Is WBA prejudiced?

SPORTING CHANCE - Joaquin M. Henson - The Philippine Star

Now that the recess is over, the WBA has refused to reinstate Manny Pacquiao as its welterweight champion under the “supercategory. So what was the point of the recess in the first place? Because of the pandemic, Pacquiao was unable to stake his crown since wresting it from Keith Thurman in Las Vegas in July 2019. Last January, the WBA elevated “regularchampion Yordenis Ugas of Cuba to the “superclass with Pacquiao declared as “supertitleholder in recess.

The WBA never bothered to explain to Pacquiao what were the terms of reinstatement or the conditions of being in recess. A month ago, MP Promotions head Sean Gibbons met WBA president Gilberto Jesus Mendoza over dinner in Las Vegas and they talked about Pacquiaos reinstatement. In a video message to Pacquiao, Mendoza said, “You got my word, well work it out.” But a few days ago, Mendoza was quoted as saying “the regulations do not allow to move Pacquiao from ‘champion in recessto ‘super champion.’” So where does that leave Pacquiao? A champion in recess forever or until he quits the fight game?

GAB chairman Baham Mitra has questioned the WBA for proclaiming Pacquiao a champion in recess. Gibbons said Pacquiaos legal team is considering to file a case against the WBA. It could be for abuse of authority, damaging Pacquiaos reputation and prejudicial treatment. Thurman was never placed in recess when as super WBA welterweight champion, he went 22 months without a fight or title defense. When Pacquiao was declared champion in recess, he had been out of action for 17 months. Ugas was promoted from “regularto “superstatus without even fighting for it. “You win or lose a title in the ring, not in the boardroom or some bathroom in Panama,” said Gibbons. “I respect Ugas, hes a nice guy but its embarrassing for him to become a ‘superchampion without earning it in the ring. I think the ‘superchampionship should be returned to its rightful owner, someone who fought for it. Its a disgrace that the WBA treats the senator this way. For the record, the WBA earned $400,000 from the senators last two fights – $150,000 from the (Adrien) Broner fight and $250,000 from the Thurman fight. Personally, Im outraged. How can the WBA do this to someone who has done so much for the sport all over the world, a living legend?”

To illustrate how the WBA operates, it must be pointed out that the governing body recognizes 47 world champions in 17 weight divisions – 16 super, 17 regular, 12 gold and two in recess. Clearly, the overriding policy is the more world champions, the more world title fights, the more sanctioning fees to collect. The “superchampion is supposed to be a fighter who holds the WBA title and another by the WBC, IBF or WBO. He could also be a WBA beltholder with at least five defenses. The “regularchampion is recognized only by the WBA with less than five defenses. The gold champion is an “important prospectwho has won a title eliminator or is next in line for a title shot. The distinctions are actually meaningless and serve the purpose of only justifying different classes of world champions. The WBA has commercialized boxing into a state of confusion, disarray and comedy. What the WBA has done to the sport isnt just a disservice but its also criminal.

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