Alphabet Soup: Getting Lost In The Boxing Organizations

Cliff EasthamSenior Writer IIMarch 19, 2010

Where did it all start? Why are there so many governing bodies for boxing?

Well, pull up a chair and Uncle Caesar Cliffius will tell you the story.

A long time ago (actually 1921)  in a place called America, an organization was formed, and called itself the National Boxing Association.

It is the oldest of the four organizations to be recognized by the International Boxing  Hall of Fame.

The first bout that was under the authority of that organization was the heavyweight title fight between Jack Dempsey and  Georges Carpentier.

The NBA  changed its name in 1962 to the World Boxing Association and in 1974 moved its office from the United States to Panama.

The Wikipedia says, "A boxer who holds WBA title is considered by the organization as regular champion. If that champion manages to include a title of a similar weight class which is from another organization (WBC, IBF or WBO) or vice-versa, he/she will be promoted to super champion. In this, their regular title becomes vacant for other WBA-ranked boxers to fight for."

In 1963 in Mexico City, the World Boxing Council was formed. 

The World Boxing Council is recognized by 161 countries, and is made up of nine regional governing bodies, including the North American Boxing Federation and the European Boxing Union.

At odds with the other boxing powers throughout the years, unification talks with the WBA have been made.

The WBC has been charged with being too comfortable with promoter Don King. 

Jack Newfield said, "WBC President Jose Sulaiman became more King's junior partner than his independent regulator." 

British promoter Mickey Duff said, "My complaint is that José Sulaimán is not happy his friend Don King is the biggest promoter in boxing. Sulaiman will only be happy when Don King is the only promoter in boxing."

The WBC can be credited or charged (depending on how you look at it) for reducing the length of a championship bout from 15 rounds to 12, in 1983.

Also in 1983 at a meeting of the WBA, Bob Lee (president of the United States Boxing Association) was unsuccessful in becoming president.

Therefore, Lee and some others withdrew from the convention and decided to go rogue and begin a new governing body.

It was initially called the USBA-International and headquartered in New Jersey.

Lee resigned in 1999 amid conviction of racketeering for violations in taking bribes for higher rankings of boxers (outlaws in boxing, come on now).

In 1988 at another convention of the WBA several businessmen left that camp due to rule changes. 

They called the new body, the World Boxing Organization.  For instant credibility former Light heavyweight Champ Jose Torres was the president until 1996.
In 1989 they selected Francesco Damiani and Johnny DuPlooy to fight for their heavyweight title. Talk about scraping the bottom of the barrel.

So here we sit with four governing boxing authorities that do not even recognize each other's fighters in some cases.

For example, the WBC recognizes Andre Berto as its Welterweight Champion but doesn't rate any of the other champions (i.e. Shane Mosley, Manny Pacquiao, Jan Zaveck).

They have Floyd Mayweather as the No. 1 contender followed by Luis Collazo.

In the Super Middleweight division they claim Carl Froch as their standard bearer, while disregarding Andre Ward, Lucian Bute, and Robert Stieglitz. 

Their No. 1 contender is Arthur Abraham followed by Andre Dirrell and Mikkel Kessler.

And around and around we go.

So, kiddies that is how we fell into this bowl of alphabet soup, why we have so many champions, and why the champions do not fight each other.

I mean, come on shouldn't Pacquiao or Zaveck be first in line for a shot at Berto? Just sayin'.

Recognizing your Middleweight Champion as Middleweight Champion makes perfect sense to me. 

Even though some may think that Kelly Pavlik isn't the best in the world, you can still call him that.

But come on, shouldn't Felix Sturm or Sebastian Sylvester be first in line instead of Gennady Golovkin?

Run on off to bed now and next time Uncle Cliffy will tell you why the referee isn't the judge, jury, and executioner by himself anymore.


Source: The Wikipedia