WASHINGTON, DC • Floyd Mayweather was on Monday stripped by the World Boxing Organisation (WBO) of the welterweight world title he won by beating Manny Pacquiao two months ago.
The American had failed to meet the deadline last Friday for paying the US$200,000 (S$269,000) sanctioning fee required by the WBO after he took the belt from the Filipino on May 2 in Las Vegas in the richest fight of all time, earning a reported US$220 million in the process.
WBO rules require boxers to pay 3 per cent of their purse to fight for a world title - up to a maximum of US$200,000. The rules also prohibit WBO champions to hold any belts in any other weight divisions.
American boxer Mayweather is currently also the WBC and WBA champion at junior middleweight, as well as at welterweight.
A statement on the Puerto Rico-based sanctioning body's website confirmed that Mayweather, rated as the best pound-for-pound boxer in the world, was no longer the WBO champion.
NOT A BIG BLOW FOR MAYWEATHER
It's a complete disgrace... in the meantime, he's enjoying a couple of hundred million he made... and this has zero impact on anything he does.
LEONARD ELLERBE, chief executive of Mayweather Promotions
"Mr Mayweather Jr failed to pay the US$200,000 fee required of him as a participant of a WBO World Championship Contest," said the statement.
"Despite affording Mr Mayweather Jr the courtesy of an extension to advise us of his position within the WBO Welterweight Division and to vacate the two 154-pound world titles he holds, the WBO World Championship Committee received no response from him or his legal representatives on this matter.
"The WBO World Championship Committee is allowed no other alternative but to cease to recognise Mr Mayweather Jr as the WBO Welterweight Champion of the World and vacate his title."
Mayweather (48-0, 26 knockouts) has two weeks to launch an appeal, but Pacquiao said yesterday that he thought the WBO had been fair to his former opponent.
He said: "Maybe Floyd just didn't want to pay the sanctioning fee. He was given enough time to fulfil his responsibilities as WBO champion and to decide whether he should relinquish his crown.
"I think the WBO championship committee behaved fairly before taking away his crown."
After Mayweather defeated Pacquiao to unify three of the four major welterweight world titles, he made it clear that all the various championships he held meant very little to him and even declared that he would vacate all his titles in order to give younger fighters the chance to win belts.
"I don't know if it will be Monday or maybe a couple weeks," Mayweather said at the post-fight news conference. "I'll talk to my team and see what we need to do.
"Other fighters need a chance."
He is expected to stage one more fight in Las Vegas on Sept 12, although he has yet to name the opponent he will face in the ring.
American Timothy Bradley, who defeated countryman Jessie Vargas for the WBO interim welterweight belt on June 27, is now expected to be formally elevated to full champion status by the WBO.