Time of death was finally called on the embarrassing Julio Cesar Martinez-McWilliams Arroyo saga.
The title consolidation rematch will no longer move forward, nor will Arroyo any longer hold rights to challenge for the WBC flyweight title. The sanctioning body removed Arroyo’s interim title status for failure to move forward with the ordered bout versus Mexico City’s Martinez, who is now the sole WBC flyweight titleholder.
“McWilliams Arroyo has declined to fight WBC champion Julio Cesar Martinez consequently vacating his interim championship,” the WBC stated in a public ruling on Wednesday. “Martinez and Arroyo were set to meet countless times before their Technical Draw which resulted from an accidental headbutt and after as well.
“The fight was set for May [6th] in the undercard of Canelo vs Ryder, but Arroyo did not accept to fight in Mexico. They were set to meet this coming December as the result of a purse bid and Arroyo will not honor such fight, so he has lost his privileges and interim world championship.”
Interestingly, the newly christened WBC flyweight mandatory challenger is Mexico’s Angel Ayala, who is due to meet former IBF junior flyweight titlist in an IBF-sanctioned flyweight title eliminator this Saturday in Merida. BoxingScene.com has yet to confirm if the stakes remain in place and—if so—that would leave the winner as a double mandatory challenger.
The previous attempt to get the fight in ring called for placement on a November 4 Showtime date which no longer exists. The snakebit title consolidation bout promotionally belonged to Clase y Talento, the company headed by Eddy Reynoso who submitted $345,000 to win the rights during a June 22 purse bid hearing. Ten percent of the bid ($34,500) will be placed in escrow as a win bonus. The remaining $310,500 would have been split 65/35 in favor of Martinez as the defending titlist.
Meanwhile, Martinez (20-2, 15KOs; 2NC) would presumably have room to make a voluntary title defense.
The long-reigning champ last defended the belt on May 6, when he stopped Panama’s Ronal Batista in the eleventh round on the undercard of stablemate Saul ‘Canelo’ Alvarez’s points win over England’s John Ryder in Zapopan, Jalisco, Mexico.
Puerto Rico’s Arroyo (21-4, 16KOs; 1NC) hadn’t fought since a November 2021 meeting versus Martinez, which ended in a No-Contest after just two rounds in Manchester, New Hampshire. A clash of heads ended their wild affair that saw both men hit the canvas in a truncated fight that was already canceled twice prior to that point.
The rematch suffered two separate postponements in 2022.
Martinez fell ill during fight week ahead of another planned meeting last June 25 in San Antonio. The bout was rescheduled for last December 3 in Glendale, Arizona. Arroyo bizarrely announced his retirement six weeks out from the fight before he immediately walked back the claim, only to withdraw from the fight after suffering a training camp injury.
Martinez went on to face Spain’s Samuel Cardona, whom he outpointed over twelve rounds.
Arroyo—who represented Puerto Rico in the 2008 Beijing Olympics—was afforded the chance to fight for the interim title after a canceled February 2021 meeting with Martinez in Miami Gardens, Florida. Their planned fight was due to serve as the co-feature to Alvarez’s eventual third round knockout of Avni Yildirim, only for Martinez to withdraw just prior to the weigh-in after concealing an injured hand.
Martinez also withdrew from a scheduled August 2020 title defense versus Arroyo due to illness. However, he remains the last man standing in this bizarre storyline, which perhaps received its most fitting form of closure.
Jake Donovan is a senior writer for BoxingScene.com. Twitter: @JakeNDaBox