This week’s excuse for me to rant against alphabet-soup trinkets comes courtesy of the super welterweight division. Two weeks ago, Jarrett Hurd stopped Tony Harrison, to capture the vacant IBF belt at 154 pounds. Hurd is an exciting, rising contender in the sport and his TKO of Harrison was impressive work. Harrison is an experienced, talented fighter who was putting in some good work against Hurd, prior to getting cut down.
But calling Hurd vs. Harrison a “world title fight” made a mockery out of the very concept of world titles. Neither man had done a single thing to deserve a world-title shot. In the days gone by, when there was only one, true world champion in every division, Hurd vs. Harrison would have been a contender’s fight. I still view it the same way.
In July 2015, Harrison was knocked out by Willie Nelson. Last June, Nelson was thoroughly dismantled and stopped by Demetrius Andrade.
Calling a fighter a “world champion” is supposed to mean that you are acknowledging him as the best in the world. The top guy his weight on the planet. So how, with a straight face, can the IBF designate a fighter the “world champion” just because he knocked out a guy who was already knocked out by another guy, who just recently got knocked out himself, by another fighter who the IBF doesn’t even seem concerned with?
I know that is a convoluted question. But the alphabet-soup universe is a convoluted place.
This Saturday in Germany, Andrade will fight for his own version of a “world title” when he faces Jack Culcay for the WBA “regular” world title. WBA “regular” world titles deserve special contempt, even by the absurd standards of the alphabet-soup world. The WBA already has a champion at 154-pounds. His name is Erislandy Lara. But they recently upgraded him to “super” champion status, due to the fact that he defeated Yuri Foreman, a guy who hadn’t had a meaningful fight in a half decade.
Barring a case of badly burned home cooking in favor of Culcay, I expect Andrade to prevail with relative this weekend. Hopefully, that will lead to a “unification” fight with Lara.
If there was ever going to be a four-man tournament to establish a true world champion at 154 pounds, it would feature the winner of Andrade vs. Lara against the winner of Jermell Charlo vs. Canelo Alvarez. Hurd would deserve first crack at the winner.
But I’m not holding my breath for any of this.