by Tim Harrison
WBC jr. welterweight champion Timothy Bradley has been stripped of his title due to his inactivity, which has reached 6 months today. Strangely enough, Bradley has up to 1 year to fight a mandatory challenger. At this time he currently does not have a mandatory challenger. As of today, Bradley has 6 months to defend his title against a mandatory challenger that does not exist.
As a result of the vacant title, and at the request of Golden Boy Promotions, Jose Sulaiman and his crew voted to sanction the upcoming September 17 bout between Erik Morales and former jr. lightweight belt holder, Jorge Barrios. The decision was made on Thursday.
Morales is currently ranked number 3 by the WBC. As we have seen in recent WBC heists, the Silver titlist is usually given the first shot at challenging for the title. We saw jr. middleweight Silver titlist Saul Alvarez become World Champion, and we saw middleweight Silver titlist Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. challenge paper champion Sebastian Zbik after Sergio Martinez was tossed like an unruly drunk from a bar.
Roberto Ortiz, a little-known Mexican fighter, currently holds the WBC Silver jr. welterweight title. I sent an e-mail to WBC President Jose Sulaiman asking if Ortiz was given consideration in this decision, and if not, why? I asked why number 2-ranked contender Ajose Olusegun was also bypassed in favor of Morales taking on an opponent who had never fought in the division, is unranked as a lightweight, and whose best days are 2 divisions behind him. I asked what criteria was used in the making of this decision, and if Morales’ name and profitability factored into their decision. Not surprisingly, Sulaiman did not respond to my request for comment.
Without logical explanation we are left to draw our own conclusions. Ortiz should be given the first chance at challenging for a vacant title. The Silver title was, after all, created out of thin air to replace interim champions and make the clear number 1 contender to a vacant belt. Ortiz last fought on June 25; he currently has no fights scheduled and should be available in the immediate future.
The aforementioned, but unknown Ajose Olusegun is already scheduled to fight Ali Chebah on September 30 in a WBC 140-pound title eliminator. It would not be unprecedented to bump an eliminator bout to a vacant title fight, or possibly re-schedule and have Roberto Ortiz take on Olusegun for the vacant title. Sadly, it is becoming a precedent of the WBC to strip one fighter in favor of giving a paper title to a big name Mexican fighter.
Golden Boy Promotions came onto the scene ten years ago, promising a deviation from the shady practices that have stained the teeth of the major promoters in the game. This does little to convince anyone that Golden Boy has taken its promise seriously, and they are no different than the rest. With the help of Jose Sulaiman they shoved Alvarez into his title shot before he was ready, breaking a mark of youngest to capture a jr. middleweight title, set by Fernando Vargas.
Now they’re looking to give Erik Morales a boost in chasing his dream of becoming the first 4-division world champion in Mexico’s history, despite not having beaten a legit 140-pound contender in his latest “title run”. Like Alvarez, it’s hard to blame Erik Morales. As is the case with many of boxing’s diseases, this case can be traced back to promoters and sanctioning bodies; namely Golden Boy Promotions and the WBC, working together again to cheat history.
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