On November 28, Tyson Fury shocked the boxing world by upsetting long-reigning heavyweight champion Wladimir Klitschko. While it was a far from exciting fight, it did present intriguing possibilities for the division that the Klitschko brothers have had on lock-down for most of this century.
But it also opened the door for exactly the kind of alphabet-soup insanity that has plagued the sport in recent decades. Before Tyson Fury’s victory celebrations were even behind him, the IBF had announced they would strip him, for honoring the rematch clause in his contract with Klitschko, rather than facing the IBF’s mandatory contender, Vyacheslav Glazkov.
It’s fair to have Glazkov in line for a title shot. While I personally think he should have lost to Steve Cunningham and Malik Scott, he is nevertheless undefeated, with wins over contenders. But there is nothing about his resume that demands he get a shot at the world title as soon as possible.
This situation is made even more absurd due to the fact that Glazkov’s likely opponent for the vacant belt would be Charles Martin, who the IBF somehow has rated at No. 4 in the world. Martin is a rising contender with promise, no doubt about it. He’s a big, athletic fighter with a decent amateur background. But no way is he the fourth best heavyweight on the planet. No way is he a credible world-title challenger at this point. The biggest name on his resume is Kertson Manswell.
That the IBF might be planning to present the winner of Glazkov vs. Martin as the world champion, over the man who beat Klitschko, is the height of stupidity. IBF should stand for Idiotic Boxing Federation, if this comes to pass.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m hardly desperate to see a return bout between Klitschko and Fury. The Ukrainian champ looked listless and unmotivated against Fury. But if he wants one more shot at redemption here, he’s earned it.
In December 1947, the legendary Joe Louis turned in a lackluster performance against Joe Walcott. While Louis escaped with a split decision, the outrage over the verdict led to an immediate rematch. In that fight, Louis had to get off from the canvas to come back and knock Walcott out and earn his redemption.
Klitschko deserves the same sort of opportunity against Tyson Fury. Glazkov can wait in line a little while longer.