Junior welterweight champion Danny Garcia, who has not defended his belts since March 2014 and is planning to fight a third nontitle bout in a row, was left with no choice but to relinquish his WBC world title on Thursday or have it stripped from him.
Garcia owes a mandatory defense to No. 1 contender Viktor Postol, but rather than face him next, as the WBC ordered late last year, Garcia is planning to fight former titleholder Paulie Malignaggi on Aug. 1 (on ESPN) at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York.
The WBC announced that Garcia and WBC president Mauricio Sulaiman had "a very emotional conversation" on Thursday and that Garcia "agreed to relinquish" the belt.
The WBC also announced that it would order Postol to face Lucas Matthysse for its vacant 140-pound title.
"Danny's weight situation forced his decision to fight at welterweight," the WBC said.
The WBC gave Garcia the designation of "champion emeritus," which would allow him to immediately challenge for the junior welterweight title he vacated if he decides to return to the weight class, although that is unlikely.
Garcia, the lineal champion at 140 pounds, also holds the WBA belt. No decision has been announced on the status of that title.
Garcia (30-0, 17 KOs), 27, of Philadelphia, has fought at 140 pounds for his entire seven-year professional career and problems making weight led to his taking nontitle bouts over 140 pounds.
Garcia's camp paid Postol a six-figure fee to step aside and allow Garcia to face titleholder Lamont Peterson in a nontitle bout at 143 pounds on April 11. The deal called for Postol to get a spot on the undercard and that Garcia would either defend against him next or vacate.
It was an open secret in boxing circles that Garcia was never going to face Postol and that became official on Thursday.
Postol (27-0, 11 KOs), 31, of Ukraine, earned the mandatory shot by knocking out Selcuk Aydin in spectacular fashion in the 11th round of a stellar performance 13 months ago in Inglewood, California. He won an eight-round shutout decision against Jake Giuriceo on the April 11 Garcia-Peterson undercard.
Matthysse (37-3, 34 KOs), 32, of Argentina, challenged Garcia for the title in September 2013 in Las Vegas and lost a highly competitive unanimous decision. Matthysse has won three fights in a row since, including a majority decision against former junior welterweight titlist Ruslan Provodnikov on April 18 in Verona, New York, in a hellacious battle that is the front-runner for 2015 fight of the year honors.
The Matthysse and Postol camps both told ESPN.com they want to make the fight.
"We like the fight," said Eric Gomez, vice president of Golden Boy Promotions, which represents Matthysse. "We've contemplated this happening. Matthysse is all-in."
Said Carl Moretti, vice president of Top Rank, Postol's co-promoter, "Obviously we're not shocked by what happened with Garcia. We knew Danny Garcia was never going to defend his title again. We look forward to making the fight with Matthysse. It's a great fight stylistically and we'll get a deal done as soon as possible. It's a really interesting fight."
Garcia won the vacant WBC belt in March 2012 by outpointing Erik Morales, who had been stripped the day before the bout for failing to make weight. Garcia went on to make five defenses -- knockouts of Amir Khan (against whom he unified titles) and Morales in a rematch, followed by decision wins against former titleholder Zab Judah and Matthysse and a heavily disputed majority decision against Mauricio Herrera.
Garcia then fought two nontitle bouts in a row, blowing out club fighter Rod Salka in two rounds last August and then outpointing Peterson.