By Ronnie Nathanielsz
World Boxing Council president Don Jose Sulaiman has clarified the position of the WBC with regard to the on-going discussions on whether Filipino ring idol and national treasure Manny Pacquiao is a four-division or five-division world champion.
In an overseas telephone conversation with Viva Sports/Manila Standard Today, the WBC president despite praising Pacquiao as the greatest fighter in the world today following his ninth round clinical destruction of lightweight champion David Diaz said he doesn’t believe Pacquiao is a five-division champion.
That’s because Sulaiman said “when Pacquiao beat (Marco Antonio” Barrera, Barrera was not a champion I believe.” He made it clear that in their November 2003 battle at the Alamadome in San Antonio, Texas where Pacquiao annihilated Barrera in eleven rounds “they did not fight for the title.”
HBO in a write-up on Barrera which was updated in October 2007 said that “despite winning the WBC featherweight crown from (Erik) Morales, Barrera refused the belt, choosing to set an example for other world-class fighters who didn’t need a sanctioning body to declare them as champion.”
The article went on, “one important honor that Barrera did receive after the win over Morales (on June 22, 2002) was the prestigious Ring featherweight title belt, which honored Marco as the people’s champion..
HBO added that “in defense of that belt, Barrera scored wins over well-regarded former champions Johnny Tapia (W12) and Kevin Kelley (TKO 4) in November 2002 and April of 2003 respectively, adding to his prestige as the best 126-pounder in the world.”