Manny Pacquiao | Will PacMan Remain Title-less the Rest of His Career?Written by Lee Cleveland
According to the latest rumors, Manny Pacquiao will face Juan Manuel Marquez on December 8.
If the reports are accurate, Manny Pacquiao vs Juan Manuel Marquez IV will be contested at a catchweight, somewhere in between 142-145 lbs and the winner will receive a WBC Diamond Belt.
If the legends meet again later this year for the umpteenth time, no real and legitimate title or belt will be at stake.
Juan Manuel Marquez is the WBO Jr Welterweight Champion so if the bout is contested above the jr welterweight limit of 140 lbs, Marquez's title will not be on the line.
Secondly, the WBC Diamond Belt is nothing more than a very elegant, expensive 'trophy.' Its not a belt one can defend. A fighter in possession of a Diamond Belt can lose 20 bouts in a row without losing the belt.
Established in September 2009, the WBC Diamond Belt is an honorary championship distinction that symbolizes the organization's respect for and appreciation of the combatants vying for it. The belt isn't reflective of a major title and cannot be defended.
Although some fans think it's yet another addition to a seemingly endless list of belts, titles and championship distinctions, the WBC Diamond Belt is merely an exclusive prize awarded to the winner of a historic fight between two high-profile boxers.
Former welterweight champion Manny Pacquiao became the first winner of a WBC Diamond Belt when he defeated Miguel Cotto on November 14, 2009. Also, in March 2011, current lineal middleweight champion Sergio Martinez was awarded a WBC Diamond Belt after defeating previously unbeaten Sergiy Dzinziruk. And earlier this year, Floyd Mayweather was awarded a Diamond Belt after defeating Miguel Cotto.
WBC President Jose Sulaiman told BoxingScene prior to Mayweather vs Cotto in May:
"These elite boxers will fight for the Diamond title. The promoters asked us for permission to [have them] fight for this belt and the answer is yes, because it makes the fight even more special."
The green and gold belt is believed to be made with an 18 carat gold plate, 598 diamonds, 196 emeralds, rubies and 150 6 Swarovski gemstones and is worth roughly $50,000 USD (38,074.9 Euro).
Manny Pacquiao vs Floyd Mayweather or Miguel Cotto?
Like Marquez but unlike Manny Pacquiao, Floyd Mayweather owns a world title albeit in another weight class. Floyd is the WBA Super Jr Middleweight Champion and unless Manny fought Mayweather at 154lbs, which is extremely unlikely, Pacquiao vs Mayweather would be a title-less bout if it happened today.
Pictured: Floyd Mayweather, right, attempts to penetrate Miguel Cotto's defense on May 5, 2012.
Photo courtesy of HBO Sports
Floyd Mayweather won the WBC Welterweight title on September 17th by knocking out Victor Ortiz in the the fourth round in Las Vegas and has yet to defend it. And remember, his bout in May against Miguel Cotto was for the latter's WBA Super Jr Middleweight crown.
WBC Rule 1.21 a states: All WBC recognized champions must defend their title at least two (2) times a year.
WBC Interim Title
Earlier this month, Robert Guerrero defeated WBC mandatory challenger Selcuk Aydin (23-0, 17 KO) for the interim WBC Welterweight Title. As a result, Floyd Mayweather is now the WBC Welterweight 'Champion in recess.' His status means he's guaranteed an immediate title shot against the WBC Welterweight Champion, currently Robert Guerrero, at any time. However, it doesn't mean he's the champion.
And Miguel Cotto, despite being a top 10 pound-for-pound fighter, has no title.
Manny Pacquiao vs Timothy Bradley
If Manny Pacquiao wants to be a legitimate world champion again in the near future, all roads seemingly lead to Tim Bradley. Other world champions in the welterweight division are Randall Bailey, Paul Malignaggi, and interim belt-holder Robert Guerrero. Pacquiao versus any welterweight champion, aside from Bradley, wouldn't garner a lot of public attention.
Pictured: A shredded Timothy Bradley
Courtesy of Chris Farina, Top Rank
"This guy can choose anyone he wants to fight, but I don't know how he can pick anyone other than me," Bradley told The L.A. Times Tuesday in a telephone conversation. "I'm the champion."
"If he wants his belt back, he has to come through me to get it. He relinquished it to me. Regardless of what everyone might think of how I beat him -- the controversy -- I've got a win on my resume over Manny Pacquiao, and it's going in the history books that way."
"If he doesn't want to fight me, that's on him."
"It's all up to Mr. Pacquiao,"Bradley said.
The Importance of a World Title
Upon his release from prison, Mike Tyson opted to fight lesser opponents, Frank Bruno and Bruce Seldon, for their world titles before seeking to engage in more lucrative bouts with Evander Holyfield, Riddick Bowe, Tommy Morrison and Lennnox Lewis.
Team Tyson's goal, first and foremost, was for Tyson to become a "champion" again. And while Team Tyson's unification plans were derailed by Evander Holyfield, their plan was solid:
1) Become a champion again and
2) Fight the monsters in the heavyweight division as a world champion
Pictured: Mike Tyson, right, punishes then WBC Heavyweight Champion Frank Bruno in 1996 en route to becoming WBC Heavyweight Champion again.
Like Mike Tyson, Manny Pacquiao and Floyd Mayweather can engage in lucrative, high-profile bouts without a title being at-stake. However, a world title always make things more interesting. World titles add to the drama of the event and usually have a greater impact on the landscape of the division. Also, the thought of a new champion being crowned at the fight's conclusion adds a bit of intrigue.
Given there are 4 major sanctioning bodies, one would think a fighter of Manny's prestige and greatness would be in possession of at least one world title belt. Every other No. 1 ranked fighter in his respective division owns at least one title.
Wladimir Klitschko has 5 belts; RING's lineal title, three major world tiles and the IBO, a lesser significant strap. And Jr Welterweight Danny Garcia is also in possession of two major world titles as well as the all-important lineal title while Filipino Nonito Donaire holds two world jr featherweight titles.
With all the titles available, will Manny Pacquiao still remain title-less the rest of his career?
Lee is Managing Editor of FightSaga.com, a student of the Sweet Science and longtime boxing fan.
A gym rat in the 1990s, Lee was trained by 1976 Olympic Silver Medalist Charles Mooney and several retired seasoned pros. He was also a sparring partner for former WBA Super Middleweight Champion Steve Little who upset Michael Nunn for the WBA Super Middleweight Title in '94.
Lee created FightSaga.com to honor and preserve boxing's rich heritage, chronicle the achievements of top fighters, celebrate the legacy of big fights and provide a fun, educational experience for fight fans.