By Derek Bonnett: The year 2012 is already in its fourth month and boxing fans have not had to hear my rebellious cries against the world sanctioning bodies or their sorry excuses for world championship match-ups due to erroneous rankings systems. Overall, I have been pleased with the efforts of the IBF, WBA, WBC, and WBO thus far. That’s not to say that some questionable match-ups have not been made, but that they were mostly justifiable or, at least, reasonably explained. That was January, February, and March though. As I stated, it is now April and my venomous fingertips have found a whole lot to question, complain about, and expose to curious boxing fanatics. This volume will focus entirely on interim WBA bouts because there seems to be an endless supply of them. I didn’t realize so many champions were injured and/or unable to defend their titles. That still is the reason for creating an interim title, correct?
Apparently, not. On April 14, Jose Alfredo Rodriguez will meet Alberto Rossel for the interim WBA light flyweight title. Just one week later, Roman Gonzalez will be defending the WBA light flyweight title against Roman Garcia Hirales. Can anyone say sanctioning fee? Well, we are all mostly familiar with the WBA’s love for three or more titles per weight class. The upcoming interim clash pits the unbeaten Rodriguez, 28-0 (17), against the 27-8 (13) Rossel. While Rodriguez has feasted mostly on unknown commodities with losing or winless records, he became the interim champion in his last bout when he captured a split decision over Nethri Sasiprapa, a similarly matched fighter with a comparable record. My focus in this bout will center on the challenger, Rossel. His hailing from my father’s homeland won’t protect him from close scrutiny. Rossel, 34, challenged for the WBA title back in 2010 when he was stopped by Hugo Fidel Cazares in nine rounds. He has thrice fought since then going 3-0 (2). Yet, there was nary a contender involved in those match-ups. First, Rossel dispatched the winless Luis Trejo, then 0-13-1 (4), in two rounds. Then he captured a 10 round decision against, get this, "unknown". This mysterious fighter has neither name nor record reported, but managed to last the ten round distance. Maybe, just maybe, he was an unbeaten world champion. Most recently, Rossel dispatched Javier Saquinga, then 5-1-1 (2), in six rounds. Even for an interim title, which are not recognized in the SecondsOut rankings, this is pretty weak preparation for a fight being peddled off as a world championship.
On April 21, on the undercard of Gonzalez-Hirales, another interim WBA belt will be on the line. Jesus Silvestre will meet Edwin Diaz for the 105-pound version of this title or, at least, one of them. You see, in November 2011, Silvestre fought for this very same title, but lost a unanimous decision to Paipharob Kokietgym, awarding Kokietgym the interim title. As of March 2012, Kokietgym still held that title and had not lost. You see where I am going here? Now, without a bout since that defeat, Silvestre, 23-3 (17), will again challenge for the vacant title, which doesn’t appear to be that vacant. Sorry to distract you, but here’s the real issue. Edwin Diaz, the other part of this world championship match-up, is 15-17 (5). Diaz’ longest win-streak is four bouts and he is currently riding three straight. Throughout his career, he has been a bit of a spoiler to some, but his current streak is not something to throw a title shot at. First, he won a rubber-match against Carlos Melo by ten round decision. Melo was once credible, but has only won three bouts since the conclusion of 2008. He then won an eight rounder against Carlos Velarde, previously only beaten by Silvestre, a highly protected Panamanian who feasted on fighters with losing records. Just this year, Diaz won another eight round decision over 3-2-1 Jeyson Cervantes. I love a good Cinderella (Man) story, but does this warrant a number four world ranking. Even Silvestre is beneath Diaz at fifth. The worst part about this is that WBA champion, Akira Yaegashi, is active and currently pursuing a unification bout with WBC counterpart Kazuto Ioka.
On April 28 - boom-boom-boom- or for the third straight week, the WBA will showcase yet another interim champion, this time at super flyweight. This 115-pound interim crown is held by Liborio Solis, 13-3-1 (7). Solis captured the title last time out against Jose Salgado in December. His inaugural defense will come against Argentina’s Santiago Ivan Acosta. Acosta sports a well-rounded 17-8-2 (7) record, but is only 1-7 in his last eight fights! That lone win came against a 6-9-1 boxer. Regardless of facing Omar Andres Narvaez, Luis Concepcion, and Roberto Domingo Sosa, Acosta has not been winning. He’s an opponent, not a world title challenger. Even a pasteurized version of a title needs to hold weightier standards for challengers. The WBA title recently changed hands even though the WBA invalidly labeled Tomonobu Shimizu as a champion in recess for their own purposes. Regardless, Tepparith Singwancha now holds the real belt.
Here are some compelling distinctions about WBA champions and interim WBA champions: all of the WBA champions mentioned in this volume are ranked by SecondsOut. In fact, two are ranked number one. However, none of the six fighters involved in the three interim bouts are ranked or even close to being ranked by SecondsOut. The WBA: you have got to love them. Love them like the court jesters they make themselves out to be with Super champions, champions, and interim champions in every division. The WBA presently ranks Hasim Rahman as the number one heavyweight contender in the world. What is this, 2001? As of the March WBA rankings, there are thirty-five fighters holding Super, World, Interim, or Recess titles across seventeen weight classes. Only three divisions have one WBA champion. Nine divisions have two WBA titlists. Five weight classes have three WBA belt holders.
For further boxing discussion contact Derek DBO Bonnett on Facebook or at firstname.lastname@example.org.
April 11, 2012