Pacquiao loses ‘welter’ title
Not even the stripping of Manny Pacquiao as World Boxing Association (WBA) welterweight titleholder will diminish the Filipino icon’s solid reputation, the eight-division champion’s camp said yesterday.
“There are certain fighters that need no belts and Senator Pacquiao is one of the very few,” Sean Gibbons, who heads the Pacquiao-owned MP Promotions moments after the WBA’s decision to relegate the fighting lawmaker to the level of “Champion in Recess.”
Citing WBA rules, the Venezuela-based boxing body said Pacquiao’s inactivity cost him the WBA 147-lb crown.
Pacquiao, 42, failed to make a defense of the WBA super title he won from Keith Thurman in July 2019 owing to the coronavirus pandemic.
The WBA said that the boxing body could strip a champion even if the reason is beyond his control aside from legal and medical.
Cuban Yordenis Ugas, the regular champion in the 147-lb class, has taken over Pacquiao’s place since he has been relatively been more active, having just fought last September in Los Angeles.
The WBA’s Championship Committee cited the particular rule C14 and C22-24 as reasons behind the decision to elevate the status of Ugas and demote Pacquiao.
The focus now is to do the Garcia fight.
“The WBA, according to its rule C.14, dictates that champions and their teams are required to know the WBA rules and regulations. Rule C.22-24 states that when a champion is unable to defend the belt for medical, legal or other reasons beyond his control, he may be named champion in recess. The medical reasons must be documented before the WBA Medical Committee, while the legal reasons must be evidenced before the legal director and the Championships Committee,” the WBA said.
Pacquiao is aiming to return to the ring on 1 May with lightweight hotshot Ryan Garcia, 22, as the likely foe.
Gibbons insists Pacquiao remains a major draw and his stripping won’t have any effect on the fight being arranged for him in May.
“The focus now is to do the Garcia fight,” Gibbons said.
Gibbons swears the WBA’s move was rather insensitive given the pandemic.
Still, Pacquiao is not going to lose sleep over the WBA’s drastic action.
“Even if the Senator fights without a title at stake, fans are still going to see him fight,” added Gibbons, stressing Pacquiao has grown so big that the boxer himself is bigger than the title he carries.
Pacquiao had actually won the regular WBA title by stopping Argentine Lucas Matthysse in Kuala Lumpur in 2018 and defended it by besting Adrien Broner in Las Vegas in January 2019.
The victory over Thurman was for the WBA’s super championship and it’s this same title that WBA’s big bosses have taken away from Pacquiao.