The World Boxing Association President Gilberto Mendoza made a promise to fans a while back, he’d begin the process of eradicating the controversial ‘regular’ titles from existence.
Starting with the heavyweight division, Mendoza announced a 2013 tournament to crown one sole champion and disband the lesser belt forever.
Five years on, and the WBA recently brought the interim championship back into play, something which has since disappointed all of boxing.
Not only is the interim strap on the scene again, it was recently contested by two fighters who it could be argued didn’t earn the right inside the ropes.
BJ Flores, a former cruiserweight contender who was inactive for fourteen months, lost his last fight at crusierweight and overcame two boxers with 18 losses between them, was paired with undefeated Trevor Bryan earlier this month and was KO’d in four rounds.
For his part – Bryan, 28, has amassed what looks a decent record initially, but if you tear off the top layer seems unfathomable how he could even be put forward for the opportunity.
In his first nine bouts, Bryan’s opponent had a total of 21 wins between them, and since then the reading doesn’t get much better.
Ten boutsinand Bryan’s opponent was 14-15, followed by 2-3, 32-7 (over six rounds), 40-20, 6-19 and 16-16. The New Yorker’s greatest career win came against Derric Rossy (30-9) in his next outing, although his foe on that occasion was firmly into also-ran status.
Following that August 2015 victory up with a year’s absence, Bryan came back to beat 44-33 Galen Brown, before earning his shot at the WBA strap by defeating two fighters with just FOUR WINS in 48 BOUTS between them.
The WBA have often been criticised for their striking rankings system, with the likes of entrepreneurJoe Fournier ranked number eleven in the world at light-heavyweight, Rob Brant mandatory for the middleweight title after losing his previous fight at the higher 168 pound limit and Guillermo Jones in the top ten at heavyweight despite failing a drugs test, being banned from the sport and fighting just once in two years but things seem to be getting worse before they get better.
Credibility was on the wain in the past, and unless something is done to rectify the situation, Mendoza will face seeing the WBA fall into an abyss suffered by other organizations in the past.
Putting the five current major bodies together, the WBA courts the most flak from fans and journalists alike, with the need to expunge the ‘regular’, ‘interim’ and ‘Champion in Recess’ belts more needed than ever for the WBA to once again thrive in the sport.
Phil Jay is Editor of World Boxing News. Follow on Twitter @PhilDJay