Organizations should exist with rankings, the safety of the fighters and validating titles. Interim Champions should be the exception, not the rule. The National Boxing Authority has within its rule a 120-day extension when a fighter is ill, injured or going through a legal matter providing there is documentation to supports the issues noted. No Champion should have a replacement because they have earned that right of extension. The NBA rule is there for all fighters. In the (1-4 month-period) where a champion might be sidelined for legitimate reasons why confuse the boxing world with more Champions. The former Champion has to recapture titles they never lost in the ring and that isn’t acceptable. Should a Champion be out longer than that the NBA can consider an interim champion; however, where the Champion timetable for return is unknown the title should be vacated and a new Champion crowned. The contenders have earned their way up the fistic ladder in the same pursuit.
When any Champion is active the reason for an interim Champion absolutely boggles the mind and taints the worth of title belts and further makes people suspicious of those belts. The National Boxing Authority believes all belts should be won and lost in the ring; however, none of us can predict or stop legitimate reasons from existing. This is why we have a 120 rule from the get go. Clarity for fighters is a must and for the boxing community. I, like everybody else would love to see a one Champion per division reality, given the boxing climate this is unlikely to occur, still, the NBA will unify any title anywhere because contenders and champions have earned this right.
For us, stripping Champions is the last resort. In some legitimate cases it has to occur because the health, violations or legal impediments or crisis situation occurring in the individual’s life cannot be remedied. Working to resolve the issues should always be front and center.
I hope the sport and those that aim to enhance its reputation remember that their roles are crucial and getting it right is a must. Boxing careers and safety is primary, as is letting the fans see the best fighting the best as often as possible where title are at stake. Sometimes, organizations are faced with the highest available contenders challenging for titles because of existing contractual agreements. That said – whenever possible showcasing deserving fighters enhance the sport at its core – credibility matters to the fans and none more to the fighters themselves.
The National Boxing Authority will under no circumstance allow any challenger to fight for any title with consecutive KO losses. That rule has no flexibility. It’s in place ultimately for safety reasons. Under our amended rule no challenger with three consecutive losses can challenge for any title either. In caring for fighters it’s up to them to have credentials that earn title shots.
I honestly believe most organizations are doing their best to get things right. We also have to adjust to the medical literature and none is more serious than consecutive losses that generally indicate the fighters’ current skill level. To permit is to promote. I hope what we are promoting is giving the fighters opportunities to compete for titles they have fought for. No fighter has to have a perfect record – and no Champion should have a fill in or replacement when they are in shape and ready to go.
Additionally, the NBA will not strip a champion or have an interim Champion when no contenders will step up for a title fight. We can offer up a box off or designate the highest mandatory challenger by ranking or elimination contest. The Champion has already earned his/her distinction in the ring. The role of any organization is to respect and support all fighters, and to honour their achievements win, lose or draw!
*This article was authored by Daniel Doiron and posted by Nick DeLong*