WBC vacates Manny Pacquiao title

Updated: February 9, 2011, 12:40 AM ET
By Dan Rafael | ESPN.com

Pound-for-pound king Manny Pacquiao, who extended his record by winning a world title in an eighth weight class on Nov. 13, had his junior middleweight title vacated by the WBC on Tuesday.

Pacquiao (53-3-2, 38 KOs) still holds the WBO version of the welterweight title, which he will defend against Shane Mosley (46-6-1, 39 KOs) on May 7 (Showtime PPV) at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas. The national media tour promoting that fight begins Thursday in Los Angeles.

Pacquiao's 154-pound title was "declared vacant, following the unanimous voting of the WBC board of governors, due to the inability of the champion to defend his WBC title," according to a statement from the Mexico-based organization.

Pacquiao had no intention of defending the title, which was vacant when he won it by easily outpointing Antonio Margarito at Cowboys Stadium in Arlington, Texas.

According to Top Rank's Bob Arum, Pacquiao's promoter, Pacquiao sent a letter to the WBC to let the organization know that he did not plan to defend the title and that he had no plans to campaign in the junior middleweight division.

Boxing organizations do not permit fighters to hold belts in multiple weight classes at the same time. The WBC usually gives a fighter two weeks after winning a title in a second weight division to make a decision. In Pacquiao's case, he was given about three months before the title was vacated.

Pacquiao has also won alphabet organization or lineal titles at flyweight, junior featherweight, featherweight, junior lightweight, lightweight and junior welterweight. Pacquiao had previously broken the record held by Oscar De La Hoya, who won titles in six weight divisions.

In line to fight for the now-vacant junior middleweight belt are mandatory challenger Saul "Canelo" Alvarez and a contender to be appointed by the WBC.

Dan Rafael covers boxing for ESPN.com. Follow him on Twitter.