This past Saturday, Uzbek contender and former heavyweight titlist Ruslan Chagaev defeated Fres Oquendo in Grozny, Russia to capture the fake WBA heavyweight championship. I say “fake” because, as we at Proboxing-Fans.com have had cause to note many times over the last few years, the real WBA belt adorns the waist of World Heavyweight Champion Wladimir Klitschko (pictured above). Of course, Klitschko and Chagaev met in the summer of 2009, in what was then a major heavyweight showdown, with Klitschko earning a dominant 9th rd stoppage victory.
Here, Chagaev was reportedly in lousy shape and ran out of gas after five rounds, allowing Oquendo to get into the fight and hold him to a squeaker of a Majority Decision.
This Grozny main had a lot to recommend it on paper, though. “The White Tyson” is a fairly serious heavyweight, after all, if decidedly un-Tysonesque. “Fast” Fres Oquendo was never more than a fringe contender, but even at age 41 he still has enough stuff left in the tank to count as a reasonable gatekeeper. Although the title at stake was a fraud, it was still a title, if in name only. The fight had some entertainment potential, and represented the first serious step in what will likely prove Chagaev’s last serious run as a contender.
And yet the fight attracted zero attention outside of Russia, despite it having no major competition on the boxing scene last weekend. That cannot be blamed on the Grozny venue either, since fights in Russia can and do receive decent coverage in Europe. The run up to the fight received little coverage whatsoever, and the results have received only slightly more, all of it negative. In other words, if anyone cared about Chagaev vs. Oquendo, it was only to complain.
It’s a fitting fate for an event sanctioned using the WBA’s ludicrous practice of creating a second (fake) world championship whenever their belt becomes part of a unified title, drawing on the #3 and #4 contenders in a ranking list that bears little resemblance to the true state of the heavyweight division (even Chagaev is not in our Top 10, although he might squeeze into our Top 20 if we were feeling generous). This kind of farce is exactly why Proboxing-Fans.com switched to recognizing its own champions.
If only the laughable WBC title fight rematch between Bermane Stiverne and Chris Arreola received the same utter lack of attention, for just like Chagaev vs. Oquendo, it deserved none as well.