If you are like most educated boxing fans, you know that as awesome as Manny Pacquiao is, he is in no way shape or form the junior middleweight world champion.
This is no knock on Pacquiao. If anyone deserves to be handed a title or two for what they have done for the sport, it's him. However, his "title fight" with Antonio Margarito makes him nothing more than the Bob Arum 150-pound champion.
I also certainly don't mean to single out Pacquiao and Top Rank, as this type of thing happens all over boxing these days. The reason I mention them is because it is just the most recent example of a widespread and disturbing trend of meaningless championships.
This got me thinking: What would boxing look like in a perfect world? What would be a more fair way to crown champions?
Ladies and gentlemen, welcome to the Dream World Boxing Council...
One champion per weight class, period. There are no silver titles, no interim titles, no temporary super champion emeritus titles. You become champion by either beating the man who has the title, or by being a top contender and then beating another one if the title becomes vacant.
No catch-weights in title fights. If you want to be a welterweight champion, you need to beat somebody who at least has the opportunity to come in at 147 pounds. Catch-weight title fights have gotten so ridiculous that before you know it you will see David Haye trying to get Wladimir Klitschko in a 201-pound heavyweight championship fight. If you want to have a catch-weight dream fight between two different-sized boxers, that's fine, but the little guy doesn't deserve a world title for beating a weight-drained bigger man.
Rankings will be done by Boxrec, or a similar independent computer formula. The commission itself has no control over where somebody is ranked, and therefore has no reason to corrupt the rankings. If Ray Austin is seriously fighting to be a top-ranked heavyweight contender in the near future, please help us God.
Real prizefights. Purses go 60-40 to the winner. Tired of the Josh Clotteys and Audley Harrisons of the world showing up just to collect a check and not throwing any punches? Wouldn't see that happen if part of their paycheck was on the line. Of course, of all the rules of conjured up here, this is probably the least realistic, but hey, it's my fantasy, right?
Random drug testing for every title fight. Look, forget about Manny Pacquiao and Floyd Mayweather for a second: This is the right thing to do. While it is too much to ask to do this for every single fight, it is certainly reasonable to say that if you want to be considered a world champion, we need to know that you are clean. Cyclists, swimmers, gymnasts and countless other athletes in the Olympics take these tests and still perform at a world-class level; boxers could do the same. Remember also that in those sports, nobody is going to get killed if someone cheats.
You must defend your title twice a year or be stripped of it. If you have a legit injury, you must be examined by an independent doctor appointed by the commissioner to apply for an extension. Fighters granted injury extensions can defend only once in a year, but anything less than that and they are stripped. If a fighter has to be out a full year with a legit injury, they will be stripped of their title, but allowed first chance to win it back once they become healthy.
Obviously the Dream World Boxing Council is nothing but that—a dream. The politics of boxing would never allow something so fair and sensible, but as fans we can always wish, can't we? Anybody else have ideas for the perfect boxing organization, let's hear what you got...