A Title Fight in Name Only

By Robert Ecksel on November 24, 2017
A Title Fight in Name Only
Whatever enthusiasm exists for a championship fight of this caliber is muddled at best.

Neither Ustinov nor Charr has done enough in their careers to be crowned heavyweight champion of the world…

On Saturday, November 25, at Koenig-Pilsener-Arena in Oberhausen, Germany, 40-year-old Alexander Ustinov (34-1, 25 KOs), from Minsk, Belarus, by way of Paustovo, Russia, fights 33-year-old Manuel Charr (30-4, 17 KOs), from Cologne, Nordrhein-Westfalen, Germany, by way of Beirut, Lebanon, for the vacant WBA World heavyweight title.

Whatever enthusiasm exists for a championship fight of this caliber is muddled at best. Win, lose or draw, neither Ustinov nor Charr has done enough against credible opposition over the course of their careers to ever be called heavyweight champion of the world.

Ustinov has been fighting professionally since 2005. Except for a 2012 knockout at the hands of Kubrat Pulev, he has won all his fights. But searching for name fighters among his victims is an exercise in futility. One need only look at his last four victories, over Travis Walker, Maurice Harris, and Konstantin Airich in 2015, and Raphael Zumbano Love in May of this year, with their combined record of 126-60-7, to recognize his unsuitability to wear the crown.

Charr has fought better competition than his opponent. But he has lost four of his last 13 fights, to Vitali Klitschko in 2012, Alexander Povetkin in 2014, and Johann Duhaupas and Mairis Briedis in 2015. Wins over Kevin Johnson and Michael Grant in 2014 have been touted by BoxNation, but those fighters were nothing to write home about in their prime, and their skills, such as they were, had eroded by the time they fought Charr.

A belt will be in the offing, there being an overabundance of belts, and there will be a winner, other than the promoter, manager, and sanctioning body. And so the WBA Championships Committee has approved this bout, despite the lack of enthusiasm, despite countless proclamations about wanting to reduce the number of titleholders swelling its ranks.

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