In every sport, there is a desire for titles. Boxing is no exception; championship belts make boxing exiting. It’s only natural to want to win as many as possible. However, there is a very suspicious abundance of championships in boxing, and that’s because these bouts are also a chance for boxing authorities to claim yet an even larger piece of the action. Let’s take a look at the lucrative title-holding business.
Every boxing fan has come across this situation: “cool, my favorite boxing prospect is rising through the ranks! He just won the super silver extra McTriple diamond youth international subcontinental championship belt.” That’s all well and good, but eventually you end up asking yourself whether handing out a title like that is really necessary.
It is. There’s money involved. So shut up.
As if there weren’t enough world champions already because of the four mayor sanctioning bodies (something I will discuss another time), we have all these kinds of “special” belts. And all these belts come with sanctioning fees to be disputed.The WBC is an expert on this, but others don’t fall far behind.
A quick look at the numbers tells me that aside from “registration fees” for titles from promoters, boxers can pay from a couple hundred to a couple thousand to a few hundred thousand dollars, depending on the total purse of the fight. Of course, there are also undisclosed charges for the belt itself and even shipping, if it were necessary. I wonder if the WBA ships faster than Amazon.
Notable cases of boxers refusing to pay these ludicrous fees include Lewis vs Holyfield in 1999, when the IBF wouldn’t hand Lewis the belt because he hadn’t paid the $300,000 sanctioning fee. More recently, Mayweather refused to pay the WBA $675,000 to sanction his title fight against Shane Mosley back in 2010. And Mosley was actually not the regular WBA world champion, he was the WBA Super World Champion; the “super” world championship is an idea the other governing bodies kick themselves for not coming up with first.
Don’t even get me started on the Interim World Championships. Or simultaneous titles in different weight classes. Or sour Skittles, I hate those.
I’d like to do a quick recap of some titles that aren’t the world championship. The problem is there are simply too many. Add the fact that most regional federations have their titles sanctioned by the major governing bodies, and you have more gold than an Indiana Jones movie. You obviously can’t be, say, the WBC Baltic and WBC Asian titleholder at once. So let me propose a feasible scenario:
You follow the up-and-coming metaphorical welterweight Patricio “el Pato” Garza. He’s the perfect combination of speed and power (and good looking, too!). Let’s assume further that he’s from southern Mexico and is 19 years old. Turned pro at age 16 and is undefeated, so he’s ready for some titles, though not the world championship. Here’s a list of the title fights his promoter could get him.
– WBC FECARBOX
– WBC FECOMBOX
– WBC Silver
– WBC International
– WBC International Silver
– WBC Latino
– WBC Mundo Hispano
– WBC Youth Intercontinental
– WBC Youth Silver
– WBC Youth World
– Mexico (WBC sanctioned)
– NABF Junior
Wow, that’s a bright future for our boy! He’ll have enough bling hanging from him to do a rap video. And this is only for WBC plus a couple NABF belts. The WBA and WBO have similar counterparts, but listing them all would take a while and lunch is almost ready. I think I’ve made my point. That’s 13 different belts apart from the world championship. With 17 divisions, that means 238 titles out there. And that number would double if I added the ones I missed. Let that sink in.
So if you’ve scored a couple of knockouts at your local bar, you might be eligible for a title shot– If you’re willing to pay for sanctioning, that is.