Sulaimán To Haney: “I Have No Issue Calling Teofimo Lopez Undisputed”

WBC president Mauricio Sulaimán believes Haney’s paydays overshadow champion glory

Devin Haney (left), Mauricio Sulaimán
Devin Haney (left), Mauricio Sulaimán

WBC president Mauricio Sulaimán believes Haney’s paydays overshadow champion glory

WBC president Mauricio Sulaimán knew there would be static when he introduced the ‘Franchise champion’ designation. It was yet another belt that no one wanted and no one asked for. Even worse, it undermined almost every aspect of what a championship belt is. This is because there were no mandatories, it hops around weight classes with impunity and cannot be won or lost in the ring.

At least in the beginning, Sulaimán was honest about it being confusing and merely alibied for more time. These days, he simply pretends to not understand why people are confused. The trouble with that stance is that he still to this day cannot explain it fluidly himself. Without being in existence for two full years, this chuckleheaded designation is wreaking havoc in the lightweight division. The true irony though, is the WBC is disparaging one of its own.

In all actuality, the real WBC world lightweight champion is Devin “The Dream” Haney (25-0, 15 KO’s), Meanwhile, the WBA/WBO/IBF lightweight champion Teofimo “Take Over” Lopez (16-0, 12 KO’s) has the problematic ‘Franchise’ designation. Yet, the WBC insists that the belt made in 2019 has weight over the one in play since 1963. Even worse, at the last minute, they had to jimmy-rig their own rules so that the belt could change hands.


In his last outing, Lopez defeated the highly rated Vasiliy Lomachenko (14-2, 10 KO’s) in an impressive showing. In doing so, he acquired Loma’s WBO, WBA and Franchise status. The slanderous aspect of this fight was it being billed as one for undisputed, which it was not. This is because, as previously mentioned, Haney is the actual WBC lightweight champion. So it should be no shock to hear that the Dream is one of the loudest voices denying Lopez’s claim of undisputed.

By saying that Lopez is the undisputed champion of the division, it strips all the meaning of Haney’s belt away. Of course, this is something that the Dream would not go along with. As a result, he has regularly called attention to the falsity of the matter. Unsurprisingly, Sulaimán was unsympathetic to Haney’s plight or opinion. In fact, while speaking with Boxing Social, the WBC president made it very clear he was unconcerned with anyone’s opinion.

“[In direct response to Haney’s objections] I don’t care about that, I don’t care to go into he says, who says, undisputed, not undisputed…I have no issue [calling Lopez undisputed], we have been very clear about this with every party, with every fighter. And if they want to ignore that the WBC recognizes a ‘Franchise Champion’ then that’s their problem. Whoever! Whether it’s a fan, a media or a boxer or trainer or a promoter, if they want to ignore that and remain in the classics and the dark ages. We are the organization to revolutionize the sport to bring it up to the new era, the current times.”


As always, there was no true logical explanation of why the Franchise designation should trump their long standing title. Well nothing outside of, ‘because we say so’. In the end though, Sulaimán said Haney should be a happy camper because the WBC’s made him a lot of money. And if he has to be a backseat champion for a little spell, well he should be content to do so.

“Devin Haney is a tremendous fighter, I’m very proud of him, I’m very close to him. And the WBC has been supporting Devin Haney since before he turned professional. I met him when he was an amateur, I shook hands with him when he was an amateur and we vowed to support him…through the WBC, he has been able to make millions of dollars, if you call that a problem, if you call that doing a disservice to the sport when the fighter is making millions of dollars when he steps in the ring, it’s okay! If we’re going to get blamed for that, I’ll take it.

“…[when asked to clarify two WBC champions in the same division] what is important for the fighters making the money when they get into the ring, being able to provide for their families and being able to do different things and get sponsorships and get social media.”

By: Bakari Simpson

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