Phony rankings still dominate boxing
Whether the old century or new century, some things never change – especially in boxing.
I just looked at the latest rankings from the IBF that were published in the January issue of Ring Sports magazine and also received the latest rankings from the IBC. They are a good example of what’s wrong with boxing these days.
The IBF, considered one of the three major boxing organizations along with the WBA and WBC, and the IBC, considered a minor organization, are no different than the other major and minor sports organizations around these days.
Every organization has its favorites when it comes to champions and rankings. With more than two dozen of these so-called “alphabet” groups around, not only are the fans confused, but so are many boxing people. They continue to promote and put up with these groups because of television and their thirst to air nothing but title fights.
That’s why there are so many champions and titles around. In addition to world champions, they all have regional champions, continental champions, east of the Mississippi champions and so on.
Heck, let’s start our own group right here in Carson City. We’ll call it the ABC (Alan’s Boxing Champions) organization, buy a few championship belts and we’re in business. We can have the east of Curry Street champion, the north of Highway 50 champion and so forth.
Anyway, the reason I bring this to your attention is because of those ratings I just received. Phony might be too harsh a word to use, but these guys play weird games with the rankings. I suspect if you have the right amount of money, you can get a top ranking for your fighter, regardless of record or ability.
Let’s start with the IBF. It ranks the top three in each weight class. Of course, since Lennox Lewis just won the IBF heavyweight crown, he is their champion. David Tua is ranked the No. 1 contender for Lewis. Then the fun starts.
The No. 2 ranking is blank! Just a vacant spot. John Ruiz is ranked No. 3. It sure makes it appear that the No. 2 spot is there for the buying – or for someone to slip into that spot with a payoff or when some “inside politics” occurs.
Same thing in the light-heavyweight division. Roy Jones is the IBF champ, but after that comes a couple of names you’ve probably never heard of, plus a “vacant” spot.
The No. 1 contender to Jones is Antonio Tarver. No. 2 is vacant and No. 3 is Mohammed Sulivanji. Household names in the sport of boxing, eh?
Same in the middleweight division. The No. 2 spot is vacant and you’ve probably never heard of Nos. 1 and 3. Starting to get the picture?
To make a long column short, this same situation exists in the other weight classes too. The IBF has eight “vacant” spots in their rankings to be filled – we can assume money is the key to open those spots to fighters who don’t deserve them.
There are two notes I’d like to make. I think if a spot is vacant, the next highest ranked contender should move up. How can you have a No. 1 and No. 3 but no No. 2? Shouldn’t No. 3 move up to No. 2? The IBF is facing a multitude of legal charges regarding its rankings and champions. The real reason the IBF is charged and the other major organizations aren’t – the all do the same thing – is because the IBF is based in this country and the others aren’t.
As for the IBC, they do the same as the other minor groups when it comes to playing games. They are just a bit more bold. They leave their championships blank and fill in the name when they get someone who they can do business with.
For example, the IBC lists no heavyweight champion at all. No middleweight or super-middleweight champion, either. In fact, they have no champion in nine of their weight classes. Even the weight classes that do have champions seem to be phony and the IBC’s top-10 rankings are sprinkled with names nobody ever heard of.
The IBC doesn’t have Jones as light-heavy champ. It lists some chump named Salvatore Di Salvatore as its champion. It’s the same problem in the divisions where a champion is named. We all know Felix Trinidad beat Oscar De La Hoya and is the welterweight champ. Not in the IBC.
Their welterweight champion is one Carlos Baldomir and in the top-10 for rankings for that title you won’t find the names of Trinidad or De La Hoya anywhere.
Again, I could go on, but you can see by these examples what is going on in professional boxing and it’s a shame! The organizations confuse the fans and dilute the rankings and championships.
All the organizations do the same thing and it stinks! We need a “Commissioner of Boxing” in this country to put these bad practices to rest and get back to one champion per weight class and an honest top- 10 rating system.
I doubt that will happen in my lifetime, but maybe if fans and other boxing writers start complaining loudly – and stop buying into these phony champions and ratings – something will eventually get done.
n This week the TV fights start at weird times again. Friday night the ESPN2 live card starts at 7:30 p.m. That’s after the hockey game ends. The main event figures to be good. Undefeated Irene Pacheco defends his flyweight title against another undefeated fighter, Pedro Pena.
Pacheco, whom I assume can fight because with a first name like Irene he had to be in lots of fights as he grew up, is 23-0 with 18 KO’s. Pena is 16-0 with 8 KO’s.
Saturday night live on HBO will be Roy Jones defending his light- heavyweight title against unknown David Telesco. Jones, a prohibitive favorite, is 41-1 while Telesco is listed at 23-3. The telecast begins at 6:45 p.m.
Alan Rogers is the Nevada Appeal boxing writer.