AS well as confirming his place at the top of the mythical pound-for-pound charts, Floyd Mayweather unified the WBC, WBA and WBO welterweight titles when he defeated Manny Pacquiao on May 2. No sooner had he won the belts than, at the press conference immediately after the fight, Mayweather declared he would vacate them all, to allow other, younger men a chance to become champions.

That didn’t quite materialise. When the WBO signalled that Tim Bradley’s June 27 clash with Jessie Vargas would be for the vacant belt, Mayweather’s representatives objected (Bradley would fight Vargas for an interim strap). But ultimately the sanctioning fee of $200,000 for Mayweather’s WBO title has not been paid and the body has now declared the belt vacant. Mayweather also holds WBC and WBA titles in the division above, which in itself does not meet the WBO’s regulations.

In their ruling, they stated: “The WBO has the utmost respect for Floyd Mayweather Jnr and all that he has accomplished during his storied career and that Mr. Mayweather has always agreed with and understood that world championships have both privileges and responsibilities and that status as WBO champion is subject to and conditioned on compliance with the WBO rules.”

Mayweather’s team have 14 days to appeal this decision.