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VIDEO: Examining the history of the WBA heavyweight title

Image: VIDEO: Examining the history of the WBA heavyweight title

There are way too many alphabet belts in professional boxing, and this unfortunate fact discourages many potential newer fans from becoming interested in the sport.

The WBA officially surfaced in its modern form in August 1962, an offshoot of the organization previously known as the NBA. The heavyweight champion at that time was Floyd Patterson. Patterson would lose the heavyweight world championship against Sonny Liston, who in turn would lose the crown against Muhammad Ali in February 1964. Ali was stripped of the WBA portion of his heavyweight championship when he signed to have an immediate rematch against Liston, which ultimately happened the following May. Ernie Terrell won the vacant WBA strap when he defeated Eddie Machen in March 1965.

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This was the beginning of an historical trend where the WBA heavyweight title was often not in the hands of the legitimate lineal heavyweight world champion. Ali would ultimately regain the WBA belt, that rightly should have belonged to him, when he beat Terrell in February 1967. But the WBA track record of being aligned with the lineage was poor in the 1960s. They got back on track in the 1970s, but again strayed from the righteous course throughout most of the 1980s, a significant portion of the 1990s, nearly all of the 2000s, and even a chunk of the previous decade in the 2010s. During that exceptionally poor stretch in the last 25+ years, the WBA further watered down the boxing championship landscape when they invented the WBA super belt. Even worse, after the invention of the WBA super belt the shady organization still attempted to pass off their “regular” WBA belt as a ‘major’ world title.

The heavyweight division has always been the marquee weight class in boxing. And the #1 complaint about boxing is that there are too many alphabet belts, and this causes confusion for fans who become disinterested because of all the political nonsense that comes with that disgusting territory. This edition of Rummy’s Corner will provide an examination of the history of the WBA heavyweight championship, and why this acts as a perfect example of why the numerous alphabet belts have been ruining professional boxing for many, many decades.

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