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Miguel Cotto stripped of WBC middleweight title

Just a few days ahead of his huge matchup with Canelo Alvarez, the WBC has stripped Miguel Cotto of their middleweight title.

Noah K. Murray-USA TODAY Sports

In one of the stranger stories in combat sports this week, the WBC has decided to strip Miguel Cotto of their middleweight belt just a few days before he was scheduled to defend it in one of the biggest pay-per-views of the year. As usual, the issue comes down to money, but there are a lot of different things at play here that make the situation quite interesting.

First of all, here's a portion of the WBC's press release:

"After several weeks of communications, countless attempts and good faith time extensions trying to preserve the fight as a WBC World Championship, Miguel Cotto and his promotion did not agree to comply with the WBC Rules & Regulations, while Saúl Alvarez has agreed to do so. Accordingly, the WBC must rule on the matter prior to the fight.

The WBC hereby announces that effective immediately has withdrawn recognition of Miguel Cotto as WBC World Middleweight Champion. If Saul "Canelo" Alvarez wins the fight against Cotto, he will be recognized as the WBC middleweight world champion."


"The WBC stands by its honorability and will not participate in the abuse of power and greediness, which has taken our boxing world to regrettable actions from different parties. The WBC wishes the promotion great success and we are satisfied that this great fight for boxing will be enjoyed by millions of fans around the world."

Not complying with the WBC rules and regulations could mean a lot of things, but Lance Pugmire of the LA Times quickly provided some context:

Then ESPN's Dan Rafael chimed in with a lot of illuminating info, including a fairly shocking revelation:

It's pretty crazy that Gennady Golovkin was paid $800,000 to allow these two to fight though. Golovkin was the mandatory challenger to Cotto's title because he holds an Interim WBC middleweight title, so he was technically supposed to fight Cotto next. Hence the payment to allow this fight to go forward.

Some might see this as another way for Cotto to avoid a fight with Golovkin, regardless of the outcome on Saturday. Cotto reportedly told the WBC that he would fight GGG if he beat Canelo, but it has long been thought that he wants no part of his much bigger foe.

Rafael also noted that the 800k was paltry compared to payoffs in the past:

So basically, here's what it came down to - Canelo paid the sanctioning fee, so he can win the belt on Saturday. Cotto, who won the belt last June by stopping Sergio Martinez, didn't pay the fee, so he was stripped and can't win the belt.

Welcome to the world of boxing, folks.

Cotto (40-4, 33 KO) and Alvarez (45-1-1, 32 KO) face off at the Mandalay Bay in Vegas on Saturday night, with the fight expected to be one of the biggest PPV sellers of the year.

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