Lomachenko upgraded to WBC Franchise lightweight champion
By Chris Williams: The World Boxing Council finally did what many fans predicted they would do in giving WBC lightweight champion Vasiliy Lomachenko their ‘Franchise’ tag on Wednesday. With the upgrade, Lomachenko (14-1, 10 KOs) no longer has to worry about defending his WBC title against talented interim champ Devin Haney (23-0, 15 KOs), who is breathing down his neck. That’s a fight that Lomachenko might lose. Haney has a fighting style that is all wrong for Lomachenko.
Lomachenko no longer required to fight Haney
Earlier on Wednesday, the WBC elevated Lomachenko to their Franchise 135-lb champion. With this move, Haney is expected to be moved up to full WBC lightweight champion by the sanctioning body, and he has no way of forcing Lomachenko to fight him. This move will allow Lomachenko to ignore Haney without having to worry about fighting him. Some people think Lomachenko is afraid to fight Haney.
Lomachenko will be fighting for the undisputed lightweight championship in early 2020 against the Richard Commey vs. Teofimo Lopez winner.
Some of Lomachenko’s enablers support the WBC’s move in giving him their Franchise tag. They maintain that Loma has earned the right to be a Franchise tag by the body of work he’s done as a professional since 2013. Nevertheless, it still looks bad that a fighter is being set apart by the World Boxing Council, because it puts him in a league of his own.
If this were the NFL, it would be like one team being given permission to play anyone they want. The problem with that is that you could wind up with a team just playing against only teams that they were beatable.
Lomachenko is supposed to be moving down to super featherweight in 2020, but we’ll have to see if that happens. If he does move back down, then it doesn’t matter that the WBC has given him their Franchise tag at lightweight, because he’ll no longer be fighting in the division. Where it could be a problem is if Lomachenko chooses to stay at lightweight, and uses the Franchise tag to fight whoever he pleases. The Franchise tag would enable Lomachenko to ignore risky fighters like Haney, Ryan Garcia and Gervonta Davis.
Canelo Alvarez recently given WBC Franchise tag
The WBC recently gave Saul Canelo Alvarez their Franchise tag at middleweight, which freed him up from having to defend his title against mandatory Jermall Charlo. The WBC then elevated Charlo to full WBC middleweight champion.
Charlo was not pleased with the WBC letting Canelo veer around him without defending his title. The unbeaten Charlo had been waiting for a title shot for two years for a crack at the WBC 160-lb belt since beating Jorge Sebastian Heiland in an eliminator in July 2017.
Charlo is now in the same boat as Haney with no way of forcing a popular champion into fighting him.