Picking Fights Outside The Ring: Canelo Alvarez and the WBC

Tom Dunstan

On Saturday night the boxing world finally gets the chance to see Gennady Golovkin and Canelo Alvarez battle it out for the title of ‘Middleweight King’ as one man will walk out of the T-Mobile Arena with all the belts, or will they?

Although GGG VS Alvarez has been over three years in the making, Canelo has been involved in some what of a one sided battle over the past 18 months. This time though, that battle is not inside a ring, Mexico’s three-weight world champion holds a very well publicised grudge against one of world boxing’s biggest governing bodies, the WBC.

Over the last year-and-a-half, Canelo has made his anti-WBC stance very clear. Since May 2016, Canelo has voluntarily vacated his WBC middleweight crown, refused to accept a personally customised WBC belt before his fight with Chavez Jr and has once again snubbed the WBC by stating that even if he wins come Saturday night, he will not be leaving as their champion.

Even the WBC’s attempt to offer an olive branch in the shape of a belt created to honour Canelo’s beloved Cinco de Mayo has been rejected by Mexico’s favourite fighter.

Why the bad blood?

It has to be said that this is undoubtedly one of boxing’s most one-sided feuds. For the start of the grudge, we have to jump back to 2016.

Coming off the back of a brutal knockout victory over Britain’s very own Amir Khan, Alvarez was given just 15 days to reach an agreement to fight Golovkin in a unification bout. Alvarez made it clear to the boxing world he was trying to finalise the details.

But, as the negotiations entered their more complicated stages, Canelo had to appear in court and he decided to prioritise his legal problems and abandoned the negotiations with Golovkin, deciding to vacate the title, a title that was immediately handed to GGG. Since that day, Canelo has felt betrayed by the WBC and the 27-year-old show’s no sign of forgiving them anytime soon.

“When I vacated it, they gave it to the other guy like that, without making him drop a bead of sweat. He didn’t even go through a single training camp and they gave it to him. They put it on the table. That’s not an organization you can respect. – Canelo Alvarez

One thing about Canelo, he does NOT like it when he is accused of ducking somebody, especially somebody like Triple G.

When WBC president Mauricio Sulaiman publicly announced that Canelo had decided to vacate his title rather than face Golovkin, the Mexican received abuse from the boxing community and Alvarez feels that it all stemmed from the WBC making him look scared to face Golovkin.

…. Subtitles are advised for those of us who don’t speak Spanish.

But, on the flip side, President Mauricio Sulaiman couldn’t have more love for the current Ring Magazine champion. Sulaiman’s father was actually the promoter who first found the talents of a young Canelo Alvarez, the WBC offered him a major platform and nurtured him as a teenager. So, the WBC king pin probably has a right to feel a tad disappointed with his former colleague and friend.

“Canelo has always had the WBC doors open and all he has received is friendship, support and opportunities, still to this day. I am disappointed that after several attempts to have a face-to-face conversation Canelo has refused to meet with me”. – Mauricio Sulaiman

What if Canelo wins?

Well, if come Saturday night we do see the Mexican’s hand risen as the victor, the WBC will find themselves in a rather peculiar situation.

“It’s clear that Canelo’s not fighting for the WBC title and if, for some reason, Gennady were to lose, then it would be a vacant title because Canelo can’t win the title”. – Tom Loeffler

Unsurprisingly, with Canelo making it clear he has no intention of representing his home nations governing body, Mauricio Sulaiman and the WBC are going to have to find a replacement champion very quickly. Apparently, the WBC already have a plan B in place.

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