Josesito Lopez lands a right to the body of Canelo Alvarez during their WBC… (Josh Hedges / Getty Images )
Is the World Boxing Council’s cozy connection to Mexican star fighter Saul “Canelo” Alvarez fraying?
The sanctioning body released a statement Wednesday directing its super-welterweight champion to next fight the winner of Saturday’s WBC title-elimination bout between Glendale’s unbeaten Vanes Martirosyan (32-0, 20 knockouts) and Erislandy Lara (17-1-1, 11 KOs).
That’s problematic, given Alvarez’s obvious preference for seeking a May fight against either Floyd Mayweather Jr., Miguel Cotto (if he defeats Austin Trout on Dec. 1) or Sergio Martinez.
Martirosyan promoter Bob Arum hailed the announcement by WBC President Jose Sulaiman as the proper reward for his fighter, who’ll compete in what is effectively his third WBC title eliminator at the Wynn Resort and Casino in Las Vegas.
"He’s given money out of his pocket for these eliminators," Arum said.
In a statement first reported by boxingscene.com, Sulaiman said the Martirosyan-Lara winner is a “mandatory” challenger to Alvarez.
Neither Martirosyan nor Lara is a main-event draw yet, so the Mexico-based WBC’s position is puzzling, given that it could also stand to lose sanctioning fees if Alvarez opts to fight someone else and vacates the belt.
The WBC decision "is not a big deal," according to Alvarez promoter Richard Schaefer. Alvarez previously told Schaefer he didn’t want to take a lesser fight -- such as the Martirosyan-Lara winner -- in January, and wanted to wait for a big-name opponent to fight in May.
"What do you think 'Canelo' thinks of this?" Schaefer asked. "If you have a chance to fight the best fighter in the world in Floyd Mayweather Jr., and you get that opportunity, doesn’t that take priority?"
Schaefer said he has nothing new to report regarding Mayweather’s interest in returning to the ring for the first time since his May 5 technical knockout of Cotto in Las Vegas. Afterward, the unbeaten champion served his sentence in a Las Vegas county jail stay for a domestic violence incident.
DUNDEE AUCTION: On the day that one of Angelo Dundee's great fighters, Carmen Basilio, died, the late trainer's family is putting some of his noted collection of boxing memorabilia up for auction.
Dan Imler, a spokesman for SCP Auctions, said some of the items, including fight-worn gloves from Muhammad Ali, qualify as “boxing’s crown jewels.”
The gloves were worn by Ali in his 1964 victory over Sonny Liston and in his 1971 loss to Joe Frazier, the so-called “Fight of the Century.”
Dundee’s son, Jim, said a portion of the proceeds will go to the Muhammad Ali Foundation.
Other items include the mouthpiece Ali wore in his final fight against Trevor Berbick, and Sugar Ray Leonard’s gloves from his "no mas" victory over Roberto Duran.
For more information on the auction, go to scpauctions.com, or call (949) 831-3700.
MOSLEY HONORED: Pomona’s former multi-division boxing champion Shane Mosley will be honored along with sports agent Leigh Steinberg on Sunday at a Wyland Foundation event in Dana Point.