By Luke Furman
World Boxing Council President Mauricio Sulaiman is not going to take the blame for the ongoing mess with the WBC's light heavyweight title.
The current world champion, Adonis Stevenson (29-1, 24 KOs), has not made a mandatory defense since a 2013 knockout win over Tony Bellew.
Eleider Alvarez (23-0, 11 KOs) became the mandatory challenger to the title in November 2015 with a decision win over Isaac Chilemba.
Since then, the Stevenson vs. Alvarez fight continues to get delayed as the champion faces other contenders in the division - while Alvarez was going through additional final eliminators with Lucian Bute and Jean Pascal.
Finally, the WBC had enough and sanctioned two fights. Stevenson had requested to make a voluntary defense against Badou Jack, which the WBC approved. And then the WBC ordered Alvarez to fight Oleksandr Gvozdyk (14-0, 12 KOs) in a final eliminator.
The purse bid was scheduled for Friday morning - but it never happened because two days ago Alvarez withdrew.
Alvarez and his team see no reason for going through another final eliminator, because he already won three of them.
Alvarez's promoter, Yvon Michel of GYM, expressed the frustrations of his fighter.
"Alvarez has wins in three final title eliminator and currently hold wins versus the #9, #10 and #12 WBC contenders. He has stepped aside only once, never got money for it and we can’t see the logic to have to do a fourth title eliminator. He is number one on merits! His goal is to fight against the champion," Michel stated to BoxingScene.com.
But Sulaiman says his organization is not to blame in this situation - because Michel is the lead promoter for both Stevenson and Alvarez. The sanctioning body president believes Michel could have made this fight happen.
He also says Alvarez did very little to press the issue and routinely stepped aside to allow Stevenson to make voluntary defenses.
"The Governing Council will make a decision on this in the coming days," Sulaiman told TVA Sports.
"[Alvarez] defeated Lucian Bute and Jean Pascal and all the while he was the mandatory contender, but he himself agreed to give up his mandatory position and did not force Stevenson to face him.
"[Michel] is the promoter of both [fighters] and maybe that's why he continues to delay Stevenson's mandatory defense."
It's not clear if the WBC will remove Alvarez from his mandatory position, order the winner of Stevenson-Jack to fight Gvozdyk or make the Ukrainian boxer fight someone else.
Luke Furman covers boxing for bokser.org.