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Hearn says Jamie McDonnell has NOT vacated his WBA 118lb. title

Image: Hearn says Jamie McDonnell has NOT vacated his WBA 118lb. title

By Scott Gilfoid: The World Boxing Association jumped the gun earlier on Monday, reporting that WBA World bantamweight champion Jamie McDonnell (29-2-1, 13 KOs) had vacated his title. That’s not the case. McDonnell’s promoter Eddie Hearn is saying that the 31-year-old McDonnell has NOT vacated his WBA title. The WBA made a mistake, according to Hearn.

WBA has 2 champions at bantamweight. McDonnell is the lower level WBA champion, known as the WBA World bantamweight champion. The upper level or main champion, Ryan Burnett holds the WBA Super World bantamweight title. The WBA could take care of this mess entirely if they would eliminate the lower level belt held by McDonnell and just have Burnett as their main WBA bantamweight belt hold. It doesn’t look like the WBA is ready to do this yet.

McDonnell is coming off of a 3rd round no decision in his rematch with Liborio Solis last month on November 4. McDonnell was getting lit up by Solis in rounds 2 and 3. The fight was stopped due to a bad cut that McDonnell had suffered. In the previous McDonnell-Solis fight last year in November 2016, McDonnell was given a very controversial 12 round unanimous decision in Monte Carlos. Solis appeared to win an easy decision over McDonnell. Boxing News 24 had Solid winning by a 118-110 score. It was so one-sided that it wasn’t even funny. Somehow, the judges thought McDonnell had done enough to win the fight by the scores 116-112, 115-113 and 117-111. The 117-111 score was a real head shaker, as was the 116-112. The scores made no sense at all. The latest results from the McDonnell-Solis fight were a huge break for McDonnell, because he escaped the fight without suffering a loss. It’s thought that McDonnell will now move on without fighting Solis a third time, which is sad really due to the controversy of the first fight, and the fact that the second fight failed to go to completion.

McDonnell has held the WBA title since beating Tabitimdaeng Na Rachawat by a 10th round knockout on May 31, 2014. McDonnell has defended the title 6 times. Since winning the vacant WBA title, McDonnell has beaten the following fighters:

• Javier Nicholas Chacon

• Tomoki Kameda x 2

• Fernando Vargas

• Liborio Solis* – controversial decision win for McDonnell

If the 5’10” McDonnell is going to remain at 118 and not fight Liborio Solis in a third fight, then he should face the main WBA bantamweight champion Ryan Burnett so that one of the titles can be eliminated. It’s confusing for the WBA to have 2 bantamweight champions. It’s a joke. Could you imagine if the NFL decided to have 2 Super Bowls each year, producing 2 separate champions? The football fans would be disillusioned quickly if the NFL pulled a move like that.

You can understand why McDonnell is hesitating about moving up to super bantamweight. That division is dominated by Guillermo Rigondeaux. There aren’t any current weak links for McDonnell to capture an easy paper title right now. WBC super bantamweight champion Rey Vargas is incredibly talented, and it’s doubtful that McDonnell would have any chances of beating him. Rigondeaux holds the WBA ‘Super World’ 122 belt. The WBA has a junior super bantamweight champion in Daniel Roman, who is a very good fighter. The IBF belt holder is Ryosuke Iwasa, and the WBO champion is Jessie Magdaleno. I don’t see McDonnell having the talent to beat any of those guys. McDonnell is perfect right where he’s at fighting in the bantamweight division. I don’t see the logic in him moving up to 122, because he’d been doing well at 118 up until last year when he ran into a whirlwind in Liborio Solis. If the WBA lets McDonnell swerve a third fight with Solis, he might be able to hold onto his title for another 3 years. McDonnell’s 5’10” height and super long reach gives him a tremendous advantage over the typical contender at bantamweight. At super bantamweight, McDonnell’s height and reach aren’t as significant, because there’s some tall guys in the division, and plenty of tough ones that would easily negate his size.

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