By Jonah Dylan
Two of the three middleweight world titleholders were in action this weekend, as Demetrius Andrade and Jermall Charlo both cruised to title defenses in their hometown. It’s always frustrating when two world champions defend their belts in separate fights on the same night, but this night pretty much illustrated all the problems boxing has in this day and age.
First of all, I like Andrade. He’s a fun personality, he comes to fight and he has really impressive skills. The mainstream boxing media seems to be obsessed with him, and I don’t totally get it. His resume is pretty thin and he’s never really been tested, so I don’t quite get why everyone is acting like he’s up there with Canelo Alvarez and Gennady Golovkin. Maybe he is, but there are still a lot of unknowns.
Andrade and Charlo would be a nice fight, but there’s almost no chance it happens. That’s because of the fact that Andrade is with Eddie Hearn and DAZN and Charlo is with PBC, a huge promotional divide that rarely gets crossed. That’s one of the main problems in the sport in this day and age, where promoters are extremely reluctant to let their fighters cross the metaphorical street and face other top fighters. So even though we’d like to see Charlo fighting the DAZN guys, there’s almost no path for him to do so.
Then there’s the nonsense of promotional bodies. Nothing illustrates that better than the absurd decision by the WBC to make Alvarez the “Franchise Champion,” a designation that makes no sense. In doing so, they elevated Charlo – who had been the interim champion – to the full titleholder and Alvarez now only holds the IBF and WBA belts.
First off, no one should ever be defending an interim title. If there is an interim title fight, the winner should either fight the full titlist in the next fight or someone should be stripped. It’s absurd that anyone would ever be defending an interim title. Charlo was set to defend it for the second time and then was elevated to the full champion earlier this week. The timing of the WBC’s decision was clearly based on the timing of Charlo’s fight, because they wanted him to be defending the title he’d actually be holding after the fight. It’s all nonsense.
Alvarez had been on a quest to unify the entire division, so the WBC should have ordered a fight between him and Charlo if he wanted to keep his title. For all the nonsense about sanctioning bodies, the one thing they can actually do that’s beneficial is order fights between fighters from different promotional companies. In this case, they could’ve ordered Alvarez (DAZN) to meet Charlo (PBC) and if Alvarez turned down the fight then it would’ve made sense to strip him. Stripping him without even giving him the chance to defend the belt doesn’t really make sense.
After the WBC’s decision, there’s little to no chance that we’ll see an undisputed champion in the middleweight division.
To cap it all off, another issue in the sport is that oftentimes the best fighters never share the ring, for one reason or another. Alvarez and Golovkin are the two best guys in the division, but Alvarez is chasing Callum Smith and Sergey Kovalev, so it looks like we won’t see that fight next. Add it to the list, honestly.
There are lots of intriguing fights in the middleweight division, and it really should be one of the hottest divisions in the sport. But for the foreseeable future, we’re probably gonna see Charlo against PBC guys, Andrade against Matchroom guys and Canelo against super middleweights and light heavyweights. If Canelo is moving up, Golovkin vs Andrade is the fight to make, but I see why Golovkin’s team doesn’t have much incentive to chase that fight. In just a few months, the division went from one of boxing’s best to a mess. And there’s no end in sight.
Follow me on Twitter @TheJonahDylan.