Saturday night’s fight between Vyacheslav Glazkov and Charles Martin for the vacant IBF heavyweight title ended in pretty much the worst possible way. Martin “earned” a victory when Glazkov was forced to quit in Round 3. And just like that, we now have the least qualified heavyweight world champion in history.
It’s arguably the most ignoble “championship win” in the history of the division. Max Schmeling claimed the heavyweight title vacated by Gene Tunney from Jack Sharkey in 1930 on a DQ. But nobody doubted Schmeling’s right to be in that fight. He was the European Champion, which was at the time a prestigious regional title. He was fresh off from a win over Paulino Uzcudun, a top contender at the time.
I was highly critical of Martin’s presense in a title fight last week, as was any honest boxing commentator. He was an extremely raw, yet physically impressive, prospect. Nothing more. He had beaten absolutely nobody worthy of catapaulting him into a championship bout.
If things had gone ideally, maybe Martin would have knocked Glazkov out. The 6’5″, 249 pound slugger definitely has some punching power. He’d still be an undeserving champion, but at least he would have a solid win over a top-10 contender on his resume, rather than this injury default.
If Glazkov had won, he would have certainly taken the easiest possible path to the title. But just the same, he’s a legitimate contender with wins (some of them contested) over other legitimate contenders. You wouldn’t blush at the very idea of acknowledging that he is a world title holder.
The IBF looks the worst in all of this. Their version of the title in boxing’s glamour division is officially a joke. They stripped Tyson Fury, the man who beat Wladimir Klitschko, and are now presenting to the world a man who has beaten absolutely nobody as the heavyweight champion of the world.
You cannot fault Charles Martin himself. He’s a young man who has decided to seek his fortune in the brutal sport of boxing. He’s behaved in an honorable manner, coming out on top of whoever he has faced. He deserves no personal criticism.
At the same time, he most certainly doesn’t deserve to be called heavyweight champion of the world.