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Juan Manuel Marquez Stripped of WBA Belt: What It Means for Future of Alphabets

LAS VEGAS, NV - NOVEMBER 12:  Juan Manuel Marquez reacts in the ring as he takes on Manny Pacquiao during the WBO world welterweight title fight at the MGM Grand Garden Arena on November 12, 2011 in Las Vegas, Nevada.  (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)
Harry How/Getty Images
Aaron KingContributor IIIJanuary 5, 2012

Juan Manuel Marquez will be stripped of his WBA “super” lightweight title, according to a FightNews.com report.  In accordance with WBA rules, the belt was vacated because Marquez failed to defend the title against a mandatory challenger in the past 18 months.

Marquez (53-6-1, 39 KOs) won the belt in his first fight with Juan Diaz in February 2009. His last defense came in November 2010 with his thrilling stoppage win over Michael Katsidis. Each was a fight of the year candidate.

Unheralded Cuban Richard Abril is now ranked No. 1 by the WBA—ahead of No. 2 Jorge Linares, No. 3 Brandon Rios and No. 4 Yuriorkis Gamboa—and currently holds the interim lightweight title.

The machinations of the “Alphabet” organizations have long attracted reactions ranging somewhere between apathy and scorn from fans and participants alike. This latest news is no different.

The dubious rankings issued by the Alphabets were used to elicit anger, then laughs and now yawns. Take for instance that Abril (17-2-1, 8 KOs) is ranked ahead of Linares, who lost his last fight to Antonio DeMarco and top contender Rios. Gamboa has not even campaigned in the 135-pound division yet.

Such drivel hardly registers anymore. The Alphabet trinkets have been irrelevant to most fans for many years, and fighters are increasingly treating them with similar disregard. Floyd Mayweather has been a model citizen in at least this one regard.

Sunshine, the saying goes, is the best disinfectant, so here is a rundown of some recent Alphabet news:

ATLANTIC CITY, NJ - NOVEMBER 20:  Sergio Martinez celebrates after knocking out Paul Williams in the second round of their Middleweight Championship fight on November 20, 2010 at The Boardwalk Hall in Atlantic City, New Jersey.  (Photo by Al Bello/Getty I
Al Bello/Getty Images

Middleweight kingpin Sergio Martinez recently lashed out at the WBC, telling Argentina media that he refused to wear their “diamond” belt into the ring against Matthew Macklin on March 17. Martinez (48-2-2, 27 KOs) wants the WBC to follow through on its promise to deliver a mandatory bout with Julio Cesar Chavez Jr.

Martinez lost the WBC belt because HBO refused to OK a fight with No. 1 contender Sebastian Zbik. Chavez then beat Zbik in a back-and-forth fight, and Martinez rightfully feels that the WBC is protecting Chavez.

WBC don Jose Sulaiman advised his sanctioning body to not strip Mayweather of his belt—the one that the undefeated American does not care a lick about.

WBC by-laws state that once convicted of a felony and sentenced to incarceration, a champion is to be stripped of his title.

Unlike in the aforementioned case, Sulaiman wants the WBC to stick by its titleholder, no doubt to collect on the potentially enormous sanctioning fee in the event that the Mayweather-Pacquiao fight was to materialize.

Most problematic, though, was Sulaiman's rationale for his support of Mayweather. “[B]eating a lady is highly critical,” he stated, “[but] it is not a major sin or crime.”

No wonder Martinez, an advocate for victims of domestic abuse, dumped the WBC.

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