The 12th Round: Boxing at its Best

By Mauricio Sulaiman
WBC President – Jose Sulaiman’s son

While the world was praying for all those involved in the drama of hurricane Irma and also remembering the tragic anniversary of WTC today 9/11, we must be grateful for what we have and appreciate every moment we have while making the best of it.

Friday night a new star was born. David Benavidez conquered the WBC super middleweight championship by split decision against Ronald Gavril in Las Vegas. Benavidez is the youngest to ever win a super middleweight title at the tender age of 20 and has a bright future in the ring.

Saturday night was magical. StubHub Center in Carson, California, home of some classics in the history of boxing, hosted yet another historic event named “Superfly” featuring 4 fights in that division. Brian Viloria is back on track on his road to fight for a world championship after winning by impressive KO, Inoue defended his WBO title with a TKO victory after a dominating and masterful performance and the other two bouts are some of the best of the year and best ever in the lower divisions.

Juan “Gallo” Estrada defeated Carlos “Principe” Cuadras in a razor thin close decision. The fight was of the highest level of class with these two Mexican warriors fighting with pride in search of the mandatory spot of the division. While Cuadras clearly outboxed Estrada, Gallo landed the harder punches and even sent Cuadras to the floor in the ninth round. The fight was decided in the last round having Estrada getting the judges vote and winning 114-113 on all cards. To add to the drama, our dear iconic ring announcer Michael Buffer pulled a Steve Harvey and announced Carlos “Principe” Estrada as the winner! Fortunately, it took only seconds to correct and Estrada was declared the winner. A very close, highly competitive and entertaining fight.

The main event was explosive. Thousands of fans came out to cheer the national hero from Nicaragua in the highly anticipated rematch against reigning WBC champion Srisaket Sor Rungvisai from Thailand. The first fight was of great action and ended the undefeated record of Chocolatito with a majority decision.

But this time it was different, Srisaket came out extremely confident and brought the fight to Gonzalez from the opening bell, dropping him in the fourth round, only to knock him out in dramatic fashion a few seconds later. It was dramatic. To see such a powerful, iconic champion knocked out is always impressive. Thailand has a new hero and the future is bright for this division as many great fights can be put together by combining the fighters who fought in the Superfly extravaganza.

Now it is time for the fight the world has been waiting to see for quite some time. WBC, WBA and IBF middleweight champion Gennady GGG Golovkin vs former two-time WBC champion Saul Alvarez.

This fight was mandated by the WBC in May of last year, this fight was supposed to have been mandated in May 2015; However GGG and K2 Promotions were in agreement to allow then champion Cotto to fight Canelo Alvarez, such fight was delayed and when Canelo beat Cotto, GGG again graciously accepted to allow Canelo a voluntary defense which he did knocking out welterweight Amir Khan.

Five months before Canelo vs Khan, the agreement signed by Golden Boy Promotions and K2 was publicly released by the WBC and it clearly stated that a purse offer would be conducted 15 days after the Canelo vs Khan fight, due to the fact that GBP and K2 were in continuous negotiations since December 2015 to sign Canelo vs GGG. At no time there was any pressure from the WBC to Canelo, it was agreed by both parties.

Canelo decided to vacate the WBC world championship and as it stated in the same signed agreement, GGG was recognized as WBC undisputed middleweight champion.

I am certain that Canelo must not have the facts clear as he has since dedicated himself to express bitterness towards the WBC for unknown reasons. He has forgotten so many instances in which the WBC was fundamental in his growth as a boxer and as a person. My father, Jose Sulaiman, took Canelo as a rising prospect and guided him through a process to make him a huge star, going from the WBC Youth championship, the NABF championship and the Silver championship.

At that time boxing had a hero, Manny Pacquiao, and when Jose Sulaiman was asked who could beat Manny, he categorically responded “Canelo” …..

Pacquiao was the reigning WBC super welterweight champion and Canelo was the #1 contender and as Pacquiao decided to return to welterweight, the WBC approved a fight to crown the new super welterweight champion, a decision my father strongly defended and stood firm in support of Alvarez, despite extreme criticism from many.

In the interest of Canelo’s future and well being, my father strongly opposed Canelo to fight Mayweather claiming Canelo had a bright future and Floyd was too superior at that time. The result of the fight spoke for itself.

Canelo has always had the WBC doors open and all he has received is friendship, support and opportunities, still to this day. I am disappointed that after several attempts to have a face to face conversation Canelo has refused to meet with me.

I am personally extremely proud of Gennady Golovkin who patiently waited for his time to step up to the biggest fight of his career and he does with honor and pride with absolute respect to the sport, the fans and his commitment to the WBC and the green belt he represents.

GGG vs Canelo is a great fight, the world is anxious to see it and boxing will be at it’s best this Saturday, September 16, at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas Nevada.

Thank you and I welcome any comments, ideas and suggestions at

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