SPORTS

Miguel Cotto stripped of WBC belt ahead of title fight with Canelo Alvarez

HOLLYWOOD, CA - NOVEMBER 11:  Professional Boxer Miguel Cotto trains with Fitbit Surge in preparation for his fight on Nov. 21 with Canelo Alvarez at Wild Card Boxing Club on November 11, 2015 in Hollywood, California.  (Photo by JC Olivera/Getty Images for fitbit)

HOLLYWOOD, CA - NOVEMBER 11: Professional Boxer Miguel Cotto trains with Fitbit Surge in preparation for his fight on Nov. 21 with Canelo Alvarez at Wild Card Boxing Club on November 11, 2015 in Hollywood, California. (Photo by JC Olivera/Getty Images for fitbit)  (2015 Getty Images)

Miguel Cotto has lost his piece of his middleweight title even before he steps into the ring Saturday night to face Saúl "Canelo" Alvarez.

The WBC announced Tuesday that it has stripped Cotto of its middleweight title for not agreeing to the organization's rules, which reportedly include paying a sanctioning fee to the organization in return for the WBC title being at stake in the middleweight showdown with Alvarez.

The WBC issued a release saying that Alvarez will be regarded as its champion if he wins the fight, but the title will be vacated if Cotto wins.

”After several weeks of communications, countless attempts and good faith time extensions trying to preserve the fight as a WBC World Championship," the statement reads, "Miguel Cotto and his promotion did not agree to comply with the WBC rules and regulations, while Saúl Alvarez has agreed to do so. Accordingly, the WBC must rule on the matter prior to the fight. The WBC hereby announces that effective immediately has withdrawn recognition of Miguel Cotto as WBC world middleweight champion. If Saúl “Canelo” Alvarez wins the fight against Cotto, he will be recognized as the WBC middleweight world champion.”

At issue, according to ESPN, is a $300,000 fee, from each fighter, to sanction the bout. Cotto had previously paid a step-aside fee for not fighting IBF middleweight title holder, Gennady Golovkin, of $800,000.

An unnamed source told the sports network that Cotto balked at the extra amount, and the WBC refused to negotiate a reduced step-aside fee, as it has done in the past with Floyd Mayweather, Manny Pacquiao and Oscar De La Hoya.

Cotto first won the WBC crown in June 2014 with a victory over the Argentinian fighter, Sergio Martínez. Despite being stripped by the WBC, he retains his The Ring magazine championship.

Though the fight is technically a middleweight title bout, it is being fought at a catch weight of 155 pounds instead of the 160-pound limit.

Based on reporting by the Associated Press.

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