with thousands of people, who showed up to say their last goodbye to The Great Raul Raton Macías right there, alongside his Virgin of Guadalupe…just as he wanted.
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