By Scott Shaffer
The WBC issued a press release dated May 30, 2005 in which it requested a vote from its Board of Governors to strip its junior middleweight champion, Javier Castillejo, of the organization's green belt for refusing to face newly minted official challenger Ricardo Mayorga. Castillejo had signed to fight Fernando Vargas, touching off a struggle between Vargas' promoter, Main Events, and the WBC in which Main Events asked an American regulatory body, the Association of Boxing Commissioners, to arbitrate the propriety of the WBC's actions. As reported yesterday by Boxingtalk, the WBC's president Jose Sulaiman responded in a bizarre fashion. "But it happens Mr. English that this Mexican man under the cactus, is so stupid that he can not understand what is it that you are asking to Mr. Lueckenhoff [president of the ABC]," wrote Sulaiman.
Main Events position is that, by ordering Castillejo to make a mandatory defense against Mayorga, who it currently rates in the #2 position, the WBC has violated its own rule, namely rule 1.26, which states, "The WBC shall order a final elimination bout to determine the mandatory challenger, except in situations where by vote of the majority of the WBC Board of Governors, it is determined that the number one rated challenger has the merits to be the mandatory challenger." Main Events claims an eliminator was ordered between Mayorga and Alex Garcia but Mayorga refused to participate and thus cannot become the mandatory, and with no mandatory, Castillejo is free to make a voluntary defense against Vargas. Main Events, has vowed to stage Castillejo-Vargas on August 20, 2005 whether or not a title is at stake.
The WBC was recently brought to the brink of bankruptcy for stealing its world title from Graciano Rocchigianni to give it to Roy Jones. Although it survived by entering into a million-dollar settlement with Rocchigianni, the Mexico-based sanctioning body is risking a major lawsuit once again. Main Events attorney Patrick English said he intends to pursue the arbitration with the ABC but would not rule out escalating the matter into a full-blown federal lawsuit.
On Tuesday, Main Events received a fax from WBC lawyer Robert Lenhardt advising that Castillejo had indeed been stripped of his title, so Castillejo-Vargas would not be a WBC title fight. Main Events fired off a quick response to the WBC. Following is the text of a letter written by English to the WBC:
Dear Mr. Lenhardt:
I am in receipt of your facsimile of a few minutes ago. We find it particularly unfortunate that the WBC would take action to strip Javier Castillejo while a request for arbitration is pending. It leads to the conclusion that some in the WBC do not want this matter reviewed or examined, either internally or externally. In a prior letter I requested that, as a matter of elementary fairness, our side of the story be sent to the members of the Board of Governors who were to vote on this matter. To be specific, did you or anyone else at the WBC transmit to the Board of Governors our letters of April 1, April 18, the arbitration request of May 17, my response to Mr. Sulaiman's letter injecting ethnicity into this matter, or our response to the WBC position statement which was provided to you on Friday. I would suggest that if this was not done (and we have every reason to believe that it was not) it would confirm that certain people in the WBC do not wish this matter considered in a fair manner but rather prefer a predetermined rubberstamp result.
Whether you agree with the conclusion in the preceding paragraph or not, please give me the courtesy of confirming whether or not my earlier request was honored and whether the items specified herein were transmitted to the Board of Governors so that they could at least evaluate Fernando Vargas' position.
Very truly yours,
Patrick C. English
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