By Rick Reeno
LAS VEGAS - Sampson Lewkowicz, adviser to retired former two-division world champion Sergio Martinez, has come out in defense of the World Boxing Council and their President Mauricio Sulaiman.
Earlier this week, the WBC derecognized Miguel Cotto as their middleweight champion.
Cotto and the sanctioning body were unable to reach an agreement on the sanctioning fee for this Saturday's fight, when the Puerto Rican star takes on Mexico's Saul "Canelo" Alvarez at the Mandalay Bay.
As part of the agreement with the WBC, Cotto was obligated to pay mandatory challenger Gennady "GGG" Golovkin a step-aside fee of $800,000. While Cotto agreed to pay the step-aside, he refused to meet the WBC's demand of $300,000 to sanction the fight with Canelo. He offered $125,000 - which the WBC rejected.
"I don't need a belt to fight Canelo. I keep $1.1 million in my banking account, it's better for me," Cotto said.
"We're having so much problems right now, in these days, with boxing organizations, because they make too many champions in one division. And then every guy believes they have the right to face the champion right now, like Golovkin, and I have to pay him $800,000 bucks just to move away to make the fight with Canelo. It's not fair for me. It's not fair to the boxing. It's not fair for us as the boxer and it's not fair for the fans."
Cotto captured the title last June after stopping Martinez. Before the contest could be made, Martinez was forced to pay mandatory challenger Marco Antonio Rubio a step-aside fee.
"I was very disappointed to read the words from Miguel Cotto. Last year, Cotto gave up a $10 million dollar offer to fight Canelo and instead he wanted to face Martinez for the WBC title. Now he says the WBC title is not important. Martinez always paid the WBC's sanctioning fee of 3%, because he felt it was an honor to wear the green belt," Lewkowicz said.
"He's complaining about paying Golovkin a step-aside fee, but that has nothing to do with the WBC. That agreement is between his team and Golovkin's team. We had to do the same to fight him last year. We paid a step-aside fee to make Rubio move away and I didn't see any complaints from Cotto. The WBC bent over backwards to put him in position to fight Martinez. For many years Martinez always felt Cotto was a diva and this situation with his unnecessary attack on the WBC is proof of that."