WBC bias not doing fight game any good
Forget about the fact that going into the fight Stiverne had fought only once in two years since his decision loss to Wilder – in the latter’s only fight to go the distance – in their first fight.
Now the clamouring for the clash against British star Anthony Joshua is reaching a crescendo, especially after Joshua’s harder-than expected stoppage win over Cameroonian-born Carlos Takam a week earlier.
While self-proclaimed analysts are already on overdrive with their picks, the interesting part is the stance of the World Boxing Council, whose belt Wilder holds.
Since the ascension to power of Mauricio Sulaimán after the death of his father Jose, the WBC has taken the position of a cheerleader of boxers holding its titles.
This became apparent after the clash between its champion Gennady Golovkin and Canelo Alvarez.
The frosty relationship between Canelo and the world sanctioning body, based in his own country of Mexico, did not help matters.
This after the ginger-haired fighter slammed the body for forcing him to defend his WBC middleweight crown against Golovkin, as per an earlier agreement.
Canelo had agreed to an undertaking that the winner between him and Miguel Cotto was to face GGG, who held the interim belt back then.
When Canelo refused to honour the agreement after beating Cotto, the WBC threatened to strip him, but the proud Mexican beat it to it by relinquishing the title.
Even before the GGG clash, Canelo said he would not accept the WBC title if he wins, and the draw decision seemed to be generous to the Mexican.
Nothing wrong with that, if the WBC is now canvassing for a fair outcome and not escalating the Canelo tiff.
In its WBC Convention in Azerbaijan a few weeks ago, the WBC appointed GGG as its ambassador and even honoured him with a special award.
Now the anticipation here is how will it react if GGG loses the proposed rematch to Canelo.
The WBC has already made its favourite known going into the fight, and its impartiality is now questionable.
And now it is also publicly backing Wilder, even drawing comparisons of his win over Stiverne with greats such as Muhammad Ali, Mike Tyson and Larry Holmes.
“Wilder’s performance was like Ali, Tyson and Holmes rolled in one,” it was quoted as saying.
This means in the proposed unification clash against Joshua, who holds the IBF and WBA titles, the WBC will back its own champion, although one should say that will not be new as it happened after the body’s unification clash between its champion Erik Morales and his compatriot Marco Antonio Barrera, who held the WBO crown in the junior-featherweight division.
But as a sanctioning body, one would expect the WBC to take a neutral stance going to a fight.
Another example is Luis Nery, who tested positive for a banned substance before his WBC bantamweight title-winning stoppage of Japan’s Shensuke Yamanaka.
While details are sketchy in this instance, with Nery’s camp arguing that the boxer failed the dope test due to eating contaminated meat, the WBC has opted to side with the Mexican boxer by not banning him or changing the outcome of his clash against Yamanaka.
Instead Nery has been ordered to give Yamanaka a rematch.
This makes his planned unification clash against Zolani Tete possible if he goes past the Japanese and Tete beats Siboniso Gonya in his WBO title defence in Belfast next weekend.
Tete still has an outstanding mandatory to Argentinean Omar Narvaez but his promoter Frank Warren can easily sort that out. — Boxing Mecca