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Sergio Martinez stripped of WBO 160-pound title

Sergio Martinez of Argentina and Kelly Pavlik throw

Sergio Martinez of Argentina and Kelly Pavlik throw punches at each other during the tenth round in the WBC and WBO Middleweight title boxing match in Atlantic City, N.J. on Saturday, April 17, 2010. Martinez won by unanimous decision. (AP Photo/Tim Larsen) Credit: AP Photo/Tim Larsen

In a not so surprising move, the WBO has stripped Sergio Martinez (right) of his 160-pound title.

Citing Martinez' decision to hold on to his 154-pound WBC championship, the WBO informed Martinez and his promoter Lou DiBella of their decision to take his title back.

"My attitude is f--- 'em. F--- 'em. He is the people's champion at 160 pounds," DiBella told's Dan Rafael. "He is the lineal and only legitimate champion."

Martinez scored a unanimous-decision win over Kelly Pavlik in April and won the 160-pound WBO title.

At issue is Martinez' next opponent. No one knows who it is. And WBO rules state a fighter who has another belt at another weight class, must decide within 10 days of winning the WBO title what he plans to do.

The following is an excerpt of a letter sent from the WBO to DiBella last week.

Luis Batista-Salas, Esq.
Championship Committee

Dear Lou:

The WBO is very pleased with Sergio’s accomplishment on April 17th that crowned him the WBO Middleweight Champion of the world. Then, on the 11th of May in a ceremony presided by the WBO President, Francisco Valcárcel in Guaynabo, PR he was officially bestowed with the WBO Middleweight 160 pound championship belt. The unification of titles, together with other achievements, also led to receiving the most coveted WBO Super Champion recognition.

Section 15 (c) of the WBO Regulations states that: “A WBO Champion who wins a non-WBO Championship in a weight class that is different from the weight class in which he holds his WBO Championship must decide within ten (10) days of the non-WBO Championship which title and weight class he will retain. No WBO Champion may hold a non-WBO Championship title in a weight class that is different from the weight class of his WBO Championship.”

In other words the WBO isn't going to wait to see what Martinez is going to do, especially if they can't schedule any title fights and collect any sanctioning fees in the meantime.

New York Sports