by David P. Greisman
The winner of this Saturday’s junior-welterweight unification bout between Amir Khan and Danny Garcia will have to vacate one of his two world titles, according to World Boxing Council President José Sulaimán.
Khan-Garcia will be for the WBC and WBA belts, though the unification won’t last for long.
That’s because the World Boxing Council hasn’t recently allowed for its world title to remain unified with other sanctioning body belts, though.
Just last month, 105-pound titleholder Kazuto Ioka defeated Akira Yaegashi, adding Yaegashi’s WBA title to his own WBC belt. Ioka and Yaegashi had been told beforehand that the winner would need to relinquish one of the titles. Ioka opted to keep the WBA belt and ditch the WBC.
And in another noteworthy instance three years ago, Timothy Bradley was told he’d have to pick between his WBC title and the WBO belt he’d just won from Kendall Holt. Bradley held onto the WBO belt and vacated the WBC.
The aforementioned bouts came with the WBC’s blessing in advance. The news of another belt other than their own being at stake for this weekend’s HBO headliner in Las Vegas was, well, news to the WBC’s leadership.
“It is a real surprise to know … that the WBA title is involved,” Sulaimán told BoxingScene.com via email Thursday night. “The WBC will accept only the WBC. Whoever doesn’t want it, the title is vacant.”
Garcia is the WBC’s titleholder, having won that vacant belt in March by defeating Erik Morales. The fight between Khan and Garcia has been marketed as being solely for the WBC belt.
Earlier this week, however, the World Boxing Association made official what had previously been rumored — the WBA returned its junior welterweight title to Khan, who had lost that belt against Lamont Peterson in December. Peterson tested positive for synthetic testosterone ahead of a since-canceled May rematch with Khan.
Peterson’s team admitted to using the substance for what it said was medical purposes ahead of the first Khan clash, which apparently was enough reason for the WBA to take the title from Peterson and give it back to Khan. The WBA also lists Marcos Maidana as its “regular” 140-pound titleholder.
David P. Greisman is a member of the Boxing Writers Association of America. Follow David on Twitter @fightingwords2 or send questions/comments via email at [email protected]