Floyd Mayweather Passes On The WBA Belt: One Across the Bow By Allan Scotto, MaxBoxing (May 29, 2010) Special to Doghouse Boxing
On May 1st, the fight between Floyd Mayweather and Shane Mosley drew 1.4 million pay-per-view buys at 55 dollars a pop, which equates to about 77 million bucks!
Financially, not a bad night for boxing!
But it may also have served as the “Ides of March” for the sanctioning bodies.
When Floyd Mayweather signed to fight “Sugar” Shane Mosley, one might imagine that the powers-that-be at the WBA probably started a conga line.
Not to be confused with the “Super-Duper World Welterweight title,” or the “Intergalactic Magical Mystical Super World Welterweight title,” Shane Mosley was the WBA’s “Super” world welterweight champion, which is apparently what happens when you take a regular welterweight champion and “super-size” him like a bag of french fries at McDonald’s.
Because when it comes to the sanctioning bodies, the attitude is, “Hey, you need more money? Create another belt.”
For Floyd Mayweather to claim Mosley’s belt, he would have had to pay the WBA 3% of his purse as a “sanctioning fee,” and seeing that Mayweather supposedly earned about 22,500,000 dollars for his fight with Mosley, that means the WBA would have netted a cool 675,000 dollars.
Not bad for doing nothing.
But much to the surprise of the WBA, Floyd took a pass and said, “No thanks,” and, as a result, one of the biggest fights in recent history was not sanctioned by anybody, and no belts were on the line.
And the 1.4 million buys would indicate that it didn’t make one bit of difference.
Love him or hate him, Floyd Mayweather knows how popular he is, and he knows that people watch boxing today based on who’s fighting, not because there’s a meaningless belt on the line.
His attitude, as one of the fighters who fans will pay to see, is, “Why should I pay the WBA, or any other sanctioning body anything?”
And he’s not wrong.
Simply because of greed, boxing has grown from eight weight divisions to 17, many of them separated by only a handful of pounds.
And there are so many sanctioning bodies that one would have to be encyclopedic, like Max Kellerman, to name them all.
But just for the sake of argument, if you just count the WBC, the WBA, the IBF, the WBO, and the IBO, each with their own belt for every weight division, you’re looking at 85 belts.
And that’s just the tip of the iceberg because there are so many more sanctioning bodies, each with their own belts for each weight division as well.
As a result, what has been referred to throughout the years as “Alphabet Soup,” has really become nothing more than a pile of regurgitation.
This mess started years ago when boxing was a staple on network television, and the network executives wanted someone to validate championships.
After the NBA became the WBA in 1962, the WBC and the IBF which formed due to the need to capitalize on such validity, and those belts initially were revered and respected. The unification of those belts led to some of the greatest fights in boxing history.
But then, slowly but surely, greed and corruption took hold, due, in no small part, to most television executives knowing very little about boxing, making them pawns of a larger system rather easily.
The entire process became corrupted as rankings were manipulated by promoters, and more and more sanctioning bodies sprang up, all looking for a piece of the pie, while some promoters latched on to these new “belts” as a way to promote almost any card as featuring a “championship” fight, in the hopes of selling more tickets.
Well, the marriage between network television and boxing has long ended, and for the most part, boxing is carried only on cable; the big three being HBO, Showtime, and ESPN, and none of them solely promote their fights as battles for any particular sanctioning body belt, and if they do mention a sanctioning body, it’s usually with passing disdain.
And yet fighters, probably concerned that if they buck the system they’ll be shut out of any big money fights, have gone along to get along.
But then Floyd Mayweather, arguably one of the top two fighters in the sport today, decided to cut against the grain of the system, and that may spell big trouble for these useless organizations.
By refusing to pay the WBA for the right to fight for Mosley’s belt, Mayweather sent a very strong message to not only them, but to any fighter that is still paying those fees.
Mayweather and Mosley proved that if you put two fighters in the ring, who fans actually want to see fight, you can still do 77 million dollars in pay-per-view revenue, without any help from any sanctioning body, thank you very much.
Numbers don’t lie, and let’s face it, 77 million is a whole lot of numbers, most of them zeros.
The question now becomes, after seeing what happened, will the fighters who have fought their way into recognition also balk at paying a percentage of their purse to organizations that do nothing for them?
If they realize, like Mayweather did, that the system is so watered down that it makes all the belts meaningless, they just might.
In baseball, there is one World Series trophy. In football, there is one Super Bowl trophy; hockey has the Stanley cup, and soccer has the World cup, and the list goes on and on.
Teams fight for an entire season for a chance to compete for those trophies, because there’s only one, and that’s what makes them so important and valuable.
You win it, you’re the best, period.
When a team is holding up one of those trophies at the end of the season, there are no questions left unanswered.
But because boxing is such a fragmented sport, it means that there are literally hundreds of belts a fighter can fight for, which makes it all rather pointless.
Boxing needs to find a way to make its champions important again, and countless belts from countless sanctioning bodies is obviously not the way.
Maybe the super middleweight contest that Showtime is presenting is a good start, and if ESPN and HBO joined the party, we could have some very competitive nights of boxing in every division, and bring some respect back to our sport.
Let the best fight the best until one is left standing.
Well fans, you pay the bills…so what do you think?