By Dan Ambrose: The World Boxing Council has decided to put WBC middleweight champion Saul Canelo Alvarez’s mandatory defense against Jermall Charlo (27-0, 21 KOs) on hold, according to Michael Benson.
The WBC will reevaluate the mandatory situation for Canelo in January. Charlo has already earned the mandatory position by beating Jorge Sebastian Heiland in a WBC eliminator. The WBC then ordered Charlo to face Hugo Centeno Jr. for the interim WBC middleweight title last April. Charlo easily destroyed Centeno Jr. in 2 rounds. It’s unclear why the WBC ordered Charlo to fight for the interim WBC title when he was already the mandatory. It looked to some like the WBC is making Charlo jump through more hoops to get the title shot, as if he were to have lost the fight against Centeno, his mandatory position would have been gone. The WBC should order Charlo to face the next available contender with the winner facing Canelo.
Charlo is said to have gotten tired of waiting for the WBC to call for his mandatory title shot against Canelo Alvarez, so he’s now scheduled to fight former two-time middleweight world title challenger Willie Monroe Jr. (23-3, 6 KOs) on December 22 on Premier Boxing Champions on Fox and Fox Deportes at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York. Charlo would have taken the fight with Canelo, but the WBC has been glacially slow in ordering the mandatory. Charlo has been waiting for a year and half for his mandatory title shot, but for some reason the WBC hasn’t been calling it. Some boxing fans believe that the WBC will never call the mandatory as long as Canelo is the champion.
The move by the WBC to place Canelo’s mandatory title defense against Jermall, 28, will surely be seen by some boxing fans as a move by the sanctioning body to protect the Mexican star from a fight that he could very well lose. It’s a move that will be seen as a way for the WBC to avoid having Canelo vacate their title like he did in 2016 when they ordered him to fight Golovkin, and he didn’t want to fight him at that time. Although Canelo eventually did face GGG, he made him wait a year before he fought him in September 2017. Some boxing fans believe Canelo and his promoters at Golden Boy waited until GGG was 35-years-old before they made the fight in order to age him. When Golovkin asked for a rematch after fighting to a controversial draw against Canelo, he had to wait another 12 months before got the fight. If a third fight is take to take place before Canelo and GGG, it will likely be another 12 months before they possibly face each other in September 2019.
The WBC had recently attempted to get former WBC champion Gennady Golovkin (38-1-1, 34 KOs) to face Charlo with the idea that the winner of that fight would face Canelo, but that idea was met with no interest from Triple G and his team. They see no point in fighting Charlo just so they can get a third fight against Canelo.
It’s going to get REAL interesting to see what happens if the WBC orders Canelo to defend against Charlo. Since Golden Boy Promotions and Canelo have shown no desire to get inside the ring with Jermall, it’s very possible that the moment the WBC orders the Mexican star to defend against Charlo, he’ll be giving up the belt right away, and going in a different direction. The WBC has been burned once by Canelo when they tried to get him to fight GGG, so it’s likely that the sanctioning body will let him keep the belt without ordering him to defend it. That’s bad news for Charlo and for boxing fans, but that’s how things go. It’s not like this hasn’t happened before. WBC light heavyweight champion Adonis Stevenson has been the 175 lb champion with the WBC since 2013, and he’s only had one mandatory defense in five years. If the WBC was willing to let Stevenson go five years without forcing him to defend the belt against mandatory on a yearly basis.
Charlo’s manager Al Haymon might need to put pressure on the WBC if he wants his fighter to get a title shot against Canelo Alvarez anytime soon. It doesn’t help Charlo’s popularity that he’s not a world champion and getting a title shot due to the WBC dragging their feet when it comes to ordering the the mandatory. Charlo’s popularity will soar once he becomes a world champion, but he can’t get to the next level if the sanctioning body isn’t ordering the champion Canelo to defend his title.
Once Charlo beats Willie Monroe Jr. in December, his management is going to need to see what they can do to dig up fights. The WBC can certainly order the other contenders in their top 15 rankings to face Charlo for his interim title, but since he’s not the actual champion, it’s quite possibly they’ll ignore the order in the same way Golovkin did. There’s no upside in a contender to face a dangerous fighter like Charlo when he’s not the true champion with the WBC. That’s why it makes zero sense for the WBC to even waste time trying to order fights between Charlo and contenders. The interim WBC belt should only be given out for a short period of time before the sanctioning body finally orders the champion to defend against the interim belt holder. It’s not a good thing for a fighter to be held in limbo for years as the interim champion without the sanctioning body stepping in and ordering the fight. The way boxing is setup now, the popular champions can pretty much sit back and make voluntary defenses against whoever they want with certain sanctioning bodies. If Canelo never has to make a tough title defense against Charlo, he could hold onto the WBC belt for years until he’s an old man if he chooses to. It would be unfortunate for Charlo if the WBC doesn’t order Canelo to defend against him, but it’s very possible that they won’t.