While Manny Pacquiao prepares to face Timothy Bradley for a third time on Saturday night in Las Vegas, IBF heavyweight champion Charles Martin will be defending his belt against 2012 Olympic gold medalist Anthony Joshua at the O2 Arena in London. As I’ve often written, it’s comical to even suggest that the IBF heavyweight title is a legitimate world title. It’s the biggest joke in the entire alphabet-soup universe.
The joke started when the IBF stripped Tyson Fury of their version of the title shortly after the British giant upset Wladimir Klitschko last November. Their justification was that their mandatory contender, Vyacheslav Glazkov, simply could not be denied his title shot while Fury waited to negotiate Klitschko’s contractually obligated rematch.
Glazkov was a legitimate contender. But the idea that his claim was so pressing that it should trump the rematch between the man who held the lineal title for a generation and the man who beat him was preposterous.
Even more insulting to the intelligence of any boxing fan was the IBF’s choice of Martin as Glazkov’s opponent. Charles Martin was an undefeated, interesting prospect at the time. But he had defeated nobody at all to warrant a title shot.
The farce became complete last January when Glazkov and Martin faced off. Glazkov injured his knee in the third round and was unable to continue. And just like that, Martin was officially the least qualified heavyweight belt holder in history. The IBF would have you believe that Charles Martin is the world heavyweight champion, instead of Tyson Fury, the man who defeated Wladimir Klitschko.
Take away the invalid belt and this would be a very interesting fight. Charles Martin is as raw as a dancing bear in the ring, but he’s a good athlete with good power. Anthony Joshua is the most exciting young fighter in the division. I am very curious to see how this one plays out.
But the winner will most certainly not be a world champion.