Mauricio Sulaimán: “Franchise Status Gives Boxing Best Fights Possible”

A Year Later and Franchise Champion Still Controversial

(Clockwise from left), Saul 'Canelo' Alvarez, Mauricio Sulaimán, Vasyl Lomachenko
(Clockwise from left), Saul 'Canelo' Alvarez, Mauricio Sulaimán, Vasyl Lomachenko

A Year Later and Franchise Champion Still Controversial

As we creep up on the one anniversary of the WBC’s concept status, the ‘Franchise Champion,’ it remains largely rejected by the fans. Also, even being afforded all these many months to do so, the famed sanctioning organization is still powerless to clearly explain its fundamental purpose or why the public should embrace it.

In fact, rather than even try to give further explanation, the WBC is prepared to bear the brunt of the fans hostility if need be. In a brief interview with Fight Hub TV, WBC president Mauricio Sulaimán, gave his latest take on the conceptual status.

“The WBC has implemented a new concept, its nothing that never had any similarity to this. I understand that there might be confusion for the fans. The reason for this is to have the ability to make the best fight’s possible happen. If that creates confusion or anger in any way, I choose to give boxing the best fights over any other controversy.”


Let the WBC tell it, they have created this philosophical status to manufacture the best fights available. To facilitate this, the ‘Franchise champion’ has no mandatories and can freely division-hop at their own fancy. On November 2, 2019 WBA world middleweight champion Saul “Canelo” Alvarez (53-1-2, 36 KO’s), the premiere ‘Franchise champion,’ traveled two divisions north to collide with Sergey “The Krusher” Kovalev (34-4-1, 29 KO’s).

Following eleven rounds of action, Canelo reduced the Krusher to a limp body tangled in the ropes with a nasty left-hook, straight-right sequence. With the victory, Kovalev’s WBO world light heavyweight title was included in the spoils of war. However, Alvarez would fairly quickly relinquish the WBO light heavyweight title, while retaining his WBA middleweight strap.

With his intention clearly being on defending his middleweight title, there are a number of tantalizing options. Alvarez has already said he has no interest in facing the WBO champion Demetrius “Boo-Boo” Andrade (29-0, 18 KO’s). Also, a trilogy bout with IBF champion Gennady “GGG” Golovkin (40-1-1, 35 KO’s) is tenuous at best. Lastly, there is WBC world middleweight champion Jermall “Hit Man” Charlo (30-0 22 KO’s).


Similar to Andrade, Alvarez has displayed extremely little interest in a bout with Charlo. And in this situation, the WBC appears to be mirroring his energy. This could be viewed as odd being that Charlo is the actual WBC middleweight champion. On the other hand, Alvarez holds the WBA middleweight title. Nevertheless, Sulaimán gave the distinct impression that won’t be overly energetic about pushing for an Alvarez v Charlo showdown.

“Charlo is doing his own well career. He’s defending his title, he is a great champion, he’s a great ambassador for boxing. So I understand that fans want to see Charlo/Canelo. I want to see Charlo/Canelo, but I want to see also so many other fights that Charlo has over there available to grow as a champion. But I understand, I appreciate and respect the concerns, I am a fan of boxing also. There are fights that I would like to see but we cannot have it all.”

So the question must be asked yet again, what is the underlining purpose of the ‘Franchise champion’? Here we have ‘Franchise’ Canelo jump up to make a bout no one was asking for. Once done, Alvarez and the WBC seem to be lukewarm about engaging in a meaningful unification match that a large segment of fans are clamoring to see.

After all, isn’t an all-champion Charlo v Canelo duel exactly the type of fight that the ‘Franchise’ status is supposed to endorse? Instead, the WBC appears to be opting to snub their own champion in the division to honor a theoretical concept status? If so, this does sound like some confusing controversy worthy of getting mad and frustrated about. Luckily for them, the WBC is ready for the funk!

By: Bakari Simpson

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Bakari is a Senior Writer for Visit to view more of his literary work.