Pot (A Certain Notorious Alphabet Sanctioning Organization Chief) Calls Kettle Black

Reuters, 2/12/08:

Greed has replaced pride and honor in boxing, says Jose Sulaiman, the long-serving president of the World Boxing Council (WBC).

Secondsout.com, in an undated Thomas Hauser piece after Kelly Pavlik defeated Jermain Taylor in September for the middleweight (160 lbs.) title:

After referee Steve Smoger gave Kelly Pavlik his instructions in the dressing room prior to Taylor-Pavlik, Mauricio Sulaiman came into the room. Mauricio is the son of WBC president Jose Sulaiman. In recent years, he has assumed an increasingly active role within the sanctioning body. He is now the WBC’s executive secretary and is in charge of the organization’s executive office in Mexico City.
In the dressing room, Mauricio approached veteran cornerman Miguel Diaz and told him, “If Kelly wins, I would like his trunks to present as a gift to my father.” Diaz relayed the request to Mike Pavlik, who responded, “No way.”
After the fight, Mauricio returned to the dressing room and renewed his request.
“Oh, man,” Kelly said. “These are my trunks. Next fight, maybe; but not this one. I just won the championship in these trunks. My blood is on them.”
More people were drawn into the conversation. One-on-ones followed. Some words were exchanged regarding the discretionary powers of WBC officials and their ability to make things easy or hard on WBC champions. Mauricio Sulaiman left Boardwalk Hall with Kelly Pavlik’s bloodstained trunks. In the wee small hours of Sunday morning, he was confronted regarding the matter and the trunks were returned.
“It was a misunderstanding,” Mauricio told this writer. “I was led to believe that Kelly wanted the trunks to be presented as a gift to my father because of his respect for my father and the WBC. When it was brought to my attention that Kelly wished to have the trunks back, I arranged quickly to return them.”
Federal law states, “No officer or employee of a sanctioning organization may receive any compensation, gift, or benefit, directly or indirectly, from a boxer [other than a sanctioning fee].” Violation of this law is a crime punishable by up to one year in prison and a fine of $20,000.
When a powerful WBC official makes a request such as the one Sulaiman made of Pavlik, there’s an inherent coercive factor at work. That’s why there’s a law against it.
Craig Hamilton (the foremost boxing memorabilia dealer in the United States) estimates that Pavlik’s trunks from his championship-winning fight could be worth as much as $25,000. The WBC received a substantial sanctioning fee for Taylor-Pavlik. That should suffice for everyone’s purposes.
This isn’t the first time that Mauricio Sulaiman has made a request of this nature. One hopes it’s the last.

About Tim Starks

Tim is the founder of The Queensberry Rules and co-founder of The Transnational Boxing Rankings Board (http://www.tbrb.org). He lives in Washington, D.C. He has written for the Guardian, Economist, New Republic, Chicago Tribune and more.