GAB asks WBA to reconsider Pacquiao as welterweight champ

Published February 10, 2021, 3:52 PM

by Waylon Galvez

manny pacquiao
Manny Pacquiao (Top Rank Photo)

In the eyes of Games and Amusements Board (GAB) Chairman Baham Mitra, Manny Pacquiao should still be the WBA super champion in the welterweight division.

Mitra pointed this out in his Feb. 9, 2021 letter to Gilberto Jesus Mendoza, president of the World Boxing Association (WBA).

“With GAB being the professional sports governing body in the Philippines, and with due respect to the WBA, may we be enlightened as to the grounds, why Mr. Pacquiao was stripped from his title?” said Mitra.

“One of our mandates is to look after the overall welfare of our professional boxer-licensees, one of whom is Mr. Pacquiao.”

The 42-year-old Pacquiao won the WBA welterweight belt following a split decision victory against Keith Thurman of the US in July 20, 2019.

Pacquiao opted not to fight in 2020 because of the pandemic, although he has mentioned that he is willing to fight anyone once the situation is under control with vaccines available against COVID-19.

Late last month the WBA stripped Pacquiao of the title, and designated him “champion in recess” in a resolution issued by the Championships Committee because he has not fought since his win over Thurman.

The boxing body elevated Yordenis Ugas as the regular titleholder.

Mitra said that instead of naming Ugas as the regular champion, the WBA should reconsider having a match to decide an “interim” champion, citing a rule under Rule C.22 of the WBA.

“When a World Champion is unable to defend his title within the prescribed time periods for justifiable medical, legal, or other reasons reasonably beyond his control, the inactive champion may be named a Champion in Recess and the Committee may select official contenders who will fight for an Interim Title under Rules C.22- 24,” Mitra said.

He also pointed to the WBA Rule C.23.

“Return of Champion in Recess. When a Champion in Recess returns after having overcome to the satisfaction of the Championships Chairman whatever obstacle that caused his inactivity, the Association may order a title bout between the Champion in Recess and the Interim Champion, if one exists, or against another boxer designated by the Committee.”

In this regard, the pandemic situation should be considered by the WBA as an obstacle for Pacquiao.

“We would like to help the 8-division champion to return from being Champion in Recess to Full Champion,” said Mitra.