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 Outrageous comment is one more reason Sulaiman should resign

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Join date : 2011-01-17

PostSubject: Outrageous comment is one more reason Sulaiman should resign   Tue Jan 10, 2012 12:23 am

When Jose Sulaiman was first elected president of the World Boxing Council in 1975, Muhammad Ali was its heavyweight champion, Sugar Ray Leonard still had not made the U.S. Olympic team and it would be three years before Manny Pacquiao was born.

Much happened in the next 36-plus years, most of it not good for boxing.

The overwhelming majority of the problems that plague the sport can be traced, in one way or another, to the sanctioning bodies. Directly or indirectly, boxing’s crime families, also known as the world sanctioning bodies, are responsible for the proliferation of champions, the dizzying array of weight classes, one-sided championship fights, stripping belts, ludicrous ratings and much, much more.
Slowly but surely, at least in the U.S., the four, ahem, major sanctioning groups have begun to see their influence wane. Major promoters are beginning to bill their title bouts as being for “The World Welterweight Championship” or “The World Heavyweight Championship” rather than as being contested for the WBC, World Boxing Association, World Boxing Organization or International Boxing Federation.

That’s progress.
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But the time has come for Sulaiman to resign, for the good of the organization he essentially built, for the good of the sport and the good of the fighters who compete for its titles.

Pick one of the great leaders in world history and think: Would you want that person in charge for 37 years? Usually, when someone is in power that long, he or she is a despot.

Sulaiman proved the point last week when, in an interview with the Manila Standard and, he tried to minimize Floyd Mayweather Jr.’s conviction on a domestic violence charge by saying, “Beating a lady is highly critical, [but] it is not a major sin or crime.”

Of course, he quickly backtracked and released a statement attempting to explain away his ignorance.

The reason he made such a passionate defense of Mayweather is not because he supports domestic violence, but because it would cost the WBC a large sum of money if Mayweather no longer held its belt.

The problem with the world sanctioning bodies is that they’re for-profit institutions that benefit by having 17 weight classes with multiple champions in each. They’re better off stripping titles from boxers who fairly won their belts in the ring and handing them to fighters who are more popular or better connected.

The world sanctioning bodies normally charge a 3 percent fee to the fighters for the privilege to compete for the belt. When a purse is enormous, the fighters often will negotiate that down, but be certain, groups like the WBC profit tremendously from sanctioning a major fight like Mayweather against Pacquiao.

If Mayweather and Pacquiao sign to fight in 2012, it’s not out of the question that each man could be guaranteed $40 million, along with a percentage of the pay-per-view sales. So if Mayweather and Pacquiao agreed to pay the WBC the standard 3 percent, they’d each owe Sulaiman and company $1.2 million, for a total of $2.4 million.

On top of that, the promoter pays travel expenses for the WBC officials to be ringside for the event. Clearly, it’s a lucrative business to have major stars such as Mayweather and Pacquiao fighting for your belt.

To reap the financial incentive, Sulaiman has to keep Mayweather as his champion and in position for a WBC title fight with Pacquiao. Consider what would happen if Mayweather were not available and Pacquiao chose to fight, say, Timothy Bradley.

Pacquiao holds the WBO welterweight title. Bradley would be moving up from 140 pounds, where he holds the WBC and WBO belts. He’d have to surrender those to take his opportunity at welterweight.

Pacquiao wouldn’t make nearly as much for facing Bradley as he would for meeting Mayweather. Based on recent fights, figure that Pacquiao would make a guarantee of about $20 million to fight Bradley. And Bradley would probably get somewhere in the neighborhood of $1.5 million.

Three percent of $21.5 million is $645,000, or about a quarter of what it would be for Mayweather-Pacquiao.

More significantly, though, given that a Pacquiao-Bradley fight would be only for the WBO belt, Sulaiman and the WBC would be on the outside looking in. Its take from that fight would be zero, a pretty substantial cut from $2.4 million.

Sulaiman’s comment was despicable, of course. Beating a woman is a major sin and a crime. Period. And that has nothing to do with the particulars of Mayweather’s case.

A few days after Sulaiman’s ill-advised comment, he released a statement begging forgiveness and attempted to use his inability to choose the correct words in English as an excuse for what he was trying to dismiss as a misstatement. But this is a guy who is extremely bright; in addition to speaking his native Spanish, he also speaks English, Arabic, Italian, Portuguese and French. Part of the reason for his long reign atop the WBC has been his ability to communicate with WBC members and promoters around the world.

He noted in his statement that he is the father of two daughters and the grandfather of three girls. He then used his religion, invoking the Virgin of Guadalupe, as a way to attempt to paint himself as an enlightened man who has championed women’s rights.

“I have always been a strong supporter of women’s rights and the protection of women in society,” Sulaiman said. “Those are the facts. Everybody knows me.”

Unfortunately for Sulaiman, everyone in boxing does know him. Sergio Martinez, the middleweight champion whom Sulaiman stripped of his belt last year in an effort to open the door for Mexico’s favorite son, Julio Cesar Chavez Jr., to fight for the belt, knows him all too well.

Martinez held a news conference in Argentina last week to condemn Sulaiman’s statement about women and noted the many mistruths Sulaiman had uttered about his situation regarding the WBC middleweight championship.

The particulars aren’t as important as the fact that Sulaiman went back on his original word and the end result would benefit Chavez, a Mexican fighter. Like Chavez, Sulaiman is Mexican and the WBC is based in Mexico. It’s why the WBC has so frequently and blatantly manipulated its rules to benefit Mexican fighters.
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It’s also one of the two major reasons why Sulaiman took no action when Saul “Canelo” Alvarez, a WBC super welterweight champion from Mexico, allegedly broke the jaw of light flyweight boxer Ulises Solis in a dispute over a woman.

Alvarez is not only Mexican, but also he’s a popular world champion who figures to be in a few big-money bouts in 2012. If Sulaiman had stripped him of the title, it would have cost the WBC a lot of money.

This is not to suggest that Alvarez or Mayweather should have been stripped of their belts. But if it had been a largely unknown champion boxer from Ghana, say, who held the WBC belt and who had hit Solis, the odds would suggest that Sulaiman would have self-righteously decried the act, stripped him of the belt and handed it to Alvarez.

His stone-age thinking about women isn’t necessarily germane to his job, but it proves how out of touch he is.

For the good of the sport of boxing, Jose Sulaiman ought to immediately resign as president of the WBC.
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