• Oh, those alphabet boxing organizations

    Peter Cariño

    Conrad M. Cariño

    It somehow puzzles me that Nonito Donaire and Ni-cholas Walters, who will square off on October 18, are both recognized as titleholders by the World Boxing Association (WBA) for the featherweight (126 pounds) division.

    But there is a big difference: Donaire is recognized by the WBA as the Super World Featherweight title, while Walters has the WBA World Featherweight strap.

    So does that make Donaire a “superman” compared to Wal-ters? Unfortunately, no!

    From what I have read from Wikipedia, the WBA also recognizes fighters from other sanctioning organizations like World Boxing Council (WBC), World Boxing Organization (WBO), and the International Boxing Federation (IBF).

    The WBA does recognize a “Super Champion” if he holds two titles from either the WBC, WBO, IBF and from them. But even if a champion in a certain weight holds two titles but not including the WBA, the organization itself will still recognize him a “Super Champion.”

    Given the many boxing organizations today, it is actually hard to recognize as to who is the “real” or deserving champion in a weight division.

    Gone were the days when the WBA and the WBC were solely the recognizing bodies for world boxing champions, and it was easy to call for a “unification” bout between the reigning champions of the two organizations. Also, there were no “super” or “junior” weight divisions so the weight classes were few: flyweight, bantamweight, featherweight, lightweight, welterweight, middleweight, light heavyweight, and heavyweight. Now there’s pinweight, cruiserweight, light welterweight, super middleweight and what have you added to the mix. And with the heavyweight fighters getting bigger, there might be a need for a superheavy-weight division soon.

    Decades back when there were only two boxing sanctioning bodies, unified championships were usually “split” when a reigning champion retires, or if one of the recognizing bodies does not rank the challenger that eventually defeats a reigning unified champion.

    But the advantage of having so many sanctioning bodies is it gives opportunities to many boxers to win “world titles.” But today’s world boxing titles no longer have the same level of prestige, because one title from an organization represents 20 percent or 25 percent of the actual world title.

    So it’s a good thing The Ring Magazine has its own “pound-for-pound” rankings for all weight divisions and the top 10 boxers in the world today (which at one time included Manny Pacquiao and Donaire at the same time).

    What I do not wish for is for another boxing organization to crop out of nowhere, or another media organization claiming to be the “real authority” in the pound-for-pound rankings. Wishing for other boxing organizations to just disappear may be asking for too much. (Well, go ahead and wish for that, if you wish . . .)

    What I know so far is there are boxing organizations that require promoters to pay them a “sanctioning fee” for fights where the concerned organization’s titles are at stake. And how many weight divisions there are today?

    Some boxing organizations also require promoters participating in a purse offer to pay them a “non-refundable fee.”

    Oh, so that’s how it works in the business of boxing. Sanctioning fees, non-refundable fees and what have you . . . anyway, without the sanctioning bodies, can professional boxing be entrusted entirely into the hands of promoters? That may be like entrusting a flock of sheep to the devil.


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