The Big Question: Is it time for the WBA to be derecognised?

Boxing Monthly
03/11/2015 12:29pm

The WBA's pursuit of a sanctioning fee seems to be spiralling out of control. On the back of its bizarre decision to recognise two interim 160lbs champs within a fortnight and claim 43 'world champions' on its website (unable to keep pace with its belt distribution the sanctioning body overlooked Luis Ortiz and Alfonso Blanco) - is it time to derecognise the WBA? Even SkyBet now refuses to take bets on a fighter winning a WBA 'world' title due to the organisation’s farcical number of ‘world champions’. The sanctioning body subsequently added insult to injury by demoting 'WBA Super' 122lbs champ Gulliermo Rigondeaux for inactivity while still recognising Andre Ward who has not defended his 168lbs belt in two years (in which time Rigondeaux defended three times). Last week 95% of those polled by BM agreed it was time to ‘stop the madness’ and derecognise the WBA. Now Boxing Monthly's online team give their verdict in this week's 'Big Question’.

The WBA has become a parody of a sanctioning body, to the extent where the acronym should now stand for: 'We Belt Anyone'.

The sanctioning of two interim title fights, involving four different fighters, on two separate continents, two weeks apart eroded away the last vestiges of credibility they had.

The WBA has sold its soul with a business model that puts cash ahead of credibility. Sadly, there is no quick fix. The reason the sanctioning body can do this is due to the fact that there is a demand for these 'regular' and 'interim' belts. Promoters can sell more tickets with a world title fight topping the bill and, in the multi-belt era, only the most diehard of boxing fans can keep track of which titles are legitimate.

It's easy to place the blame squarely on the WBA but promoters have to shoulder their portion of it, too. If they didn't have the need to mislead the public with sham world title fights then there wouldn't be the demand for these secondary and tertiary titles. - John A. MacDonald.

The WBA seems to have decided to give up any pretense of credibility over the past couple of weeks. I don’t think totally derecognising them is the answer to the problem, though. 

Immediately dismissing any WBA title may well clear the sport of the ridiculous interim and regular titles but would also strip some fine champions of their hard earned titles.

For example, should Anthony Crolla beat Darleys Perez later this month, he would become a legitimate world champion. Would he deserve to have an asterisk placed next to his achievement purely because he won a WBA title? Maybe that’s the saddest part of the whole situation. Becoming a world champion is pinnacle of the sport and the WBA has diluted the accomplishment to such an extent that some very good fighters are having their efforts diminished. 

The WBA is seemingly beyond help so the responsibility is on promoters to simply refuse to use these invented titles and knowledgeable fans and media to avoid any mention of any WBA belt holder but the man regarded as the ‘Super Champion’.

It’s an utterly farcical situation. - John Evans.

Imagine you're trying to get your young son into boxing; how does one go about explaining how any one of the seventeen divisions in boxing can have up to three ‘champions’ within one single sanctioning organization? The madness!!! "Dad, how can Ruslan Chagaev be the WBA champion when the undisputed champion, Wladimir Klitschko won every second of every round in their fight years ago?"  "Well you see, son.....umm....well...let's just turn on the football game." 

My guess is that the WBA figured out something boxing writers learned a long time ago - fighters love belts. The rules need not make sense, so long as the cheques clear to cover those sanctioning fees. Andre Ward, who hasn't fought in the super-middleweight division in two years, is somehow the WBA 'super' champion at 168 pounds. Floyd Mayweather, who hasn't fought at junior middleweight in over two years AND IS RETIRED, is somehow the WBA 'super' champion at 147 and 154 pounds.  On and on it goes.  The saddest part is that the WBA has more history in the sport of all the sanctioning bodies, going all the way back to its ‘NBA’ (National Boxing Association) days.

So while this writer would love to throw out the WBA and never look back, we all know this won't happen. Fighters love belts, so do promoters, managers, trainers and even the networks. Thanks to the whores at the WBA, seemingly every televised bout these days is a title bout. I mean hey, why advertise a card as "just a regular fight" when you can label it "a must see world championship fight"?! - Michael Montero.

In my mind, there's no question that it's time the WBA becomes unrecognized as a legitimate world championship in the sport of boxing. With seemingly unlimited interim champions, bizarre champion in recess clauses and a plethora of other questionable business practices, it's time we stop referring to them as a legitimate world title.

The next question, of course, is trying to establish how we go about doing that. - Shawn W. Smith.

The WBA has gone from being THE world title, to the biggest joke in boxing.

The entire ‘Super’ world title is beyond stupid (thanks Lennox Lewis, for inspiring this idea.....although, to be fair, the WBA changed it for its own gain) as it means the regular championship is rendered meaningless.  What on earth the interim titles are all about, other than trying to keep extra boxers as ‘WBA-fighters’, is beyond me.

How the heck can you have four WBA champs in a division [Golovkin, Jacobs, Eubank Jr and Blanco] - it was bad enough having four world champs of different bodies.

However, I don't think derecognising the WBA is the answer, sadly. - Colin Harris.

On a domestic level, I used to think the interim belt was worth less than a British title. Now I know that none of the WBA straps are worthy of being mentioned in the same sentence as the word 'Lonsdale'.

Calling the WBA a farce is complimentary. Embarrassing is accurate and damaging to the boxing championship ratings is factual. - Paul Zanon.

Even though the WBA officially jumped the shark when it sanctioned a second interim title in a division (middleweight), which already had two active title-holders in Daniel Jacobs and Gennady Golovkin, the run up to the jump-started in 2011 when it began sanctioning ‘regular’ title fights. Once the WBA realised fans and fighters will buy anything with a gold plate on a piece of leather all bets were off. The brutal truth is belts help sell tickets and promoters love money as much as fighters love belts so the weight of responsibility falls on the shoulders of the boxing media. We have to stop promoting their belts, we must start treating these titles with the disdain they deserve. It won't solve everything but it will be a start. - Callum Rudge.