by Matt McGrain: The WBA currently recognises two heavyweight world champions. The WBA “Super” champion (you read that right) is Wladimir Klitschko. For most people, Wladimir is recognised as the best heavyweight on the planet currently. The second best is his brother, Vitlali Klitschko.
Vitali is not ranked amongst the WBA’s top contenders, because Vitali is the world champion for a rival organisation.
Meanwhile, the second champion the WBA recognises is Alexander Povetkin. He is the “World” champion (remember when that meant something?). Povetkin is Wladimir’s most notorious serial-ducker. His own people have not been shy about advertising the theory that Povetkin is not yet ready for Wladimir.
In other words, the WBA’s World champion and “Super” champion are unlikely to meet. The WBA gave Povetkin the shot at Chagaev knowing that this was likely to be the case, and when it indisputably became the case, instead of stripping Povetkin, they lined up Cedric Boswell, Marco Huck and Hasim Rahman for him as “title” defences and continued to merrily collect their sanctioning fees. Rahman, ranked as the #1 contender for Povetkin’s last defence, struggled badly with the arena steps due to shot knees and offered absolutely no resistance in an embarrassing capitulation once he had hauled his once impressive frame through the ropes. Rahman attained his #1 status by beating such luminaries as Galen Brown (2-2 in his last four), Marcus Magee (2-1-0-1 in his last four), Damon Reed (2-2 in his last four) and Shannon Miller (2-1-0-1 in his last four). He hadn’t been scheduled to box twelve rounds since his 2008 destruction at the hands of, you’ve guessed it, “Super” champion Wladimir Klitschko.
Clear? As mud.
I’m picking on the WBA, but you know it could be any one of the four organisations that supply rankings for active fighters (or inactive fighters – Darrin Morris was twice promoted in the WBO super-middleweight rankings in 2001, after 27 months of inactivity and his tragic death). I know you know that because here you are – any boxing fan interested enough to come to this website and open this article knows that the governing bodies are a bad joke, all.
We fans, none of us look to these boxing rankings for actually guidance as to what was really happening in the world of fights. The con was over, true, but the racket was in full swing, only now in the clear light of day. We ignore them. When an organisation like this names a #1 contender it has nothing to do with the quality of the fighter in question and we know that.
I think the day that boxing fans became sophisticated enough to know that was a big day for the sport.
This is a view likely shared by Springs Toledo, Cliff Rold and Tim Starks, all of whom tendered their resignation to the Ring rankings committee in order to pursue TBR’s goals . It is they, in tandem with Stewart Howe (who oversees technical aspects of the website) who have co-founded The Transnational Boxing Board, of which I and twenty-one other writers and record keepers who believe in boxing are now members.
The basic tenants are simple. As The Wall Street Journal put it this week, “The TBR’s goal is to create a set of clearer (and cleaner) rankings in a hugely muddled sport.”
TBR is non-profit, and all members work on a voluntary basis. Nobody is paid for their time or effort. This is because there is no way to generate income. We are beholden to nobody but the boxing public, associated with no fighter, promotional company or organisation. As the name suggests, members are drawn from more than a dozen different countries and it is these members who generate and safeguard the TBR’s rankings. Rankings are managed democratically and each member is free to hold forth on any fighter inside or out-with the top-ten for each division. Each month, the rankings are updated on the TBR homepage, and, I am delighted to be able to say, on Eastside Boxing.
East Side Boxing has agreed to adopt our rankings. This puts them at the cutting edge of what is the internet boxing community’s first cohesive effort at putting together a serious ratings panel. We, both at Eastside and at the TBR, want you to use them. These are YOUR rankings. Please visit TBR’s website to see those rankings, the list of current members and our detailed charter:
Alternatively, visit ESB’s dedicated boxing rankings page, the link for which is on the main page’s banner.
Also in the spirit of transparency in which the TBR was founded, I’ll be providing regular updates right here. Furthermore, from next month we’ll be anchoring a thread relating to the TBR right at the top of the General Boxing Forum allowing general discussion amongst this site’s members pertaining to this month’s changes – and the following month.
It’s your forum and it is your chance to voice your opinion upon them. Any points of interest raised on the forum can be brought back to the board by me for consideration. That is not to say that your favourite is going to be ranked higher any more than it means a Don King fighter or an Oscar De La Hoya fighter can receive favours. But it does mean you have a voice.
Get involved. We need your support and over the next few months and years we hope to earn it.