AS most of the boxing world lost their minds regarding the announcement of the August 26 Mayweather-McGregor event, the WBC revealed they’re all for it.
Speaking in London, WBC President Mauricio Sulaiman explained his sanctioning body will create one of their sparkly belts for Mayweather-McGregor, which will act as a ‘commemorative trophy’ and not a championship, and claimed they will not – unlike everyone else involved – profit from the Las Vegas extravaganza.
The ‘contest’ – which pits a boxing legend against a UFC superstar with minimal boxing experience in a boxing ring – will come three weeks before Gennady Golovkin and Canelo Alvarez collide, and there are concerns that Mayweather-McGregor could sabotage interest in the highly anticipated middleweight showdown. But during an interview with Boxing News, WBC President Mauricio Sulaiman insisted the reality will be quite the opposite.
“Mayweather-McGregor will bring a lot of eyes on to boxing, which will carry on to September 16 [Golovkin-Canelo],” said Sulaiman [pictured below]. “Why? If Mayweather-McGregor is a great event, people will be very, very excited about it. The build-up, I can see all the movie stars, the sports stars there. If it’s a good event, it’s great. But let’s say it’s an embarrassing event, then people will be eager to a great event three weeks later.
“I celebrate anything that brings world attention to the sport. Boxing has been downgraded by the UFC for many years. They have been saying ‘boxing is not important’ and they have played that wrong. On August 26, boxing is going to show what it is, inside of a ring,” Sulaiman added.
Mayweather is 49-0, and McGregor, in stark contrast, is 0-0. But Sulaiman dismissed the very real fears that it would be a complete and utter mismatch.
“I have tremendous respect for McGregor for stepping in the ring with one of the greatest fighters of all time. As an athlete, as a fighter, I have absolute respect. But it’s a boxing event that will show exactly where boxing is.
“I don’t think it’s a mismatch. Their technical skills should be evaluated. Mayweather is a boxer, with his own style and technique. If he was a confrontational fighter then McGregor would have that opportunity to get into a brawl, and land those punches. But I see it more as a technical fight, and I don’t see it as a mismatch because McGregor is a very tough fighter and character. He has strength and power, he has experience in combat sport. Is it a dangerous mismatch? I’d say no. But I see dominance for Floyd Mayweather.”
The WBC have often been criticised for creating new belts and draping them all over the big events. Sulaiman conceded they do that to generate attention for the WBC, but claimed it was not an attempt to make money or further muddy the championship waters.
“We have been supportive of events that have a special interest. We provide special pieces of art for those events,” he said. “I see this as an event that will attract attention and I support it. It’s puts boxing in the spotlight for every single person on the planet. That is good for the sport.
“When we do commemorative trophies, art work, it’s to bring a special added value. We do so many [good] things outside the ring. It would be easy to just rank fighters, sanction fights and then go home. But we don’t do that, we make sure that boxing is active in people’s minds.
“It will be a huge event with enormous interest, but the WBC won’t charge sanctioning fees, or profit from it – absolutely not.”