The World Boxing Council Heavyweight Rankings Saga

18.11.07 – By Matt Yanofsky: As well documented, the World Boxing Council’s heavyweight situation as been a mess for quite some time. Their “full champion” Oleg Maskaev has not fought since defeating the incredibly undeserving Peter Okhello by unanimous decision in December of 2006. Since then, Samuel Peter won his second eliminator in January 2007 by dominating James Toney and assuring himself a title shot at Maskaev..

vitali klitshkoEnter Vitali Klitchko, who retired as the champion in 2004 after numerous knee injuries. Klitchko announced his plans to fight again and planned to use his champion in emeritus status {meaning that since he retired the champion, he would get an immediate title shot upon approval}. Initially, it appeared that the WBC would sanction the fight between Klitchko and Oleg Maskaev. Maskaev preferred facing Klitchko since he would have earned considerably more money then fighting Peter.

Peter’s promoter, Dino Duva sued the WBC over the ruling and after a long and confusing battle, Duva won. Maskaev was ordered to face Samuel Peter. After long negation issues, the fight was finally staged for October 6th at Madison Square Garden with the bout to be aired on Showtime. Peter was a heavy favorite and Maskaev’s team was still upset over the fact he couldn’t face Klitchko. On September 21st, Maskaev pulled out of the fight citing a back injury.

Peter, who was still scheduled to fight, was named the interim champion by the WBC. Longtime contender Jameel Mccline ended up taking the fight. Mccline was ironically slated to face Vitali Klitchko on September 29th before Klitchko was injured. Mccline shockingly dropped Peter three times in the first three rounds before doing nothing over the next nine, while losing a unanimous decision. Peter, who escaped victorious now, holds the interim belt and a proposed February 2nd, 2008 date with Maskaev. However, the ratings situation does not end there.

In addition to the whole Klitchko situation, the WBC sanctioned an eliminator between Oliver McCall and Juan Carlos Gomez with Gomez ending up the victor. By definition, the winner of the eliminator bout is supposed to be the mandated opponent for the champion. What about Vitali Klitchko? What is his raking if he elects to fight? Why does the WBC have Vladimir Virchis ranked number one if Gomez just won an eliminator? Who is going to face the winner of the fight between Oleg Maskaev and Samuel Peter?

Some of these questions may be impossible to answer. This why WBC President Jose Suliman has elected to stay quiet over the issue, while offering no clarity. Until this whole situation is logically cleaned up, expect to see multiple lawsuits and further corruption in the sport of professional boxing!

Article posted on 18.11.2007

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