Boxing wouldn't be boxing without a controversy involving one of the sport's cartel-like sanctioning bodies.
So here we go again.
Leading up to his showdown against Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. on Saturday, Canelo Alvarez has declared war on the World Boxing Council, the Mexico City-based organization headed by President Mauricio Sulaiman.
Alvarez's fight with Chavez is a non-title bout, taking place at a catch weight of 164½ pounds. So the ever-inventive WBC created a championship belt for the fight.
One problem: Alvarez doesn't want it.
Alvarez is still fuming over the WBC's stripping him of the middleweight championship last year and awarding it to Gennady Golovkin.
Following a knockout victory over Amir Khan, Alvarez was given a 15-day window to reach an agreement to fight Golovkin, who held the IBF and WBA titles. Alvarez said he tried to make the fight. But as the negotiations entered their more complicated stages, he had to defend himself in a lawsuit filed by a former promoter. Alvarez decided to prioritize his legal problems and abandoned the negotiations with Golovkin.(Alvarez lost an $8.5-million judgment.)
"I won that belt with blood, sweat, sacrifice, a great training camp, by beating Miguel Angel Cotto," Alvarez said in Spanish. "When I vacated it, they gave it to the other guy like that, without making him drop a bead of sweat. He didn't even go through a single training camp and they gave it to him. They put it on the table. That's not an organization you can respect."
While Alvarez wouldn't shut the door on doing business with the WBC again, he said the organization wouldn't be involved if he fights Golovkin. Sanctioning bodies charge fighters a percentage of their purses to compete for their titles.
"If we're going to make that fight, we're going to make it without the WBC," Alvarez said. "We'll have them for the other titles."
The WBC's manufactured title for the Alvarez-Chavez fight was designed by a Huichol artist. The Huichol are indigenous Mexicans who live in the states of Nayarit, Jalisco, Zacatecas and Durango.
"In my mind, I knew [Sulaiman] would say, 'He doesn't want a belt made by Mexicans,' which is exactly what is happening at this moment," Alvarez said.
Alvarez said he has respect for the Huichol, pointing out that some of his early fights were staged in Nayarit. One of his stablemates, minimumweight world champion Jose Argumedo, is Huichol.
"Part of my attire for the fight will be Huichol," Alvarez said. "I respect the people who work and do that. It's not that I lack respect and don't want the belt. I just don't want anything to do with the WBC. That's what I don't want."
Alvarez noted that the Huichol belt was first unveiled last month in an airplane hangar operated by Interjet, a Mexican airline. He also observed that the strap includes the logo of the Mexican tourism board.
"It has a logo that was paid for," Alvarez said. "There are interests behind the belt."
He defended himself against charges that he was ungrateful to the WBC, which helped advance his career. He described himself as a loyal person, explaining that is why he continues to train with the same people who trained him at the start of his career.
Now, if you're the type of conspiracy theorist who thinks this kind of feud could affect the outcome of a fight, you might want to take a look at the odds for the Saturday night bout. The MGM Grand lists the odds of Chavez winning a decision at 8-to-1.