Chagaev/Drumond: The Title Mess Continues

By Paul McCreath - On February 7 in Rostock Germany Ruslan Chagaev will meet Carl Davis Drumond in a WBA heavyweight title match. This must be an attempt by the World Boxing Association to prove that they can be just as inept at administering the sport of boxing as their rivals at the WBC. I had thought that the WBC had taken the cake with their confusing set of mandatories and eliminators but this must come at least a close second. Some say these organizations are corrupt and others vote for just incompetence but you have to wonder how either alone would explain the strange decisions we get today from all the alphabet boys..

It is bad enough that we have 4 different major sanctioning bodies all with their own version of who is the world champion in any division. Now we also have world super champions, world regular champions, world interim champions, world champion emeritus (at least that one is gone now) and world champion in recess. I thought there was only one world!

How can anybody keep all this clear in their mind?

I can understand the problem that the WBA had to face. After winning the WBA version of the title from Nicolay Valuev in April of 2007 Chagaev has made only one voluntary defense against Matt Skelton in January a year ago. That means almost 2 years with no mandatory defenses. The reason has been a series of medical problems that have prevented Ruslan from fighting. After his last postponement of his match with the mandatory challenger Valuev in the late summer the WBA had to do something. They could have stripped the title from Chagaev and ordered a bout between their top two contenders for the vacant title or they could have ordered a match for the interim title with the winner to meet Ruslan later for the title proper. Instead they created a new monster: this time called champion in recess which became Chagaev's new status. Is this anything like a champion emeritus and if not what is the difference? At any rate Valuev fought John Ruiz instead and won a close decision to regain a title of some sort. I guess it is the WBA regular or real title or something. I don't know!!!

Now Chagaev is ready to fight again but instead of matching him with Valuev to clarify who is the real belt holder Chagaev is now going to meet Carl Davis Drumond. I have to ask you this: is a champion in recess not one who is not fighting for medical reasons? If so how can he fight and defend the title? If it is the real WBA title then what title does Valuev hold? Does anybody understand this mess?

Now to the actual fight which in reality is nothing more than a tune-up for Chagaev. Ruslan, when he is healthy, is a top calibre fighter that many had rated number two in the world after he won his belt from Valuev. Only Wlad Klitschko was rated higher. His rating has slipped some due to inactivity but he is still top class. He is only 30 years old and is undefeated with 20 wins, 17 by KO. The lone blot on his record came in a controversial technical draw with Rob Calloway in Detroit in October 2002. This was only Ruslan's 6th pro fight and most observers felt it should have been recorded as a KO win for the young prospect. He later set the record straight by stopping Calloway in 2 rounds in Germany in 2006. Chagaev also has decision wins over tough contender Vlad Virchis as well as Ruiz and stopped Michael Sprott in 8 rounds.

Drumond who is 33 years old is a native of Costa Rica and brings a 26-0-0 record with 20 KOs. It sounds good until you look at who he has beaten. The top name is the faded former cruiser champ Kelvin Davis,a 10 round decision in November 2007. Davis lost his next bout to 10 fight novice Eric Fields by KO in 1 round. Carl fought three times in 2008 but all were nothing more than keep busy fights, 2 of them first round KOs. All but one of his bouts during his career have taken place in Costa Rica. He may be a prospect but he is totally unproven at world class level. I think he is in for a rough night although it may be a good fight while it lasts.

If Chagaev comes through this fight a winner as expected he will then apparently meet Valuev again to settle the title issue. That is of course if the Evander Holyfield appeal regarding his fight with Valuev does not complicate things even further. The world awaits the WBA decision with baited breath.

What will it be next?

Article posted on 20.01.2009

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