The WBC and Don King

Many in the boxing community have accused the WBC of bending its rules to suit the powerful boxing promoter Don King. The journalist Jack Newfield wrote, "...[WBC President Jose Sulaiman] became more King's junior partner than his independent regulator."[2] Another journalist, Peter Heller, echoes that comment: "Sulaiman...became little more than an errand boy for Don King."[3] Heller quotes British promoter Mickey Duff as saying, "My complaint is that Jose Sulaiman is not happy his friend Don King is the biggest promoter in boxing. Sulaiman will only be happy when Don King is the only promoter in boxing."[3] Newfield and Heller take issue with the following actions of the WBC: When Leon Spinks won the WBA and WBC Heavyweight championships from Muhammad Ali in 1978, the WBC stripped Leon Spinks of his title. Jose Sulaiman said the WBC did so because Spinks was signed for a rematch with Ali instead of fighting a Don King fighter, Ken Norton. Norton defended the WBC title against another Don King fighter, Larry Holmes, who won the belt.[2] In 1983, WBC Super Featherweight champion Bobby Chacon was signed to fight Cornelius Boza Edwards, the WBC's mandatory challenger for his title. But, the promoter Don King wanted his fighter, Hector Camacho, to fight for the title. Although WBC rules said the mandatory challenger should receive a shot at the title, the WBC withdrew its sanction from the fight. It stripped Chacon of his title for refusing to fight Camacho.[3] Under WBC rules, a fighter is suppo ed to defend his title against a mandatory challenger at least once a year. For fighters controlled by Don King, this rule is often ignored. For instance, as WBC champions, Alexis Arguello and Carlos Zarate, were allowed to ignore their obligations to their mandatory contenders.[2] While WBC Super Featherweight champion, Julio Cesar Chavez wanted to fight top contender Roger Mayweather for a promoter other than Don King. The WBC withheld its sanction of the fight until Don King became promoter.[2] When Mike Tyson lost to James "Buster" Douglas during a WBC and WBA Heavyweight championship defense, King convinced the WBC (along with the WBA) to withhold recognition of Douglas as heavyweight champion. King claimed that Tyson had won the fight due to knocking down Douglas, and the referee's giving Douglas a "long count."[2] The referee Octavio Meyran, in a sworn affidavit, claims that King threatened to have the WBC withhold payment of Meyran's hotel bill if Meyran did not support King's protest.[4] Because of intense public pressure, both the WBA and WBC backed down and recognized Douglas as champion. In 1992, the WBC threatened to strip Evander Holyfield of his title for defending it against Riddick Bowe instead of Razor Ruddock. Holyfield obtained a court order to stop the organization. In a taped deposition for the United States Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations, Holyfield said that the WBC wanted him to defend his championship against Ruddock because Ruddock was managed by King.