Rating The Sanctioning Bodies

by Paul McCreath: We have all taken our turn at trashing the sanctioning bodies at one time or another. Who has not accused them of corruption, incompetence, stupidity or accepting political influence from promoters or managers? Are they all equally bad or is one organization more respectable than the others? I wanted to research this question and come up with an answer but how could I do that?

We could take a look at the ratings of each group and compare their accuracy but that comes down to a difference of opinion doesn't it? Maybe we would be influenced by our own like or dislike of certain fighters. Trying to rate their decisions has the same problem. There had to be a way that would not involve opinions of mine or anybody else but could we do that? Finally I came up with the answer. It would be necessary to use a numerical rating of the champions of each organization according to an independent ratings body. The names of the champions of each organization, while not necessarily well known, can be looked up and they are not a matter of opinion, but whose ratings would we use as the independent?

Obviously the first thing I thought of was Ring Magazine. Their ratings are fairly well respected and they have no connection with any sanctioning body. There was just one problem with this idea. Ring rates the top 10 in each division but without even looking I was fairly sure that some of the alphabet champions would not even make the Ring's top 10. That would make it impossible to assign a numerical value to every belt holder. We were thus left with two other possibilities that are available to any fan,the computer ratings of the IBO or The IBO is a minor sanctioning body with no special significance except that they are the only alphabet group to rate fighters by using a computer. These ratings include all boxers and while they will differ in some ways from boxrec I suspect one is as good as the other. The choice was easy. The IBO lists the titles held by all boxers on their ratings list and boxrec does not so to save a lot of time I chose the IBO.

For the purposes of this study I decided to look at only the 4 major sanctioning bodies. I wanted to finish my research before I died of old age. There must be another 8 or 10 minor organizations that name champions of "the world". Since some organizations have several world champions I decided to use the highest rated champion of each group for my numerical rating and ignore whether they held the regular, super, interim or whatever world title of that sanctioning body.

I listed the recognized world champions of each of the 4 alphabet groups and assigned a number based on their rating by the IBO. We all know that computer ratings have their weaknesses but at least they are not subject to bribery, political influence or even bias. They are impartial. After adding up the rating of all the champs in each group I divided the total by 17, the number of weight divisions, to reach an average rating for the champions of each organization.

Besides the averages which I will get around to in a moment there were some other interesting findings. Of the 17 number one rated fighters among the belt holders, 7 came from the WBC, 5 from the WBA, 4 from the WBO and 3 from the IBF. I know that adds up to 19 but there are a couple of top ranked fighters who are the champions of more than one organization. Also of interest was the fact that all 4 bodies had at least one champion rated at #10 or lower in the world by the IBO.The number of belt holders rated in the top 5 was very close, 13 for the WBC, 12 for the WBA and 11 each for the WBO and IBF.

Now for the averages. Keep in mind that an average of 1 would be perfect,all 17 divisions with your champ as number 1. The WBC average rating was 3.1, the WBC 4.2, the WBO 4.4 and the IBF 4.8. These numbers were accurate at the time this was written.By the time you read them they may have changed slightly.

Overall there does not appear to be a huge difference in the sanctioning bodies judging by their champions. The WBC comes out a bit better on most counts with the WBA close behind. Some may be surprised that the WBO finished slightly ahead of the IBF. To be honest with you, picking a winner here is like choosing between a toothache and an earache.I would rather they all go away.

Article posted on 13.02.2008

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