WBA welterweight picture clearer following Manny Pacquiao retirement
World Boxing Association chiefs brainstormed earlier this year in a bid to drop title belts, particularly in the welterweight division.
With former super champion and “Champion in Recess” Manny Pacquiao retiring, two honors were merged into one as the Filipino Senator got named “Champion of the Century” in its place.
Confusion reigned as Pacquiao was firstly stripped of the super strap and given the “Recess” moniker. The “Pacman” then lost to new super champion Yordenis Ugas.
Upon hanging up his gloves, Pacquiao no longer holds an official title with the WBA, leaving Ugas and Jamal James on a collision course with the organization.
James is currently “Regular Champion,” – but with the WBA wanting to put less emphasis on that belt, Ugas will meet the American if he comes through his next test.
Once that is in the books, there should be one sole champion left. The situation arises after Gabriel Maestre also got stripped of the interim championship.
Releasing a statement on James, the WBA confirmed the date and venue of his next bout.
“Jamal James and Radzhab Butaev will fight for the World Boxing Association (WBA) Welterweight World title on October 30 at the Virgins Hotel in Las Vegas, Nevada.
“Premier Boxing Champions is promoting the bout, to be broadcast by Showtime and will be part of the WBA-mandated box-off to define a single champion at 147 pounds.
“It will be the first defense of James’ title. After defeating Thomas Dulorme in August last year, he won the interim title and got elevated to champion on February 4.
“Meanwhile, Butaev was waiting for this opportunity after having fought Alexander Besputin, who tested positive for banned substances.
“Now, the Russian will have his chance to fight for the black and gold belt.
“The winner of this fight will have to fight the winner of Yordenis Ugas vs. his mandatory challenger, Lithuanian Eimantas Stanionis, who will fight for the super championship in the next few months.
“Once the box-off is over, there will be only one champion in the category.
“James has a record of 27 wins, one loss, and 12 knockouts. While Butaev has a record of 13 wins, one loss, and ten knockouts.”
Since abolishing all interim titles, the WBA titles dropped from 55 recognized belt holders to just 28.
Fans want just seventeen, one in every weight class. And rightly so.