Why Floyd Mayweather Lost His ‘Fight of the Century’ Title

On Monday the World Boxing Organization (WBO) stripped Floyd Mayweather Jr. of the welterweight title he secured after he defeated Manny Pacquiao in the May 2 “fight of the century” (which was anything but).

Floyd Mayweather

Floyd Mayweather celebrates the unanimous decision victory over Manny Pacquiao. Photograph: Harry How/Getty Images

According to WBO rules, Mayweather has two weeks to appeal this decision. Here’s everything to know about why Mayweather lost his belt:

Why was Mayweather stripped of his title?

For bureaucratic infighting, something boxing is very familiar with. By beating Pacquiao, Mayweather was recognized by three of boxing’s alphabet soup of sanctioning bodies — the WBO, the World Boxing Association (WBA) and the World Boxing Council (WBC) — as the welterweight champ.

The WBO rules, however, dictate that “no WBO Champion may hold a non-WBO Championship in a weight class that is different from the weight class of his WBO Championship.”

In other words, the WBO can’t recognize Mayweather as its welterweight champ so long as he keeps on to the super-welterweight division titles he holds from the WBA and WBC. Mayweather refused to vacate his other titles by a July 3 deadline, and pay the WBO a $200,000 sanctioning fee. So the WBO stripped Mayweather of his welterweight title.

Does this impact the outcome of Mayweather-Pacquiao fight?

Not at all. Mayweather is still the WBA and WBC welterweight champ. The fight was still a boring fight.

Does this impact all the crazy money generated by the Mayweather-Pacquiao fight?

No. The fight still set all kinds of financial records: most pay-per view subscriptions, close circuit revenue, live gate. So what’s one world title when you’ve made between $220-230 million on a fight, as Mayweather reportedly did for fighting Pacquiao?

What does Mayweather think about it?

The man Forbes recently named the highest-earning celebrity in the world hasn’t publicly weighed in on the WBO’s decision — but his reps are outraged. “It’s a complete disgrace,” Leonard Ellerbe, CEO of Mayweather Promotions, told ESPN.com’s Dan Rafael. “Floyd will decide what, or if any, actions he will take. But in the meantime he’s enjoying a couple of hundred million he made from his last outing and this has zero impact on anything he does.”

Will this impact Mayweather’s legacy?

Another no. Most sports fans couldn’t care less whether a boxer holds the WBC or WBO or ABC or WTF titles. Mayweather, 38, is a technically brilliant fighter with a 48-0 record, whose escapist style has frustrated punch-thirsty fans who tune into his megafights. He’s likely to retire after his next bout, in September.

Mayweather’s troubling domestic violence history will carry much, much more weight on people’s judgments of him than any bureaucratic snafu. This whole mess just captures the trouble with boxing: there’s no unified leadership, no organizational structure to push the sport into the future, and attract new passionate fans.

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