The Franchise Champion is a WBC Nightmare!
In June, the WBC opened up a major can of worms by naming Saul “Canelo” Alvarez as the first ever Franchise champion. Right from the start, the new designation has caused anger and confusion.
To begin, the Franchise “champion” is not actually a champion. They will hold no belt and cannot lose the status even in the event that they are defeated in the ring. In addition to the tag being “nontransferable,” the Franchise champion does not have to face any mandatory challengers.
MORE POLITICS, MORE PROBLEMS
Even within the WBC rankings the new title has done nothing but cause bewilderment and discombobulation. For example, who is the top dog at middleweight in the eyes of the WBC? Jermall Charlo who is the WBC world middleweight champion or Canelo who is the Franchise champion?
With essentially two champions in the division, how do we arrive at one undisputed champion?
Now the problem has been created at lightweight as well with unified champion Vasiliy Lomachenko being given the “designation” and Devin Haney being elevated to champion.
One would think that the matter could be quickly cleared up by speaking with the president of the WBC, Mauricio Sulaiman. Surely, the head honcho of the organization has a firm grasp on this concept title that his organization dreamed up. Well, if you thought that, you would be wrong. Not even Sulaiman stood a chance in explaining this farcical new invention!
In a recent interview, conducted by Boxing Social, the WBC bigwig tried his best to make the Franchise championship sound like a good thing.
In the end, he failed miserably!
Not only could he not justify why it was needed, or wanted, Sulaiman had to admit that even he was confused by how the designation worked. In a particularly telling moment, when directly asked how this is not an insult to other WBC champions Sulaiman opted to completely sidestep the question.
“The Franchise, it’s not a new championship or title, it’s a designation. So there is no new belt there is no new situation, it’s a nontransferable designation to allow a boxer of a specific characteristics to perform and grow the industry of the sport.
“I understand the confusion. I understand someone who might question it. I’m just asking everyone to give just a little patience and let this flow. […] I’m going to be blunt. I am confused at times and I don’t like to stand or sit around without a response to something.”
LEAVE WELL ENOUGH ALONE!!
In fact, the entire interview was one long frustrating exercise in evasive and extremely hallow political answers. Sulaiman pleaded for the boxing fans to be patient and let the matter take its own natural course. He tried to compare the jarring effect of the Franchise Champion to when instant replay was utilized and same day weigh-ins were discontinued.
The trouble with these examples though, is there was a clear reason why those changes were made. Not only was there a clear reason, there was an immediate benefit derived from those alterations. Sure, the changes took some getting used but the purpose was transparent and not dripping with obvious political favoritism. Nothing like that is present here. The Franchise Champion only dilutes the division and prevents clarity.
“We are not concerned about the statistics, we’re not concerned about the books, we’re concerned about the best fights. We want to give the fans the best fights in the ring.
“So if the concern is that, ‘oh my god, there is never going to be an undisputed champion’ I put that in a second tier with much more importance of giving today the best fights that are possible with the best fighters.”
Furthermore, why should boxing fans be patient with something they don’t want when the WBC doesn’t even know how it works? Common logic would say that the WBC should have kept this invention to themselves until at least they knew what they were doing.
Instead, like Dr. Frankenstein, they have created a monster and released it upon the public simply because they could. Hopefully, if we gather up enough pitch forks and torches, this nonsensical the Franchise Champion status can be run out of town!
By: Bakari Simpson