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Will the WBC Bridgerweight division have early or any success?


By Gerardo Granados: As the reader already knows, the WBC announced the recently created 224-pound weight division name. Before the announcement, most criticized the WBC for creating the new 224 weight division; not just the boxing media but also boxing fans worldwide oppose it.

The funny thing is that many of its critics believe that if a very few elite level small heavies who fought around 220 were able to succeed against bigger foes so then in consequence, all boxers should be able to do it.

The critics overlook the fact that many pro sportspeople have got bigger, faster, and stronger. Nutrition, sports medicine, and physical conditioning help modern-day athletes separate themselves from past top athletes. Be it at the NFL, MLB, top soccer leagues, NBA, or the Olympics, we all can witness firsthand how the men and women break records based mainly on their physical conditioning development and not just on their overall skill set improvement.

In pro boxing, it is clear that now a day, physical conditioning has taken the focus of most boxers training routines; rather than to train the boxing fundamentals. Even at times, the modern-day boxer athletes try to develop boxing skills by doing all kinds of absurd circus routines with ridiculous toys.

We, the fight fans, would like to see only one belt per the original eight weight divisions. Without the real championship rounds fought up to 15 rounds, I think that now a day we aren’t able to separate the real ring warriors from the rest. But sadly, I do not doubt in my mind that those days are gone.

I do remember the time when boxers boxed on the inside without the need to systematically negate their opponent to work inside by clinching – holding – hugging. To clinch is a foul according to the rules, same as a low blow is, but now a day to “tie up an opponent” is a smart tactic, and shamefully the modern-day referee´s allow it.

Once upon a time, the referee would urge and order the boxers to engage. Yes, if one boxer spent most of the time running, clinching, or staying out of range without the will to engage, the referee would stop the action and warn one or both boxers. I saw a couple of times in a span of 40 years old-time referees to stop a fight to give a warn and to even disqualify at least three boxers for his unwillingness to engage.

Back then, boxing was for real, and the referee would allow a fighter the chance to continue even if he was taking a beating. Nowadays, most of the major boxing media and modern soft boxing fans cry out loud to the referee to stop the fight once a boxer is in trouble. It is odd, but many of those major boxing media puppets also oppose the idea of creating a 224-pound division to avoid uneven fights between a 220 against a 255 mammoth-sized modern-day heavyweight.

In the last couple of years, I have supported the idea of creating a new weight division for the smaller heavies. As times change, pro boxing should adapt. I have given my reasons in previous articles, and I fully agree with the WBC on creating the 224 pounds division. But, I’m afraid I have to disagree with the name the WBC gave it. Instead of helping to launch it and getting people interested, the name just took out the very little interest a few fans had in it.

If someone was to be honored by naming the new weight division, it should have been the veterans. But hey, it could have been taken out of context by someone who might have felt it hurt his feeling. So, why not call it, say, the Ali weight division, or just the super cruiserweight division. After all, Don Jose Sulaiman chose to have a super epithet before the weight division, be it super middle, instead of a light or junior middleweight name.

The World Boxing Council is a boxing organization just like the rest of the alphabet organizations. It should stay far away from politics or acting as an NGO by getting involved in social movements. That is not why or what the WBC was created for.

In the last years, the WBC has tried to innovate. There was a pilot program to score the fight and to announce the scorecards every four rounds. It was a good idea, but most criticized it, failing to give it the chance to prove if it could help improve judge scoring or prevent bizarre judge rulings that surprised everyone.

In the past, the WBC was the first to shorten title fights from 15 rounds to 12 after the death of lightweight Duk Koo Kim in 1982. When the IBF created the Strawweight division at 105 pounds in 1987, the WBC followed them four months later. The WBC also innovated with the weight checks rules monitoring boxers’ weight leading to a title fight date.

A long time ago, prizefighting was a place where, regardless of your political affiliation, personal beliefs, or personal civil and moral values, we all could find common ground. We, the fight fans, gathered to watch a fight; we didn’t care about the fighters’ personal lives, and we all just wanted was to stay away from other things so that we could relax and enjoy.

Nowadays, pro sports have become too politicized full of stuff that has nothing to do with sports and even less with prizefighting. I am not a hypocrite who will cry out loud to care about many things while being a fight fan. We, the fight fans, all care is to see two men beat the stuffing’s out of each other. The more brutal and violent it is, the most we all will enjoy it. And if the reader disagrees with me, it is because he is following the wrong pro sport. This is how it all began, but nowadays, the new trend of soft boxing fans is taking the essence out of a once unique niche sport.

The WBC creation of the Mexican inspired belts, the absurd franchise status, and the constant approach to social so call struggles have turned the WBC into something it wasn’t meant to be. To name a new controversial weight division after a brave and courageous kid isn’t something anyone could have imagined because it has nothing to do with our bloody sport.

There is a say that goes something like this: the boss in charge makes the calls, and if he makes a mistake, he will keep making the calls. But in the WBC case, this is not the first time most fight fans see its actions as mistakes.

I think that the WBC has made a big mistake by naming the new 224-pound division, Bridgerweight. It could hurt the division chances to have significant early success or interest from boxers to enroll in it due to the harsh criticism.

Unless the fighters who enroll in the new 224 pounds weight division take full advantage of the opportunity the WBC is giving them by allowing them to have an even playing field to compete among fighters their size, the division could not have any significant success at all.

I am certain that the potential of the 224-pound division is huge, but only the boxers who will fight at the new weight division will be able to turn it into a success. But what about the reader, do you agree?

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