A “Politically Correct” Route to Heavyweight Unification

11.01.07 - By Dave Medd: Every fan wants heavyweight unification, but every fan also knows that boxing politics won’t allow it, right? Wrong. I have a unification solution that satisfies the ABC mandatory obligations that even Don King wouldn’t stop. And, no, Don does not have to be assassinated by the Russian mob. In fact, I think he’d actually like the idea. What needs to be done?

Samuel Peter needs a title shot (he’s the WBC mandatory)
Ray Austin needs a title shot (he’s the IBF mandatory)
Don King needs a shot at a belt he doesn’t already have (because he’s Don King)

wladimir klitschkoIn my perfect world, Oleg Maskaev would receive the grand payday that would go with a unifying fight in Russia versus Wladimir Klitschko, which sounds to be a cash cow the size of Babe the Blue Ox; Oleg’s a grand plugger and it would be good for boxing karma to reward him for his efforts.

Here’s how it can happen: Maskaev inks a deal with Klitschko for a big Moscow IBF title fight and vacates his WBC gimcrack. No Riddick Bowe “garbage can” shenanigans involved; Oleg just signs elsewhere and accepts the stripping. Meanwhile, Austin and Peter sign on to fight for that same vacated belt. HBO gets the former, Showtime the latter.

Those fights happen in early spring, the winners fight in the fall and we have a consensus #1 Heavyweight, plus an eastern European super-fight.

Why does it work?

Klitschko and Maskaev are happy as they hit the “big fight” jackpot in Moscow. Though he loses a belt, Maskaev gets one right back if he wins They even save a sanctioning fee! Austin is happy since he has a “step-aside” deal: he fights for a different belt. Thus, the IBF is happy since their mandatory is happy and their belt ends up around the waist of “the guy” at heavyweight.

On the WBC side, Peter is happy since he now has the title shot he was guaranteed and it’s a very winnable fight against a big guy – it’s a perfect warm up for a future Klitschko match. With Peter happy, the WBC is happy. Secretly, Peter’s people breathe a sigh of relief, as they know their guy could use the extra target practice.

The crowning achievement is that Don King is happy. With this set up, Don is guaranteed a belt since he has interests in both Peter and Austin. The best he could do via the mandatory route is hope that either Peter beats Maskaev (very possible, but not a lock) or that Austin beats Klitschko (highly unlikely). He could end up 0-for-2; this way, he’s 1-for-1 and still has another trip to the plate, and it’s probably his slugger.

The fighters are happy, the ABC’s are happy and the promoters are happy. Even the fans are happy. Granted, Peter/Austin isn’t earth shaking, but we fans still receive, in effect, two unification fights as Klitschko/Maskeav is one in all but name (since Maskeav won’t technically be a title holder) and the dueling winners that follows is one. Besides, Austin is in the mix and there’s no way to get him out. This just makes the best of that bad situation (no offence Ray, but I’m afraid most fans would agree – you’re kind of in the way at the moment).

So, there you go. A pair of unified belts by the time the kids go back to school in September. Now about those other two belts… I guess we’ll just have to wait until next Christmas and ask Santa.

Article posted on 11.01.2007

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