No true boxing fan holds any admiration for the alphabet soup organizations that control the title belts: the WBA, WBC, IBF, WBO, and others. I must admit I sometimes find their antics amusing, in the sense that they add the colors of shameless stupidity and corruption to the modern history of the sport. Past that very mixed statement, there is nothing positive to say about them, and at ProBoxing-Fans.com our disgust eventually reached a point where we abandoned them altogether and name our own world champions.
A case in point is what the WBC has done with its green heavyweight belt since Vitali Klitschko, the new mayor of Kiev, vacated it in retirement. Haitian-Canadian Bermane Stiverne had won their mandatory challenger’s slot by beating Chris Arreola in a boring, but decisive fashion, but that didn’t matter to the WBC. Rather than choose another of their contenders to fight Stiverne for their belt, they sent in Arreola again. This time around, Arreola broke his hand in the 4th and got stopped in the 6th, so at least the result was somewhat more exciting for whatever spectators there were.
Stiverne vs. Arreola II made it crystal clear that what the WBC was seeking to do was bring their title to the United States and position themselves as the “American world heavyweight championship” as opposed to Wlad Klitschko’s supposedly European version. I say this because Stiverne is Canadian, Arreola is American, and the guy they ordered the winner of Stiverne vs. Arreola II to fight is also an American: Deontay Wilder.
Wilder is the man who saved the U.S. Olympic Boxing Team from the disgrace of not bringing back a single medal from the Beijing Games when he won heavyweight bronze. He is one of America’s hottest heavyweight prospects, although one with a lot of question marks hung around his neck. I suppose Wilder makes as much sense for a #1 contender as anyone else does at this point, but he certainly should have had to do more to earn that status than beat Malik Scott (Wilder knocked Scott out in a single round).
If you doubt my claim that the WBC is clearly working an all-North America angle, this weekend’s results should make things crystal clear. Bryant Jennings, America’s other hot heavyweight prospect, eeked out a very close victory over undefeated Cuban boxer Mike Perez. Adding a little spice to the encounter is that Perez was docked a point for hitting on the break in the final round, despite the fact that referee Harvey Dock had seemingly not issued any clear warnings up to that point. Warning a fighter is customary, so much so that many times referees issue warning after warning without deducting a single point.
In this instance, Dock took a point away on the spot for a relatively middling offense, and that point made the difference between Jennings earning a Split Decision and being saddled with a Draw. Add to that the WBC’s declaration that in the wake of his victory, Jennings was becoming the mandatory challenger for whoever wins Stiverne vs. Wilder, and the American-championship angle is front and center.
So the WBC’s agenda should now be crystal clear: their heavyweight crown is in North America, and there it shall stay. Contenders from elsewhere need not apply, not unless they are handpicked cream-puffs. Finally, making a Wilder vs. Jennings mega-fight to cement their new role as the “American world heavyweight championship” is a top priority.