Governing bodies give Mayweather special treatment
For almost two and a half years, the WBC has broken its rules when it comes to Floyd Mayweather Jr., allowing him to simultaneously hold its welterweight world title and the junior middleweight title of the equally rule-ignoring WBA.
No surprise there, since the WBC likes to sanction fighters for cursing in post-fight interviews [Chris Arreola] or making a remark perceived as racist [Adrien Broner], yet it took no action whatsoever when Mayweather was incarcerated on a domestic abuse conviction. The WBC's hypocrisy is legendary.
In any event, Mayweather reclaimed the WBC welterweight belt by knocking out Victor Ortiz in September 2011. In his next fight, Mayweather outpointed Miguel Cotto to win the WBA's junior middleweight belt in May 2012.
At that point, based on the rules (which I am not saying I necessarily agree with), both organizations were obligated to make Mayweather pick one belt or the other. It's against the rules of both organizations for a fighter to hold belts in multiple divisions.
Many times over the years a fighter has changed divisions and won another title only to be forced to make a decision on which one to keep within a short period of time, usually two weeks.
But not Mayweather. Now I don't blame him, because it's the organizations that broke the rules, not Mayweather.
When Mayweather dropped back down to welterweight after the Cotto fight to defend the WBC welterweight title against Robert Guerrero in May 2013, the WBA just let him keep his junior middleweight belt. Why not? After all, that organization already had other multiple champions in the same division, so what's one more, right?
In his next fight, Mayweather schooled Canelo Alvarez to unify the WBC and WBA junior middleweight titles. Alvarez had entered the fight with the WBC belt and secondary WBA belt of the main title Mayweather already owned.
The WBC continued to allow Mayweather to also hold the welterweight belt, in clear violation of the rules it had subjected other fighters to over the years in terms of having to decide which belt to hold.
And when Mayweather beat Marcos Maidana to unify the WBC and WBA welterweight titles in May, he laid claim to unified titles in two weight classes, a historical achievement made possible by the organizations ignoring their own rules.
That brings us to Mayweather's rematch with Maidana on Sept. 13 at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas.
The WBC announced on Wednesday that it will allow Mayweather to defend his titles in both weight classes against Maidana - and undoubtedly collect a sweet sanctioning fee for the privilege. If Maidana wins, the WBC will recognize him as its titleholder in both weight classes. The WBA has made no announcement, but you can bet it will also follow the money.
It's not the first time this unusual allowance has happened. In 1988, the WBC allowed Sugar Ray Leonard to challenge Donny Lalonde for its light heavyweight title as well as for the WBC's vacant (and newly created) super middleweight title, but as weak as that instance was, at least the farce didn't carry on for more than two years, because Leonard vacated the light heavyweight title shortly thereafter.
This article first appeared on ESPN.com