Charr vs. Oquendo Finito

By Robert Ecksel on February 20, 2019
Charr vs. Oquendo Finito
“Guys like Carlos Monzon, Bennie Briscoe, Emile Griffith, [we] were fighting for one belt.”

Few tears have been shed at learning the faux championship won’t occur, except by those denied a return on their investment…

How many titlists is each sanctioning body entitled to endorse? Former middleweight champion Marvin Hagler recently weighed in on the issue and his disgust was as clear as day.

“Now they have so much they throw them away like candy,” he said. “It was a long hard road in my day. I said you have to kill me to take it. Most champions these days, they come and they go, they confuse the public, who do not know who the real champion is.”

Having multiple champions in multiple weights isn’t the only reason former fight fans abandoned the sport. But fostering confusion is no way to win friends and influence people, unless confusion is the point.

“I hope that before I pass that they restore this game and bring it back to only one champion in the world,” Hagler told Press Association Sport. “They have these three or four belts, I was only looking for one. Years ago, guys like Carlos Monzon, Bennie Briscoe, Emile Griffith, all of us were fighting for one belt.

“Now you’ve got the WBA, the WBC, the IBF (and WBO, IBO, IBU, WBF, WBU, and WBF)—they say it’s like the alphabet boys.”

Choosing the worst offender among the alphabet orgs is at best fool’s errand. But if they’re all guilty to varying degrees of extorting sanctioning fees in exchange for plastic belts, maybe a pox on all their houses is the only remedy, since turning back the clock is wishful thinking.

A case in point is the latest news that the fight between 34-year-old Manuel Charr (31-4) and 45-year-old Fres Oquendo (37-8) for Charr’s WBA “regular” heavyweight title has bitten the dust a second time.

They were scheduled to fight for the same title on September 29, 2018, but Charr failed a pre-fight drug test which scuttled that bout. No drugs were involved in the latest postponement, to the best of my knowledge, nor was Charr the offending party this time around.

According to ESPN, the postponement was due to Oquendo failing to meet the deadline for signing the contract for the fight, after going to great lengths to sue the WBA to enforce a rematch clause after his unsuccessful bid to wrest the “regular” title from the reigning and defending champion Ruslan Chagaev in 2014. Having won the suit in federal court, Oquendo was awarded a shot, now two shots, at Charr’s “regular” title instead.

Maybe Oquendo doesn’t have a calendar. Maybe Oquendo, who last fought 4½ years ago, couldn’t get his 45-year-old body to perform as it once did. Or maybe his team was woefully imprecise. But few tears have been shed at learning the faux championship won’t occur, except by those denied a return on their investment.

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