By Jake Donovan
The best way to deal with a problem is to just meet it head on.
That is precisely the course of action that Ajose Olusegun and his handlers plan to take in efforts to get the undefeated Nigerian his long overdue title shot.
The WBC Convention hosts its annual convention in Las Vegas from December 11 through December 17. It’s commonplace for several of the organizations current recognized champs to attend, as evidenced by recent press releases from the Mexico-based sanctioning body announcing the guest list.
Among the names not on the list but whom plan to be in attendance is Olusegun himself, as well as his handlers including promoter Lou DiBella. Their goal in mind is to ensure that their voices are heard, and not that their pleas are limited to the occasional interview.
“Ajose beat Chebah in a sensational fight and can be a force at 140. He can beat anyone in the division including Amir Khan,” insists DiBella. “I’m bringing Ajose to the WBC convention to make the plea together.”
The fight with Chebah – which aired live on Showtime’s ‘Shobox’ series and played to immediate overwhelming buzz - was to determine next in line for the 140 lb. title won by Erik Morales in his own thriller, a 10th round stoppage over late replacement Pablo Cano. The moment was suggested as Morales becoming the first Mexican in boxing history to win titles in four weight classes.
Many took issue with the claim, on the strength of the fourth divisional belt being of the vacant variety, and coming against a late replacement when plenty of other opponents not only ranked higher, but also expressed their willingness to step in against the future Hall of Famer.
The business side of the bout itself is not something that is lost on DiBella. What he wants at this point, though, is for Morales to acknowledge the fact that in the wake of being handed a title – or at least the title shot – it’s now his obligation to properly defend.
“It was a bulls*it fight that got Morales the vacant title. You’re supposed to fight the mandatory after winning a vacant title. It’s in the WBC rules and when there’s a mandatory in place.”
The WBC has instead considered allowing Morales to take an optional defense, which has been met with much criticism. The biggest concern among skeptics is the fact that he plans to drop down to 135 to vie for a title there, since lightweight is the one division between 122 and 140 lb. in which he has never captured a major title.
All of that is good and well, but the working theory now is, why prolong the inevitable if Morales’ intention is to just dump the alphabet belt after his lightweight challenge without ever defending against his mandatory challenger.
Furthermore, why make Olusegun fight an elimination bout with the promise of getting Morales next, when there was never such an intention of following through?
These are the questions that his handlers hope to hear up close and personal, rather than waiting out e-mail and phone responses with non-committal responses.
“How do you give a guy a bullshit title, and then give him an optional defense,” DiBella questions. “Look, I love Erik Morales. He’s an incredible fighter and a future first ballot Hall of Famer. But he’s a shadow of what he once was and can’t beat Ajose.
“I recognize the fact that Erik won’t be put in a fight that he can’t win. Ajose isn’t a household name. I believe he’ll only fight 140 once more. So why go through with all of this? Either follow the rules and give my kid his rightfully earned title shot, or just give up the title now and give everyone the opportunity they deserve. It makes no sense to put everyone on standby if you never intend to fight him or even return to the division.”
Jake Donovan is the Managing Editor of Boxingscene.com. Follow Jake on Twitter at twitter.com/JakeNDaBox or submit questions/comments to [email protected]