The Bloated Entitlement of a Bloated WBC President
(Originally Publish @ Boxing.com)
When WBC president for Life, Jose Sulaiman passed away a few years back, we lost his unintentionally humorous and frequently vexing Gancho al Higaro (Hook to the Liver) column. His son and new WBC president, Mauricio, however, has been doing fine filling that void in our lives with his similarly vexing “12th Round” column.
In the most recent edition, Sulaiman dove into tumultuous waters to try and save Canelo Alvarez from drowning in the mess created by his positive clenbuterol tests in February. It was a cringe-worthy plea of innocence on Alvarez’s behalf, an insistence that he “cannot be found guilty of doping” in a clear effort to curry favor with a jilted cash cow who had walked away from the WBC pasture over perceived unfair treatment during the rush to put together a Golovkin fight.
Now, mind you, this clenbuterol issue would not be an issue if the WBC had forced their supposed year-round random WBC Clean Boxing Program obligations on Canelo, their no. 2 ranked middleweight.
After all, each ranked WBC fighter is supposed to adhere to the sanctioning body’s testing protocol or be stripped of their ranking. Unless, of course, the WBC is trying to win back the love and support of one particular red-headed money maker. Mandated random testing from the WBC would’ve prevented this debacle by either catching this issue way beforehand or by making Alvarez much more conscious of what he puts into his body (either intentionally or unintentionally).
In the body of this Sulaiman plea for Canelo, there’s this especially noteworthy bit of nonsense that deserves a special award for dumb boxing propaganda:
“Doping in boxing appears to be rare. Boxers are honorable and mindful athletes that understand the sport and its dangers and risks and are sensible to what could happen to their opponents. They pray before the fight begging for both to end the fight healthy and end the fight embracing the opponent and recognizing their performance.”
Wow. All written with a straight face, I assure you.
Unless you’re Mexican, from Mexico, guys like the Sulaimans are hard to classify. You wouldn’t really call them con men and you also couldn’t call them upstanding citizens/businessmen, either. They’re the types of creatures born of cultures where there is a permanent class structure (and the US is getting there). They are right because they are powerful and they are entitled to righteousness because of their position in society—even if they’re wrong. In a class-divided culture, being an “elite” is almost like being royalty.
After 18 years living in Mexico, I’ve dealt a lot with these types of people. The Sulaimans are like the bloated, pompous doctors who will order an expensive gallbladder surgery if you come to them with an upset stomach—and then will get legitimately offended when you question why no tests were done to determine whether you really needed surgery. Of course they were after your money, looking to take advantage of you…but you had no right to deny them that money and you sure as hell had no right to doubt their integrity.
For me, this attitude is the WBC presidency in a nutshell. If you cornered Mauricio (and Jose before him) and blasted him with hard-hitting questions about the strange things that often go on with the WBC, he will sincerely and unflinchingly defend his honor and the honor of his organization—and he will mean it—because, as someone in his position, he’s entitled to do whatever he does. And he will go on and on about honor and integrity with such a small degree of self-awareness that you wonder whether he’s even a sane, rational human being.
This is not to single out the WBC. All of the major sanctioning bodies are awful and run by the same kinds of bloated, class-entitled wannabe autocrats (It’s interesting to note that three of the four major sanctioning bodies are based in Latin America, where classism is built into the culture). It’s just that the WBC and the Sulaimans have been especially good at being bad while professing to be good.
Interestingly enough, just from my personal experience, the Mexico City-based WBC generally has the support of the Mexican people and is considered about as reasonably honest as any other major company or organization. The Sulaimans’ “Mexico First” plays to patriotism (ala certain American politicians) keep public opinion on their side and, more importantly, allow for the shenanigans to keep going on without any fear of repercussion from the home country hosts. There’s also the very class-conscious Mexican resignation and assumption that all of these elites will cheat and steal, because it is their right and privilege to do so.
In this particular case of Sulaiman, Canelo, and the ultimately failed efforts to keep the Cinco de Mayo fight date, the WBC has once again shown its true self. This is all about “what’s right,” until “what’s right” stands in the way of business. Then, business becomes “what’s right”—whether it’s right or not.