Belts and more belts, Max Warrens feels it’s much adieu about nothing
We all know that belts have been losing their distinction and worth in boxing for quite some time. With the World Boxing Council promoting Canelo Alvarez to “Franchise” champion and naming Jermall Charlo the “Regular” champion, many are upset that there are now six legitimate championship belts at middleweight rather than the typical four.
Despite some uproar, this recent development isn’t as big of deal as a lot of people around boxing are making it out to be.
Charlo wasn’t suddenly considered to be a fighter of an entirely different stature once the WBC named him the “Regular” champion, rather than being labeled the “Interim” champion. Same thing goes for Canelo’s new “Franchise” title. The World Boxing Association also recognizes two major champions within its organization, the titles of “Super” and “Regular” champion.
Why doesn’t the WBC have the right to do the same? Perhaps the new declaration from the WBC could increase the likelihood that Canelo and Charlo eventually face each other, which would allow them to consolidate the two WBC titles.
Moreover, the championship bout between Jermall Charlo and Brandon Adams didn’t turn into a bigger fight simply due to the WBC’s announcement. Sanctioning bodies don’t determine the legitimacy of match-ups; the fighters do. Fans don’t decide to watch fights on the basis that they are championship bouts. Boxing is not like other American professional sports in which a championship is a grand occasion no matter who is a part of it.
Boxing is a star-driven sport, and the quality of combatants determines the merit of the event. For example, highly-touted British heavyweight contender Dillian Whyte hasn’t won a heavyweight title, but Charles Martin was able to win a vacant IBF heavyweight world title belt in 2016. Yet, it’s highly unlikely that anyone knowledgeable about boxing would rate Martin higher than Whyte.
A fighter doesn’t need a belt for fans to decide whether he or she is good or not. By no means are championship belts the be-all and end-all of boxing.
Fans have the ability to think for themselves and decide who they view as the legitimate champion at middleweight. For the most part, there is typically one fighter who stands apart from the rest of a division in terms of skill and merit. As a matter of fact, it wouldn’t be insane for someone to say that they consider Gennady Golovkin to be the actual middleweight champion, even though he no longer holds a belt. He arguably defeated Canelo Alvarez both times they squared off, and those are the only two occasions Golovkin didn’t get his hand raised at the end of a professional fight.
All things considered, it’s not up to sanctioning bodies to decide for us what really matters and what doesn’t. Having more championship belts is not going to hurt the sport by any means.