Analysis: Jermain Taylor And The Sanctioning Bodies

By Tom Donelson
Updated: December 21, 2006

Jermain Taylor

Jermain Taylor

NEW YORK — This past week, I had the privileged of corresponding with members of Jermain Taylor’s team and after the conclusion of this exchanges only reinforces what I am starting to accept as truth- the sanctioning bodies are the major obstacles to boxing revival.

Take Taylor’s case. He defeated Bernard Hopkins, the recognized undisputed Middleweight champion. Almost immediately, the IBF stripped Taylor of its version of the title when he decided to give Hopkins a rematch.

The WBA decided to holds its own version of the championship when it recognized the winner of the Felix Sturm-Javier Castillejo as its champion. (Even though as late as October of this year, they listed Castillejo as its champion but Taylor as the undisputed champion.)

As for Taylor, his last 48 rounds have been against two certain Hall of Famers and three former world champions. Taylor is 3-0-1 over his last four bouts and no one can complain that he has taken the easy way out.

And for his efforts, he has been rewarded with disrespect by the sanctioning bodies and even some pundits, who have been less than overwhelmed by his close margin against Hopkins and Wright.

According to Taylor’s camp, the WBA made it official this past week — Jermain Taylor is no longer their champion. Yet this past year has merely reinforced the fact that Taylor is the true number one man in the division.

Going into 2006, there were many top challengers to the title. Sturm only lost was a close controversial decision to Oscar De La Hoya and Arthur Abraham came into the year with impressive victories over Howard Eastman and Kingsley Ikeke.

Since then, the WBA championship has exchanged hands three times with Sturm losing to Castillejo, who promptly lost his crown to Mariano Carrera.

As for Abraham, he escaped with a narrow victory over Edison Miranda. Presently, Abraham is recovering from a broken jaw suffered at the hand of the rugged Miranda, who felt that he was robbed against Abraham.

Meanwhile, Taylor escaped with a draw with Winky Wright and decisively defeated Kassim Ouma, who is every bit as good as those individuals who managed to hold the WBA title over the past year.

As we go into 2007, Taylor has strengthened his hold on the title. Arthur Abraham is still recovering from his injuries and as for the WBA, who cares. Does anyone know Mariano Carrera is the champion?

Taylor has options that he did not have before this year. He chose last year to take on the recognized best in his division and it didn’t hurt that these fights were the biggest money fights for him.

While Arthur Abraham, Javier Castillejo and Mariana Carrera are good fighters and even worthy contenders based on their career accomplishments, they did not earn their title the old fashion way; in the ring.

Instead, they were handed gifts by arbitrary decisions that had nothing to do with what happened in the ring. And the multiple champions simply serve to confuse boxing fans on who is the true champion or what classify as a true championship bout.

Jermain Taylor is the real champion of the Middleweight division. Period. His decision to fight Hopkins and Wright was due to two factors. The first factor was that both fighters were considered the best in the division and the second factor was that both fighters provided the best return on investment.

Next year, Taylor has his sight on Calzaghe and there’s a scheduled bout with the undefeated Sergio Mora, who improves with every bout.

Mora may not be the best contender but he does provide Taylor the best money fight compared to the other contenders. And right now, the only Middleweights deserving of a shot at his title are Edison Miranda, Winky Wright and Arthur Abraham.

Wright and Taylor are at negotiations impasse on the terms for their rematch and Abraham is unable to fight due to injuries. This leaves Miranda, still smarting over his lost to Abraham.

Taylor has been a good champion and deserving of unanimous support from sanctioning bodies and boxing pundits. And those bodies who fail to see the obvious; it is wiser to simply ignore them. As for the Middleweights, this is a deep division with some exciting match ups for boxing fans.

A rematch between Miranda and Abraham would be a great slugfest and a Miranda-Taylor match up would feature the classic boxer-puncher confronting a swarming, pressuring killing machine.

Throw in up and coming fighters like John Duddy and Kelly Pavlik, you have several great matches in the future. Least one forgets, many of these fighters will move up to the Super Middleweights where you have the undefeated Calzaghe and Kessler waiting.

What we don’t need are sanctioning bodies determining champions based on politics or the collection of more sanctioning fees. WBA and the IBF have shown once again why no one takes these bodies seriously.

As one of Taylor’s legal team told me, the WBA would not even sanction the Wright-Taylor match. And they sanction Castillejo-Carrera bout as championship caliber?

Taylor is the champion. Case closed.