Sergio Martinez, who recently signed a contract guaranteeing him a shot at the winner of June’s WBC middleweight title fight between current belt holder, Julio Cesar Chavez Jr., and Andy Lee, will prepare a plan B if he’s learned anything from his dealings with the crooked sanctioning body known as the World Boxing Council (WBC). Martinez, for his part, has agreed to this stipulation, but the most important parties – Andy Lee and Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. – have not.
Anyone with a realistic grasp on the business dealings of the sport of boxing can see that this will not end well for the southpaw from Argentina. Martinez has been down this road several times before, only to come back ragged and beaten down into submission. He lashed out at WBC President for Life Jose Sulaiman and dropped his meaningless WBC Diamond middleweight title, only to come back into the treacherous folds of the WBC when a few baited words slid from Sulaiman’s forked tongue.
In this case it is highly unlikely that the WBC will force the Martinez agreement into the fight between Chavez and Lee. It doesn’t make sense for them to force their gravy train down a section of the tracks in which his handlers (the WBC included) have no intention of steering him. Until the weight-challenged Chavez exhausts the marketable supply of B-level contenders and manufactured, WBC-ranked challengers and moves up to newer pastures, Sergio Martinez will remain a man on the outside eagerly looking in.
Most recently Martinez was moved aside to make way for Marco Antonio Rubio; Chavez’s second mandatory challenger. At the WBC’s annual convention in Las Vegas, Martinez was able to force the WBC’s hand, producing a dinner napkin that contained Sulaiman’s written promise to enforce a Martinez-Chavez bout after Chavez’s October 2011 defense against Peter Manfredo Jr. Despite Sulaiman’s public declaration that Chavez would face Martinez or be stripped, Sulaiman sat idly by as Top Rank ignored his mandate and signed Rubio for Chavez’s February date in the increasingly cozy, but inept, confines of Texas.
If and when Martinez heard the recent news of Sergio Thompson’s snubbing by the WBC, would one not think that would raise a red flag with the hard luck middleweight from Argentina?
Sergio Thompson won a WBC lightweight title eliminator, outright. He beat Jorge Linares last Saturday and should have taken his place as the number one contender, given the winner was to be granted the right to face WBC lightweight champion, Antonio DeMarco.
The WBC’s website even went so far as to post a short story proclaiming Thompson the mandatory challenger to DeMarco on April 1.
In a shocker, unheralded Sergio “Yeyo” Thompson (21-2, 19 KOs) scored a second round TKO over former two-division world champion Jorge “Nino de Oro” Linares (31-3, 20 KOs) in a WBC lightweight title eliminator on Saturday night at the Grand Oasis Cancun in Cancun, Mexico. Thompson dropped Linares with a barrage of punches in round two and the bout was waved off due to a cut over Linares’ left eye. Time was 2:27. Thompson is now in line to face WBC champion Antonio DeMarco.
It would appear that the preceding news story was a cruel April Fool’s joke played on Thompson, the long-shot to spoil Gary Shaw and Golden Boy Promotions’ June plans, as a few short days later the WBC retracted their statement and declared Thompson would not be next in line to face DeMarco.
Jose Sulaiman has said time and time again that he will respect the laws of the WBC. Yet Sulaiman and the WBC are not strangers to breaking their own rules to benefit their bottom line. In the aforementioned Chavez vs. Rubio fight that took place in Texas this February, the staggeringly corrupt Texas Commission “forgot” to book the agency to handle the doping tests. All four fighters showcased on HBO were not tested, and the Texas Commission and WBC both have rules that state an anti-doping test must be given (although the language in the rules of each vile organization leaves the option to place blame on an outside party should an anti-doping test not be given).
The WBC also broke their own rules to strip Timothy Bradley of his WBC 140-pound title to make way for Erik Morales to become the first Mexican to win four world titles in four divisions. The list goes on, and I could go on for pages but will refrain from doing so.
I wrote in December how Sergio Martinez’s career should be used as a learning experience to future fighters and promoters. Too often in this broken system are fighters and promoters left dangling at the mercy of networks, corrupt commissions, and shady, back-alley organizations such as the WBC.
While most of the boxing media is reporting this story as a done deal and looking ahead to a high profile middleweight clash between Chavez and Martinez in the fall, I look upon these series of rumors with more realism, although some might call it pessimism.
It is obvious that Martinez wants this fight so bad he can taste it, and he’s willing to publicly make an ass of himself to secure such an opportunity. But as my father always says, “wish in one hand and shit in the other, and see which one fills up first”.
Fitting advice in a sport where money reigns supreme, and honor and integrity are forgotten luxuries once afforded to the gladiators who risk their health and lives for our entertainment, and skulking, hand-wringing characters like Sulaiman freely break their own rules to reap the benefits of the sacrifices of said gladiators.
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