Pacquiao vs Rios: Belt is bogus

Lee Cleveland Updated
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Fight legend Manny Pacquiao and upset-minded Brandon Rios will fight for something called the WBO International Welterweight title tomorrow night in Macau, China. If you've never heard of it, don't fret.

The meaningless title was created for this bout and is as credible as a $3 bill in the United States.

The great Manny Pacquiao is fighting in China so it does seem odd no real and legitimate title is at-stake given the event's historical significance and enormity.

Perhaps the World Boxing Organization (WBO) took it upon itself to create a meaningless title and corresponding belt to mark the occasion and/or add to the event's credibility or luster?

But Manny Pacquiao, an all-time great and international icon, is fighting. Is a nothing-title required to make the event legitimate?

Tomorrow night's winner will be wearing a championship belt so he'll at least look the part after the bout.

Incidentally, and for casual fans who are scratching their heads and trying to make sense of boxing's numerous belts and titles, there are four official "title-holders" in the welterweight division, one of which is the lineal welterweight champion.

CHAMPION: Floyd Mayweather, Jr
RING Magazine/WBC
  • Tim Bradley: WBO
  • Adrien Broner: WBA
  • Devon Alexander: IBF

And while title-holders (or belt-holders) who represent any one the four recognized sanctioning bodies (WBC, WBA, IBF and WBO) are also recognized in boxing as world champions, the owner of the coveted RING Magazine belt is his division's true champion because he holds he direct lineage that traces back to the first champion in his division(s).

As owner of the prestigious RING Magazine title in two divisions, Floyd Mayweather is the real and legitimate champion at welterweight and jr middleweight.

The WBO's world champion (or belt-holder) in the welterweight class is Tim Bradley thereby making the WBO International title irrelevant.

Why not call it a title eliminator and force Tim Bradley to fight the winner?

Awarding the winner a trophy belt or sorts without creating a bogus title would have been more prudent that creating another title. The WBC Diamond Belt, for example, is nothing more than a very elegant trinket the winner can throw over his shoulder after the fight and eventually hang on his wall at home. It doesn't represent a real title.

There was absolutely no need for the WBO to create yet another boxing title. Actions like these by the WBO and other sanctioning bodies devalue real titles and cheapen the sport.

Perhaps we should create a welterweight title?

Or better yet, maybe the WBO can create a World welterweight title, an International World welterweight title, and a Yada-Yada-Yada welterweight title to go along with its WBO (regular) welterweight title and newly-created WBO International welterweight title?


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