In todays world of boxing, there are so many sanctioning bodies with all of these different belts, which unfortunately only translates in to one thing. There are too many major world championships. This makes it impossible for one champion to stand out above the rest, because these days, everyone is a champion. There are 4 major sanctioning bodies in boxing as of today, which means that every single division has 4 major recognized world champions. It is an absolute mess. Actually I stand corrected, each division has 5 recognized champions, due to the fact that the WBA has a “regular” world title, and a “super” world title. A champion in my eyes is a fighter who is ranked #1 (in some cases #2) in their respective division, and holds a world title belt. To make matters even more complicated, on top of the “alphabet” titles, you also have TheRing championship belt, which the holder of that loosely translates into the “Lineal” champion of their respective division. So all in all, you can actually say that each division had 6 major world championships.
Boxing must do something to unify all of these titles, so that we can have clear cut champions. The WBA is actively trying to unify the “Super” title and the “Regular” title in each division, but they have been largely unsuccessful in doing so. The reason being is, why would anyone want to give up their world title, because a sanctioning body made a mistake by creating too many belts. There are way too many undeserving fighters these days that can technically call themselves world champions. The first that comes to mind was Charles Martin (heavyweight). Although Martin was beaten recently by Anthony Joshua, he never deserved the IBF title in the first place. Tyson Fury was stripped of that title, when he refused a fight so that he can have his rematch with Klitschko, and Martin was thrown into a fight for a vacant title, and won because his opponent was injured. Another example of a paper champion would be Danny Garcia (welterweight). Although Garcia’s title run at 140 lbs was very respectable and deserving, he moved up to 147, and after 1 fight, got a title shot. Garcia is currently ranked #6 in the welterweight division, and he holds a world title. Amir Khan, Shawn Porter, and Tim Bradley (#3, #4, #5) all rank ahead of him, and do not hold titles. Given, they did all lose their title fights, but Garcia was a champion before they got those title fights. Its unfair. The biggest paper champion of all is Saul “Canelo” Alvarez. Recently stripped of the WBC title for refusing to fight Gennady Golovkin, he still holds TheRing Middleweight title, which puts him at the top of the division, even thought Golovkin would destroy him.
Mergers between sanctioning bodies are completely out of the question, even though that is what boxing needs. They simply make too much money to give up parts of their companies. Bottom line, it will never happen. If there was only some way for these bodies to work together and just merge the belts themselves, that would help tremendously. For example, without the company itself merging, lets say that the WBA & WBO belts were one. And the WBC & IBF belts were one. That would eliminate 2 title belts in each division, and have more clear cut champions. That will probably never happen as well, because these bodies make money off of the belts themselves. Champions must pay fees to hold their belts, believe it or not, which in my opinion is also very wrong.
Lately we have seen a lot more unification fights, which is good for boxing, because even though it does not decrease the amount of championship belts, it decreases the amount of champions. The latest of course being Terence Crawford VS Viktor Postol, when they unified the WBO/WBC/TheRing Junior Welterweight titles. In 2014, Sergey Kovalev unified the WBA/WBO/IBF Light Heavyweight titles, when he beat Bernard Hopkins. That cut the number of champions to just 2 in the Light Heavyweight division. This was a good thing. More titles must be unified, so that we can have true champions, because like I said before, there are way too many paper champions. If u have a division with 2 fighters ranked #1 and #2, and they both hold 2 belts, how do you know who is actually better? The WBA, being the biggest mess of all, must put up all of their “Super” champions and their “Regular” champions against each other, so that they can have just one title in each division.
-David Jukic, INSIDE RINGSIDE