Michael Rosenthal

Weekend Review: WBC reminds us of why we hate sanctioning bodies



Acknowledgment of sanctioning bodies: The decision of the WBC to strip Timothy Bradley of his junior welterweight belt and sanction the Erik Morales-Jorge Barrios as a title fight was resoundingly criticized, which was appropriate. Change will never take place unless we continue to expose the disgusting underbelly of boxing. Here’s the thing, though: We all continue to play along. The corrupt sanctioning bodies rig the rankings to maximize their profits, the promoters push them to do so for the same reason, the boxing commissions give tacit approval by working with the sanctioning bodies, the fighters willingly pay sanctioning fees to become “champions” and improve their marketability, members of the media give the bogus titles validity by making reference to them and fans accept titleholders as champions. We all know exactly what’s going on – it’s all a load of garbage — but we continue to take part in it. We’re all guilty of perpetuating this farce.



The payoff: The motivation of the sanctioning bodies, promoters and fighters is clear; the emphasis on bogus titles increases their profits. The sanctioning bodies have created all kinds of absurd titles – interim, regular, super, emeritus, champion in recess, etc. –because they take a small percentage of every pot when one of their titles is at stake. The more titles, the more money they make. The promoters and their fighters also make more money because “champions” are more-marketable than other fighters. So what’s the payoff for the boxing writers and fans? We need championships, the ultimate accomplishment in the sport. That has always been the case. THE RING has what we believe are the most-unbiased rankings and crown champions, who are recognized by legitimate media outlets. However, the fact is the majority of fans worldwide still recognize the sanctioning-body titleholders. For that reason, we really have no choice but to acknowledge them — as painful as that is.   



Timothy Bradley: Bradley could’ve avoided the WBC’s ax if he had fought Amir Khan on July 23. He had a chance to unify the junior welterweight titles and earn a seven-figure payday in the process but chose to walk away. Mistake. That doesn’t mean he deserved to lose his title, though. Bradley fought only six months ago, which hardly renders him inactive. Other WBC titleholders have gone much longer than six months without defending their titles yet weren’t stripped because it suited the WBC. One example is Oscar De La Hoya when he held the WBC junior middleweight title; he went about a year between defenses. The fact is that WBC officials want Erik Morales as their titleholder because he generates a lot of money. Simple as that. The same with Saul Alvarez and Julio Cesar Chavez Jr., who one can also argue weren’t deserving of title shots. Bradley simply isn’t the attraction those Mexican fighters are. And he paid a price for it.



Lamont Peterson: We’re still raving about Victor Ortiz’s performance against Andre Berto in April, when he won a unanimous decision in a Fight of the Year candidate. Afterward, he was anointed one of the brightest young stars in the sport. It’s easy to forget the fact that six months earlier he drew with Peterson, who truly fought Ortiz on even terms. Peterson followed that with an impressive 12th-round knockout of Victor Cayo in a IBF title eliminator on Saturday, placing him in position to challenge for Amir Khan’s belt. Peterson would be an underdog against Khan, particularly after Peterson was thoroughly outboxed by Bradley in 2009. I wouldn’t count Peterson out, though. He’s a good, clever boxer, athletic and has enough power to take you out if the opportunity arises. Peterson almost certainly will win a title someday even if it isn’t against Khan.



Beibut Shumenov: The WBA light heavyweight titleholder from Kazakhstan was the fierce warrior we’ve come to know in the end, stopping a better-than-expected Danny Santiago with an overwhelming flurry of 20-plus punches in the ninth round Friday in Las Vegas. The Shumenov we saw before that was a surprisingly effective boxer, though. He was patient, used his jab, used his feet and was difficult to hit, traits we once could not associate with him. The result was that he was able to break Santiago down without taking much punishment himself, which is a formula for a long career. His trainer, Kevin Barry, obviously is doing a good job. And, again, Shumenov gave us a breath-taking finish in the end. All in all it was a fine night for the WBA 175-pound titleholder. And he should only get better.



Mike Alvarado: Alvarado (31-0, 22 KOs) seems to be past his nagging legal problems and gaining momentum in his boxing career, his latest victory coming against capable Gabriel Martinez on Saturday in Alvarez’s hometown of Denver. He had stopped 12 of his previous 14 opponents going in the fight with Martinez, who survived the 10-round junior welterweight bout but lost a one-sided decision. Alvarado is no boxing wizard but he has solid skills and uncommon determination and toughness, making him a serious threat to even the better 140-pounders. That’s just a hunch, though. It’s time we see how he fares against a legitimate contender, providing he can lure one into the ring. The man is a beast. He won’t be fun for anyone to fight.



Robert Marroquin: The featherweight prospect’s considerable momentum came to a halt in April, when Francisco Leal handed him his first loss by a split decision in a bloody war. Marroquin took a lot of punishment – his left eye was swollen shut — in the process. Fast forward to the Alvarado-Martinez card on Saturday. Marroquin was again in a tough battle, this time with veteran Jose Beranza in an eight-rounder that left his right eye almost swollen shut. This time Marroquin left the ring with a unanimous-decision victory. He proved quite a bit: that he can overcome a disappointing loss, that he could win a difficult fight and that he has the confidence and toughness to succeed. The bad news? He probably shouldn’t have to work so hard against the likes of Leal and Beranza. The jury is out on his future.



Brian Magee: The 36-year-old Irishman’s 10th-round TKO loss to IBF super middleweight Lucian Bute in March was his first opportunity to fight for a major belt. It probably won’t be his last. Magee bounced back from his setback four months ago by defeating Jaime Barboza by a unanimous decision for the interim WBA 168-pound title on Saturday in Costa Rica, Barboza’s homeland. Magee now appears to be in line to face the winner of Karoly Balzsay-Stanislav Kashtanov fight on Aug. 26, which is for the WBA’s vacant title. I guess getting dominated and then knocked out by an elite fighter actually advances your career. Who would’ve known? Of course, the man left standing after this scenario is finished will only be the WBA’s second-best super middleweight. Andre Ward is the sanctioning body’s “super champion.” Gotta love it.



Mike Alvarado, who gave up his WBC Continental Americas title because the sanctioning body continually moved him down its rankings even though he is undefeated: “The WBC rated me No. 7 in May, No. 8 in June, and No. 10 in July. At this rate, if I keep on winning, I could be out of the WBC's top 20 by Christmas.”

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