Andre Ward has done everything asked of him by the boxing establishment but is being punished anyway, as the WBC has stripped him of their version of the super middleweight world title.
Never mind that the Oakland native beat the best available fighters to earn the belt, or that no sane fan or scribe of the sweet science would consider anyone but Ward (26-0, 14 KOs) the 168-pound king the way he’s cleaned out the division the past three years.
But according to longtime WBC president Jose Sulaiman, Ward will no longer be recognized as the organization’s champion because a right shoulder injury has kept him on the shelf for the past seven months, preventing him from defending the strap.
“I’m just going to keep it short and sweet,” Ward told CSNBayArea.com. “I disagree with it. I don’t think it’s right, and my team will be dealing with it.”
A case can be made for a sanctioning body to force its titleholder to vacate his trinket due to inactivity. However, while Ward has to give up his belt, the WBC has turned a blind eye for Floyd Mayweather, who has not defended his welterweight title in 19 months—a full year longer than Ward’s reign.
And yet, Mayweather has been able to delay his first defense with impunity until May 4, when he faces Gilroy’s Robert Guerrero in a fight that will net Mayweather a minimum $30 million—and the WBC a reported three percent of that figure ($900,000) in sanctioning fees.
Per World Boxing News, the vacant title will go to the winner of the June 8 clash between Marco Antonio Periban (20-0, 13 KOs) and Sakio Bika (31-5-2, 21 KOs)—the latter of whom Ward already outclassed via unanimous decision at Oracle Arena in 2010.
In the meantime, the WBC has granted Ward “champion emeritus” status, which gives him the power to receive an immediate title shot when he asks for one. Ward’s promoter, Dan Goossen, is looking at an August return for “S.O.G.,” but no specific names have appeared between the crosshairs.
“The shoulder’s good. I’m ahead of schedule. I’m just trying to be patient, but it’s good for me to be around the game right now,” said Ward, who still possesses the WBA and Ring Magazine titles. “It keeps my blood going.”
DONAIRE GOING UNDER THE KNIFE
Nonito Donaire (31-2, 20 KOs) informed CSNBayArea.com that he would undergo surgery to repair a torn ligament in his right shoulder following his unanimous decision loss to Guillermo Rigondeaux (12-0, 8 KOs) for the junior featherweight world title last Saturday.
[RELATED: Rigondeaux gets off canvas to upset Donaire]
“It hasn’t been feeling good for a while, so I’m going to get surgery on it, take some time off to be with Rachel and the baby, and then get back in the ring after that,” said Donaire, whose wife will give birth on July 21 to their first child, a boy they plan to name Jarel.
When Donaire returns, it will be as a full-fledged 126-pound featherweight, as he had trouble meeting 122 pounds. His promoter, Top Rank CEO Bob Arum, said that Donaire would be targeting a September fight in Puerto Rico against former titlist Juan Manuel Lopez.
PACQUIAO TO ASIA FOR OCTOBER RETURN
Arum also revealed that he plans to finalize an opponent for former pound-for-pound king Manny Pacquiao (54-5-2, 38 KOs) sometime next week, with the bout occurring at either Singapore’s Marina Bay Sands or The Venetian in Macau.
“We’re looking at early October now,” Arum told CSNBayArea.com when asked for the likely date.
The last two men to officially beat Pacquiao, Juan Manuel Marquez (55-6-1, 40 KOs) and Timothy Bradley (30-0, 12 KOs), are the front-runners to land the clash. In recent days, however, Marquez and Bradley have expressed interest in fighting each other instead.
49ERS’ GORE PICKS TROUT OVER CANELO
49ers all-time leading rusher and avid boxing fan Frank Gore thinks slick southpaw Austin “No Doubt” Trout (26-0, 14 KOs) has the goods to shock Mexican rising star Saul “Canelo” Alvarez (41-0-1, 30 KOs) on Saturday in front of a sold-out San Antonio Alamodome (10 p.m. PT/ET).
“I like Trout in that fight,” Gore said. “Tough style to fight. He’s got some skills and I don’t know if Canelo’s going to catch him.”
This writer also picked Trout, but he must clearly win a wide decision to even have a chance with a heavily pro-Canelo crowd estimated at over 30,000 likely influencing the judges with every scream. Remember, this is the place where Julio Cesar Chavez Sr. was somehow awarded a draw with Pernell Whitaker in one of the most outlandish robberies of the 20th century.
LAMONAKIS WANTS LOSS REVERSED
In her first fight back from a six-year hiatus, Pacifica heavyweight Martha Salazar (12-4, 3 KOs) defeated Sonya Lamonakis (7-1-2, 1 KO) by unanimous decision at Sacramento’s Lions Gate Conference Center last Saturday, but the New Yorker has petitioned for the California commission to strike the score from the books.
Lamonakis, considered by many the top female heavyweight in the world, contended that the result should be changed to a no-contest because unbeknownst to her, they ended up fighting three-minute rounds instead of the standard two minutes for women’s bouts.
In a rematch of their technical draw last November, Sacramento junior featherweight John Abella (4-0-1, 2 KOs) won a unanimous decision over Salvador Cifuentes (1-5-1) in the main event.
For all the results from Sacramento and other local boxing news, check out my blog at Norcalboxing.net.