Take This Title and Shove It

By Robert Ecksel on May 20, 2013
Take This Title and Shove It
If stripping Ward isn't a public relations nightmare for the WBC, it’s a serious miscalculation.

Stripping Andre Ward of his super middleweight title is like stripping Robert De Niro of his Oscar or Kanye West of his Grammy. Not only is it not done. It makes no sense. But however little sense it makes, that is exactly what has been done, and the WBC, whose interests seem at times to trump the interests of boxing, might want to take a good hard look in a mirror and see who and/or what is looking back.

Citing Ward’s inactivity due to injury, which is part and parcel of the fight game, the WBC decided to demote Ward to “champion emeritus” so that Sakio Bika and Marco Antonio Periban can fight for the now vacant WBC super middleweight crown.

In a statement released to the press, Ward said, “After careful thought and consideration with my family and team, I have decided to relinquish my WBC Super Middleweight World Champion Emeritus Title. As has been recently reported, the WBC elected to strip me of my world title belt, making the upcoming bout between Sakio Bika and Marco Antonio Periban for the vacant super middleweight title. After consultation with my manager James Prince and attorney Josh Dubin, it is my belief that the WBC did not have the right to strip me of my world title and name me champion emeritus. We voiced our position to the WBC, and after several discussions, have agreed to disagree with their interpretation of the facts and rules. In our opinion, we feel strongly that I did not violate the rules in any manner whatsoever.”

It has been said that rules are made to be broken, which perhaps explains the WBC’s actions. But no one in their right mind will embrace the new super middleweight champion, not while Andre Ward is standing on the sidelines, or standing period.

“When I fought Chad Dawson,” continued Ward, “there was no mandatory contender. Subsequent to my victory, I injured my shoulder but have remained ready, willing and able to defend my title within the period specified by the WBC’s rules. Nonetheless, without what we feel was appropriate due process, the WBC elected to strip me of my world title. I think my track record in fighting the best opponents available speaks for itself. I worked extremely hard and dedicated my entire career to win and defend my WBC belt. As a matter of principle, I have chosen to stand up for what I believe is right. I think the fans know and appreciate that I am the super middleweight champion of the world, and I trust that I will continue to be recognized as such. I am back in training again, feeling great, and excited about my return to the ring.”

If this isn’t a public relations nightmare, it’s nothing less than a serious miscalculation. Andre Ward deserves better. Boxing deserves better. Even the WBC, whose judgment is under scrutiny, deserves better, whether they know it or not.

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Andre Ward vs Chad Dawson (HD) [FULL FIGHT]

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  1. raxman 03:24pm, 05/21/2013

    well the rankings are. but there is nothing wrong with the title itself. name one current underserving ring champ? and for that champ to lose the title he has to be beaten in the ring. if he retires the title sits empty until the top 2 fighters fight for it - and yes the rankings are open for manipulation but for the title to be awarded you’re gonna see two good fighters fight for it that’s for sure.

  2. Ted 03:19pm, 05/21/2013

    The Ring is compromised plain and simple. I pay no attention to it whatsoever.

  3. raxman 03:17pm, 05/21/2013

    I think the IBO in principle have the right idea with their rankings, they use as point system not dissimilar to tennis, so that their rankings are not as arbitrary or open to corruption like the mainstream alphabets. unfortunately the low profile of the ibo means that they fail to get the good fighters giving two god damns about their titles so you get a situation where in 2009 they have Danny Green ranked highly and they sanction Dominguez ranked 30 something for the vacant 200pound title, fight which goes against their charter which I think states that a for a champ to defend his title it must be against a top 5 opponent. obviously ibo haven’t pulled it off but does anyone see a problem with tennis style rank - where as the higher the ranked opponent the more points you receive by besting them.
    I like the ring model too - where the title is vacant unless the 1&2 or 1&3 fight each other but again the arbitrary nature of the ranking system makes that still open to corruption - and of course the golden boy fighters always seem to be highly ranked.

