By: Sean Crose
It’s going to be called the BridgerWeight division. It will be named after the heroic Bridger Walker, a young man who saved his sister from a dog attack while suffering serious damage in his own right. Naming anything in Bridger’s honor is unquestionably a nice notion. Creating an entirely new weight division for the sport of boxing, however, is seen as quite a questionable endeavor. Still, the World Boxing Council, under the leadership of Mauricio Sulaiman, is going to do just that. “We have decided to create a new division inspired by the hero of humanity,” Sulaiman is quoted as saying, “just six years old, who saved the life of his little sister.”
The WBC has gone out of his way to argue the case for the new weight division. “The major division, the heavyweight means the maximum glory,” the organization claimed in an announcement to the public. “The world heavyweight champion has traditionally been recognized as the most important athlete in the world, the invincible, the gladiator. The heavyweight world champion, initially started at 176 pounds.”
The WBC indicated the new division will cover the weight realm between 200 and 224 pounds, which currently fall under the heavyweight banner. By this standard, Jack Johnson, Joe Louis, John L Sullivan, and Sonny Liston would no longer be heavyweights today were they to compete under the banner of the WBC. Of course, many heavyweights from earlier times, like Jack Dempsey, and Ricky Marciano, wouldn’t be heavyweights today as it is, so it’s not the fact that the heavyweight division is changing that’s raising eyebrows. It’s the fact that an entirely new division is being created. That means new sanctioning fees for fighters. Needless to say, reaction has not been particularly positive.
“You know it’s bad,” Jamel Herring tweeted, “when the cruiserweight division will be more respected now.”
“If you are a fighter who pays a sanctioning fee for a Bridgerweight title,” Chris Mannix stated via his Twitter account, “you should fire your manager, promoter and anyone who suggested it was a good idea. Move over, franchise championship—this is dumber.”
Sulaiman and company, however, seem to be pushing the idea full ahead.
“The WBC has added the BridgerWeight to the official rankings and will contact through the month of November boxers who compete in cruiserweight, and heavyweight to confirm in which category they wish to be listed,” the organization stated, “however, there will be a 6 month grace period to handle correctly each situation and any fighter listed in Bridgerweight may compete in the heavyweight division.”