It’s the title fight that will not go away: Manuel Charr, holder of a version of the WBA heavyweight title, against long-time inactive contender Fres Oquendo. As fans may recall, back in September of last year, ahead of his scheduled defence against Oquendo, Charr tested positive for two banned substances. Charr claimed his innocence but the fight was scrapped. Until now.
As per a breaking news story from Dan Rafael of ESPN.com, the WBA suspension has been lifted – basically because Charr was entitled to have someone else present on his behalf when his B sample was opened and this did not prove to be the case – and Charr must now defend against 45 year old Oquendo (a man who last boxed in July of 2014, this being a loss to Ruslan Chagaev) within 60 days.
Charr will be tested by Vada, as will Oquendo, and if “Diamond Boy” fails another test he will be suspended again and stripped of his belt. Additionally, the winner of the Charr-Oquendo fight must then defend against the winner of the WBA-ordered Trevor Bryan-Jarrell Miller fight within 120 days of Charr-Oquendo (Bryan being yet another WBA heavyweight champ). The Bryan-Miller fight may not happen, though, as “Big Baby” is very much in line for a shot at full WBA champ Anthony Joshua, perhaps in June of this year.
So what can we expect from Charr Vs. Oquendo? Is this a fight you will even watch, much less pay for? Charr is the much younger man at age 34, and he has overcome much adversity throughout his career. At 31-4(17) Charr has a decent record and fans got behind him when he fought and managed to defeat Alexander Ustinov to win the belt back in November of 2017. Charr will probably be too young, too fast and too aggressive for the woefully inactive Oquendo.
Oquendo, 37-8(24) was a fine operator back in the early to mid 2000s, but now, after so long out of action, it’s impossible to suggest how much he has left. Who knows, Charr-Oquendo might surprise us all and end up being a good fight, but who can honestly call this fight a “world” title bout?