by Charles Jay
Amir Khan is happy because he will be able to show the crowd a nice belt just like Danny Garcia has when he steps in the ring on Saturday for his WBA-WBC unification fight in Las Vegas.
The WBA gave him a present on Wednesday when they took a championship away from Lamont Peterson and handed it back to Khan, after a Peterson flunked not a post-fight test (the two fought in December), but a pre-fight test for the rematch.
In addition, it should comfort everyone to know that the former Bible of Boxing, Ring Magazine, which is considered by some skeptics to be the “Weekly Shopper” of boxing these days, has announced that it has stripped a fighter its parent company, Golden Boy, did not have under promotional contract (Peterson), and will open its doors for title recognition in the junior welterweight division between one Golden Boy/Ring fighter (Garcia) and another Golden Boy/Ring fighter (Khan), regardless of whether Juan Manuel Marquez, a Top Rank fighter, might be better than either of them.
This is what passes for legitimacy in boxing these days.
The announcement made Wednesday by the Ring Editorial Board, which is, in effect, paid by Golden Boy, was that Peterson was removed from the ratings entirely and that Khan and Garcia would contest a vacant title. This would seem to represent a policy that is made, for all intents and purposes, on the run, and it certainly fits Ring/Golden Boy’s promotional initiative quite nicely, in that they get to promote a unification fight that includes their own in-house belt. That’s a nice package to wrap up and give to HBO, which only recognizes the ratings and championships that are owned by this single promoter.
“THE Ring Editorial Board believes that Khan and Garcia deserve to fight for the championship in light of Peterson’s positive test,” said Michael Rosenthal, the editor of the magazine/website and, directly or indirectly, a paid employee of the promoter whose fighters his “editorial board” has chosen to bestow #1 and #2 status upon.
The final determination about Peterson’s status will be determined by the Nevada Athletic Commission, but no matter; there is Golden Boy business to be done and like any good alphabet soup organization, Ring is there to facilitate its masters as best it can. Obviously there was an opportunity to assume that Peterson’s win over Khan back in December was not on the up and up, so that Khan, at Richard Schaefer’s request (Schaefer being CEO of Golden Boy) could get what he wanted.
This represents a vertical integration of sorts that Golden Boy may have been looking for in the beginning when it purchased Ring, which stood out as a money-losing entity in the Kappa Publishing Group.
It really works out well, as the functions of the promotion and magazine complement each other nicely. The magazine and its reputation, which was earned in the days of Nat Fleischer and revived somewhat under the stewardship of Bert Sugar and Randy Gordon, allow Golden Boy to control a media outlet.
Meanwhile, the residual benefits of having your own ratings are great; if you can actually control a title and move the pieces around in the most convenient way, there is a lot to be gained in the way of television dates, rights fees, ticket sales and the like, and it certainly makes a title fight look more prestigious to the undiscriminating customer if there are more belts on the line. The WBA fell into place; the Golden Boy employees at Ring were inevitably going to.
There was an interesting part of the statement made by those paid by Golden Boy when determining to match their own two fighters up for the title.
“Khan and Garcia also will fight for Garcia’s WBC belt and the vacant WBA title….”
This was dated July 11 (Wednesday) which is the same day that the WBA stripped Peterson.
But they got the story wrong, which appears strange because inasmuch as Ring is a subsidiary of the promoter who benefited (Golden Boy), they had every reason to get it right. The WBA doesn’t have a vacant title at stake at all; they have just given it back to Khan, which they can do under their rules. But jumping the gun and getting it wrong would seem to be an indication that Golden Boy knew that the WBA was going to make a decision that favored them somewhat; they just didn’t know all the details.
After all, you’d hate to think that the Ring guys were THAT bad at reporting a story involving their own fighter.