The True World Champions part 1
By Markus McCourtus: Boxing as a sport is one of the hardest sports to compete in. The high level of fitness and skill required to compete at a decent level deserves respect, the mental conditioning required is also to be admired.
To prove yourself as a champion in such a sport is tough and requires elite skill and dedication, as to be champion you have to defeat the best (or at least one of the best) guy in the division. Or do you?
At the minute in the boxing world there are 17 weight classes, each weight class generally has 4 recognized world title holders, even more if you include the interim title holders and super and regular title holders, but to keep this simple let’s keep it to 4. So we generally have 68 world title holders.
These world title holders will generally refer to themselves as world champions, as will broadcasters and journalists. This confuses most fans as it makes no sense to have 4 world champions in one division, but who is the true champion? Is it the WBC champion? Or perhaps the IBF champion? Well it’s a lot less simple than that.
To be the world champion in a division you need to beat the current champion or in the situation of a vacation the number 1 contenders must defeat the number 2 contender to then be crowned as champion. This has left this sport with only 5 world champions these world champions are Tyson Fury (heavyweight) Adonis Stevenson (light heavyweight) Saul Alvarez (middleweight) Guilermo Rigondeaux (super bantamweight) and Roman Gonzalez (flyweight).
I am not saying all of these people are the best in the respective divisions, but these are the only world champions in boxing today.
We as fans are being cheated out of the best fighting the best. Boxers are being cheated out of fighting to prove they are the best, because the sanctioning bodies don’t generally recognize other title holders in their ranking systems. This means that unless a world title holder chooses to face another title holder in an optional defence they may never have to face another elite fighter in their division.
I whole heartedly believe we need to stop paying attention to the alphabet titles and make sure that we make ourselves aware of who the true champions are and who the title holders are and make sure we put pressure of them to fight one another, this will mean that the best will have to face the best especially if they want to be truly recognized as a world champion, it will also stop these champions being able to duck fighters that are potentially better than them simply because they have a different world title. Boxing is better when there is one world champion per division, and this is truly the case, the clarity of the matter is the problem and I hope by making ourselves aware if this we can recognize that the world titles do not make people champions.
I hope to continue discussing this matter in my up and coming articles to start getting people talking more on the matter.