WBA President Answers: Is It Possible For Boxing To Have Fewer Titles?
One of the running jokes around the boxing world has been the number of titles that are within the sport. Besides being a regular champion, fighters can be elevated to the “franchise” level or given a title that was recently designed. Unification bouts then get harder and much more complicated to produce.
Multiple champions are even within the same weight class. Can something be done about this?
World Boxing Association President Gilberto Mendoza spoke with ESPN Deportes regarding the situation. He stated he has been trying to help the sport by staging tournaments and bouts that would help decrease the number of belts. However, promoters and fighters want gold to make their brand stand out. Mendoza discussed how it must be a group effort to get something done.
“They tell me that there must be only one champion, but they don’t give me solid arguments,” Mendoza stated, via Boxing Scene. “They tell me that [the titles] are devalued, but when we talk about making a tournament to set a single champion, not everyone wants to enter it. When we talk about accepting a champion versus champion fight – not everyone is willing to take part.
“And on the other hand… a boxer with a title does better, a boxer who gets himself a title fight does better, a network that broadcasts a title fight does better, a promoter who has a title fight does better. The same fan [who complains], if he knows there is a title at stake, they are more attentive [to the fight].”
Entities like the WBO and WBC have been working on ways to secure legitimate champions, including tournaments for an interim fighter to face the champion. Ryan Garcia is currently involved in those talks. Undisputed title fights are also in play, especially within the heavyweight division. Outside of that, there are super champions that are elevated to welcome in regular champions.
As far as figuring out a solution, Mendoza discussed taking a page from a certain promotion’s playbook.
“The ideal thing would be to do a tournament like the World Boxing Super Series does, where we have the best and not just the fighters that a promoter or two offers us,” Mendoza went on to say.
World Boxing Super Series, promoted under Sauerland Promotions and Comosa AG, has managed to crown undisputed champions and secure an ultimate winner within the cruiserweight, super-middleweight, super-lightweight, and bantamweight divisions.
Within the WBA, there are currently 39 champions within 17 divisions. Only time will tell if champions will be limited within each division, or if an easier solution will be implemented.