I’m watching some of the recent developments in the boxing world, and I’m telling you I come up with tons of questions and no answers. Who is running this dog and pony show? Because it really is starting to look like the sanctioning bodies are showing less and less integrity, as long as they are collecting their sanctioning fees. There has been a frenzy of interim belts, regional belts, diamond belts and other titles created so that the alphabet soups can grab cash. The big promoters are happy to pay them. One of the results is that the value of a world title in boxing is at it’s lowest point. Long time boxing observers will say to me ‘of course, it has always been that way’, however there are a few current situations that are not being called out, so here goes…
The first one is Amir Khan‘s protest of his recent loss to Lamont Peterson. The match, in Peterson’s hometown of Washington DC, cost Khan the IBF and WBA Lightwelterweight titles and dropped his record to 26-2. Khan had been incessant talking about big money fights, including Floyd Mayweather Jr, however that is all in jeopardy now.
Khan has protested the match, feeling he won the fight. Khan has also tossed a one million dollar offer to Peterson to make the rematch happen.
Khan has had strong promotion that wields power and money, ever since his Olympic days, and to his credit, he has become a big draw, especially in his native England.
It’s time to face the facts – all those backers may have picked the wrong horse. Khan may not be that good – he has nice speed and has improved a great deal since turning to Freddie Roach for tutelage, but he won a SILVER medal in the Olympics, and he has now dropped two pro fights in what has been a protected career in the opinion of many. His first loss, to little known Breidis Prescott, saw Khan risk decapitation as he was KO’d in RD 1. Believe me if there was a way to protest that, he would have.
Then there is the bizarre case of Sergio Martinez, the former WBC Middleweight Champion. The WBC elected to take the belt from Martinez, and lo and behold, the Julio Cesar Chavez Jr camp out of Mexico paid the sanctioning fees, lined up opponents that were not as tough as Sergio Martinez, and Chavez Jr is now the Middleweight Champion of the WBC. As a consolation, Martinez was declared a mandatory defense for Chavez Jr.
But like the Khan backers, all those interested people behind Chavez Jr may have backed a guy who isn’t that good. They appear petrified to face Martinez.
Martinez wants Chavez Jr in March of 2012, but Bob Arum, Chavez promoter is confident that the WBC will go back on their promise to Martinez. They have already been ducking him, and they will continue to do so. The mandatory defense has been skipped over as Chavez has fought other opponents and Martinez has been left waiting. The WBC keeps collecting the fees from Chavez Jr. Martinez has taken fights to keep busy as well, just more fees for the WBC, who does not appear willing to take on Arum and force what they themselves declared a mandatory title defense.
So the public is deprived of the fights that determine the best. When true competition is not the guiding force, the word ‘sport’ becomes less and less applicable. I’m all for the fighters making money, but if the promoters can control the opponents and the decisions of the sanctioning bodies in order to compensate for the shortcomings of their boxers, we will never truly know who the best fighters even are, and that is a shame.