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GAB chief pleads to give Pacquiao WBA belt back

GAB has made an appeal on why Manny Pacquiao had to be stripped of the WBA welterweight title. John Locher/AP (file photo)
By Ivan Saldajeno

MANILA--Games and Amusements Board chairman Baham Mitra has called on the World Boxing Association to reconsider its initial decision about the status of eight-division world champion Manny Pacquiao.

The WBA on Jan. 30 stripped Pacquiao of the WBA welterweight super title due to a long layoff mainly caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, but he was then declared "champion in recess."

[Related Story: Manny Pacquiao loses WBA belt but remains 'champion in recess']

"We would like to help the 8-division champion to return from being champion in recess to full champion," Mitra said in a letter sent to WBA president Gilberto Mendoza, a copy of which was obtained by Dugout Philippines on Wednesday.

WBA decided to upgrade the status of Cuban pug Yordenis Ugas from regular champ to the super champ.

But according to Mitra, they find the ruling bleak since they think the WBA rule is different from it.

Mitra cited a clause in WBA Rule C. 22 which states, "The [WBA championships] committee may select official contenders who will fight for an interim title under Rules C.22- 24."

Interestingly enough, the WBA Rule C. 22 was the ruling used in transferring the super belt from Pacquiao to Ugas.

Mitra then believes that if the WBA stands by its previous ruling, a showdown between the 42-year-old Pacquiao and 34-year-old Ugas should take place in the foreseeable future, citing WBA Rule C. 23.

"From the WBA Championship Rules above, we would like to ask, on behalf of Mr. Manny Pacquiao, who he may have to fight next, under the Rules, and what particular documentation he must have to comply with as WBA requirements, to regain his title, in case he opts to," Mitra further wrote.

Explaining why he decided to make an appeal, he said, “GAB is mandated by law to champion the rights of every Filipino professional boxer at all times. That is why we are appealing to WBA to reconsider its decision.”

Follow him on Twitter: @IvanSaldajeno

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