Taylor and the Sanctioning Bodies,
By Tom Donelson
This past week, I had
the privileged of corresponding with members of Jermain Taylorís team
and the conclusion of these exchanges only reinforces what I am starting
to accept as truth. The sanctioning bodies are the major obstacles to
the Jermain Taylor's case. Taylor defeated Bernard Hopkins, the recognized
undisputed Middleweight champion. Almost immediately, the IBF stripped
Taylor of its version of the title when he decided to give Hopkins a
rematch. The WBA decided to holds its own version of the championship when
it recognized the winner of the Felix Sturm-Javier Castillejo as its
champion. (Even though as late as October of this year, they listed
Castillejo as its champion but Taylor as the undisputed champion.)
As for Taylor, his last 48 rounds have been against two certain Hall of
Famers and three former world champions. Taylor is 3-0-1 over his last
four rounds and no one can complain that he has taken the easy way out.
And for his efforts, he has been rewarded with disrespect by the
sanctioning bodies and even some pundits, who have been less than
overwhelmed by his close margin against Hopkins and Wright.
According to Taylorís camp, the WBA made it official this past week-
Jermain Taylor is no longer their champion. Yet this past year has merely
reinforced the fact that Taylor is the true number one man in the
division. Going into 2006, there were many top challengers to the title.
Sturm only lost was a close controversial decision to Oscar De La Hoya and
Arthur Abraham came into the year with impressive victories over Howard
Eastman and Kingsley Ikeke. Since then, the WBA championship has exchanged
hands three times with Sturm losing to Castillejo, who promptly lost his
crown to Mariano Carrera.
As for Abraham, he escaped with a narrow victory over Edison Miranda.
Presently, Abraham is recovering from a broken jaw suffered at the hand of
the rugged Miranda, who felt that he was robbed against Abraham.
Meanwhile, Taylor escaped with a draw with Winky Wright and decisively
defeated Kassim Ouma, who is every bit as good as those individuals who
managed to hold the WBA title over the past year.
As we go into 2007, Taylor has strengthened his hold on the title. Arthur
Abraham is still recovering from his injuries and as for the WBA, who
cares. Does anyone know Mariano Carrera is the champion? Taylor has
options that he did not have before this year. He chose last year to take
on the recognized best in his division and it didnít hurt that these
fights were the biggest money fights for him.
While Arthur Abraham, Javier Castillejo and Mariana Carrera are good
fighters and even worthy contenders based on their career accomplishments,
they did not earn their title the old fashion way; in the ring. Instead,
they were handed gifts by arbitrary decisions that had nothing to do with
what happened in the ring. And the multiple champions simply serve to
confuse boxing fans on who is the true champion or what classify as a true
Jermain Taylor is the real champion of the Middleweight division. Period.
His decision to fight Hopkins and Wright was due to two factors. The first
factor was that both fighters were considered the best in the division and
the second factor was that both fighters provided the best return on
investment. Next year, Taylor has his sight on Calzaghe and there is a
scheduled bout with the undefeated Sergio Mora, who improves with every
bout. Mora may not be the best contender but he does provide Taylor the
best money fight compared to the other contenders. And right now, the only
Middleweights deserving of a shot at his title are Edison Miranda, Winky
Wright and Arthur Abraham. Wright and Taylor are at negotiations impasse
on the terms for their rematch and Abraham is unable to fight due to
injuries. This leaves Miranda, still smarting over his lost to Abraham.
Taylor has been a good champion and deserving of unanimous support from
sanctioning bodies and boxing pundits. And those bodies who fail to see
the obvious; it is wiser to simply ignore them. As for the Middleweights,
this is a deep division with some exciting match ups for boxing fans. A
rematch between Miranda and Abraham would be a great slugfest and a
Miranda-Taylor match up would feature the classic boxer-puncher
confronting a swarming, pressuring killing machine.
Throw in up and coming fighters like John Duddy and Kelly Pavlik, you have
several great matches in the future. Least one forgets, many of these
fighters will move up to the Super Middleweights where you have the
undefeated Calzaghe and Kessler waiting. What we donít need are
sanctioning bodies determining champions based on politics or the
collection of more sanctioning fees. WBA and the IBF have shown once again
why no one takes these bodies seriously. As one of Taylorís legal team
told me, the WBA would not even sanction the Wright-Taylor match. And they
sanction Castillejo-Carrera bout as championship caliber? Taylor is the
champion. Case closed.
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