Floyd Mayweather Jr. finally found an opponent he couldn’t beat: An alphabet soup sanctioning body. Mayweather was stripped on Monday of the World Boxing Organization (WBO) welterweight title he won in his super fight against Manny Pacquiao on May 2 after Mayweather failed to pay the $200,000 in sanctioning fees and also vacate his WBA/WBC junior middleweight titles, at the WBO’s request.
Mayweather earned around $220 million for the bout to improve to 48-0 but refused to comply with the WBO’s demands. As a result of Mayweather being stripped, Timothy Bradley will be elevated from interim champion to regular champion and Canarsie resident and former U.S. Olympian Sadam Ali (22-0, 13 knockouts) has been ordered as Bradley’s next mandatory opponent.
That Mayweather didn’t pay the fees isn’t a surprise. The pound-for-pound king had vowed to give up all the titles he won after his victory over Pacquiao, saying it was time for the younger fighters to vie for the trinkets.
“I don’t know if it will be Monday [May 4] or maybe a couple weeks,” Mayweather said in the news conference after the May 2 bout with Pacquiao of releasing his titles, which also include three welterweight belts.
“I’ll talk to my team and see what we need to do. Other fighters need a chance. Give other fighters a chance. I’m not greedy. I’m a world champion in two different weight classes. It’s time to let other fighters fight for the belt.”
Based on Mayweather’s comments after the Pacquiao bout, the WBO ordered that Bradley and Jessie Vargas fight for the vacant WBO title on June 27. Bradley won a decision. Following communication with Mayweather lawyer, John Hornewer, the WBO granted Mayweather more time to pay the sanctioning fees and give up his junior middleweight titles, since the WBO (and any other sanctioning body) doesn’t allow its champions to hold titles in multiple weight classes.
When the cutoff date of last Friday came and went, the WBO after a meeting of its championship committee on Monday said it had to strip Mayweather to keep the welterweight division from becoming idle. Mayweather has until July 20 to formally appeal the decision. The WBO announced the decision in an oddly worded letter on its website that explained the rationale for the move.
With its jargon of interim and regular titles, the missive should bolster the argument for doing away with sanctioning bodies altogether. But since it’s Mayweather- who has said he plans to retire after a fight in September- it matters.
A spokesperson for Mayweather didn’t immediately return an email for comment. Ali, a 2008 U.S. Olympian, has fought well as the stakes have risen in his career, stopping Luis Carlos Abregu in the ninth round in November and winning a clear decision against Francisco Santana on April 25 at Madison Square Garden on the undercard of Wladimir Klitschko’s win against Bryant Jennings.