The World Boxing Council has given Devin Haney their WBC light welterweight ‘champion in recess’ tag while crowning ‘interim’ champ Alberto Puello to full 140-lb world belt-holder with their organization.

Haney’s recent social media comments about taking time off from the sport and disinterest in fighting his WBC mandatory Sandor Martin about competing in future contests at any weight made it necessary for the sanctioning body to find a replacement at 140.

With Haney’s ‘Champion in Recess’ designation, he can challenge for his old title anytime. However, with Puello, a non-star, holding the WBC light welterweight title, it’s highly unlikely that Haney will show any interest in fighting him because it wouldn’t be a big-money fight, and it would be very difficult.

Puello (23-0, 10 KOs) is in the prime of his career at 29, coming off an impressive 12-round split decision win over previously unbeaten Gary Antuanne Russell on June 15th. He has power and would be a nightmare for Haney, especially with him coming off a three-knockdown defeat at the hands of Ryan Garcia on April 20th.

Puello’s First Title Defense

The WBC has ordered Pullo to make his first defense of his newly upgraded 140-lb title against mandatory Sandor Martin (42-3, 15 KOs). Puello inherits Haney’s WBC mandatory that he wasn’t keen on taking after last week’s low purse bid of $2.42 million from last week.

Had Devin gone through with the fight against Martin, his purse would have been in the $1.5 million range, which would have been a tremendous pay cut from what he received in his last two classes against Ryan Garcia and Regis Prograis on DAZN PPV. Sandor Martin wouldn’t have been a PPV-worthy fight for Haney or Ryan Garcia if he were the one who had been the WBC champion.

Of course, Ryan would have been under the illusion that a fight with Sandor would have earned him tons of cash. He would have known that the boxing public would be unwilling to purchase this on PPV, and it wouldn’t bring in a ton of new subscribers.

Mandatory Challenger: Gary Antuanne Russell

In an interesting move, the WBC has made Gary Antuanne Russell (18-1, 17 KOs) the mandatory winner of the Puello vs. Martin fight. That doesn’t make sense, given that Russell lost his last fight to Puello on June 15th and is a poor candidate to be made mandatory for any belt.

Ideally, the new WBC mandatory should be one of these three ranked contenders in the sanctioning body’s top 10:

3. Jack Catterall
4. Dalton Smith
5. Richardson Hitchins

It is questionable whether Catterall would be eager to fight the Puello-Martin winner, but Dalton or Hitchins would likely jump at the chance.

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