  4. The Fight Film Collector 12:05pm, 05/21/2013

    First, I am so glad, Robert, that you highlighted this injustice.  Ward has been a model professional and earned his title, including P4P, after a long, steady and legitimate climb up the ladder.  Shame on the ABCs for this bogus title stripping, and who have ruined linear title holding in order to line their own pockets.  So I have a suggestion.  Considering that the ABCs have no legal authority, there’s also no authority insisting that they also be recognized.  How about we stop legitimizing them?  How about changing the Boxing.com Rankings page into a clear display of all divisions, each with a single ascending list of the top 10 fighters.  Boxing.com is by far the best boxing site on the web.  Let’s let the other guys sort out the alphabets, and we can rank boxers based on their records.  Just a thought.

  5. Rick 09:49am, 05/21/2013

    I think the ideal way to handle these things would be to set a time limit for a champion to defend and if they fail to do so regardless of injury of whatever there should be a fight scheduled between numbers 1 and 2. I’m not speaking about this case in particular but there’s way too many champs that defend maybe once every 16 months or so. And as long as you make them money they’re okay with that but if not then well this is what happens. But that really is beside the point because as you all have said these organizations are corrupt and the titles meaningless.

  6. Jim Crue 04:51am, 05/21/2013

    The corrupt WBC just wants another sanctioning fee and the fightersbite because the TV networks love to broadcast a “title” fight and the winner thinks he is champion, after giving the WBC their sanctioning fee that is!
    The WBC is corrupt on many levels.
    And every fight held in Texas is suspect. I stopped watching any important fight or “title” fight held there.

  7. Mike Casey 02:53am, 05/21/2013

    Heartening for me to read the comments of Raxman, Ted, Bob and Nicolas here. I think that most boxing fans are now heartily sick of this farce and no longer care about meaningless titles. The myth persists that any match without a silly belt to go with it will be a failure. The alphabet boys have missed the beat, as is generally the case when your head is lodged halfway up your backside.

  8. nicolas 02:01am, 05/21/2013

    All of the boxing organizations today are jokes. The sad news is that the WBC is probably the more celebrated organization around today. the dream of the WBC is to make most if not all of their champions Mexican, they were even hoping they could do it with Chris Arreola, a Mexican American heavyweight champ was their hope, and even with his recent loss, he is still ranked number three by that group. Look at Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. , and now this fighter who is fighting Bika. Boxing unlike the past, now suffers from 0 mainstream media scrutiny. Where is a Howard Cosell when you need him. Had the current situation with the media been around in 1990 when Tyson got knocked out, the dispute about the knockdown of Buster Douglas would have allowed Tyson to keep his title. If boxing were a real mainstream sport in the US like it once was, I don’t think the things we see today from the organizations would happen.

  9. raxman 07:11pm, 05/20/2013

    what happened to his wba title? why were Kessler and magee fighting for that was he stripped there as well or did he relinquish it?

  10. Ted 04:40pm, 05/20/2013

    I don’t even bother to look at what title is at stake anymore. Titles mean very little in the scheme of things. It’s whio is fighting who that matters.

    As for the WBC, please pass the puke bucket.

  11. Bob Canobbio 04:22pm, 05/20/2013

    I agree 100% with Raxman.  What does it say about the credibility of the WBC (based in Mexico) to strip Ward, a top-three pound-for-pounder, in favor of a title fight between Marco Antonio Periban (Mexican) and chronic-underachiever in the big fight, Sakio Bika?  Yes, alphabet belts give fighters negotiating leverage, however a fighter of Ward’s caliber doesn’t need plastic around his waist to get paid. top dollar.

  12. raxman 03:13pm, 05/20/2013

    fighters like ward shouldn’t even bother fighting for titles - screw the alphabets -screw their sanctioning fees and their multiple bullshit titles super champ, regular, emeritus, interim… who needs them?
    was Mattyhsse vs Peterson lessened from no title being on the line? floyds fights are events coz of Floyd, the titles are unimportant. Kessler vs Froch is about revenge. as was rios v alvardo.
    in principle the ring title is a good one to have, ignoring the manipulation and seemingly arbitrary nature of the rankings at least once you have the title you need to be beaten to lose it - or stay inactive for longer than ward has with this injury

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