Tyson Fury knows what the alphabet gangs do not: They don’t decide who the real champ is.

“Introducing John L. Sullivan” [without acronyms] by George Bellows (1923)

The Heavyweight King

Tyson Fury knows what the alphabet gangs do not: They don’t decide who the real champ is.

Showtime’s Brian Custer recently referred to Deontay Wilder as the “world heavyweight champion” and so contributed to the mass confusion in boxing. Would-be fans —precisely the demographic the sport needs to attract— scratched their heads and wondered what the hell happened two weeks ago when Tyson Fury defeated Wlad Klitschko and was declared the “heavyweight champion of the world.” An unknown number of them reached for the clicker.

The Transnational Boxing Rankings Board, a fifty-member, all-volunteer initiative representing eighteen countries invites them to put the clicker down and stay tuned. It recommends approaching the sport as they would a holiday with family. When Uncle Ralph staggers over to intrude on a pleasant exchange claiming something is that assuredly isn’t, wave him off. If he can’t take a hint and proves immune to courteous correction, escort him to the door and lock him out in the cold. He’ll sober up eventually. Boxing is overrun with Uncle Ralphs. We find them well-poised on television and meticulous in print, but most of their claims regarding the championships are gobbledygook. Do any of them really believe there are eighty-six champions in the seventeen weight divisions? Do they know the difference between Deontay Wilder’s belt and the divisional crown?

THE CROWN VS. BELTS

Tyson Fury, insists the Board above the nonsense and the din, is heavyweight king. He takes his place in a succession that includes the vanquished Wlad Klitschko, fellow Briton Lennox Lewis, Fury’s namesake Mike Tyson, and thirty-three others give or take. Each divisional succession is an ongoing march through history with expected breaks and disruptions and which began with the first championship bout fought under the Marquess of Queensberry rules. The heavyweights’ stretch back at least to Gentleman Jim Corbett, if not John L. Sullivan — both sons of Eire like Fury himself.
Anyone with more sense than a partridge in a pear tree knows that there are two paths into a divisional succession: (1) defeat the true champion or (2) if said champion retires or otherwise abdicates, earn a top-two ranking and defeat the top or next-best contender.
And what of “world heavyweight champion” Wilder? He did neither. In January 2015, he defeated Bermane Stiverne (then ranked third in the Transnational Rankings when he was ranked sixth) after both contenders surrendered a percentage of their purses to the WBC. That belt Wilder carries is quite literally bought and paid for. It’s a fabrication; a fabrication puffed up by boxing media as something more but that had nothing to do with Wlad Klitschko and therefore had nothing to do with the heavyweight crown.Wilder was fervent anyway. “I want to fight four times a year,” he said afterward. “Whoever’s ready, I’m ready.” The response of ESPN’s Dan Rafael was proof positive that the language in the sport must change: “Fight fans who have been searching for a [sic] American heavyweight champion surely are also.”
Tyson Fury understands the problem better than most. “If I want a belt, I can go and buy one,” he said last year. “It’s pointless. There’s the status of saying you’re a ‘world champion’, but when there’s twenty-five different world sanctioning bodies, it doesn’t mean nothing.”

TYSON FURY IN MUHAMMAD ALI’S FOOTSTEPS

Earlier this month, the IBF stripped Fury of their belt because of his intention to give Klitschko a rematch. The heavyweight king responded while doing roadwork. “They should take all of them away from me if they want,” he told reporter Peter Lane. “But they’ll never take what I’ve done.”
He’s in good company. The WBA pulled the same stunt on Muhammad Ali in 1964 after he agreed to a rematch against Sonny Liston. It was a move laughed at by yesterday’s more discerning boxing writers. “The WBA is an imaginary organization,” wrote Red Smith. “When Liston and Clay fight again and the winner is recognized as champion by the public, the press, and the participants, the WBA’s pretensions to power must evaporate.” At the other end of Ali’s career, the WBC took their own swing at his legacy when they stripped Leon Spinks in 1978 for agreeing to fight him in a rematch. They “awarded” the belt to Ken Norton and it was begrudgingly acknowledged by increasingly less-discerning boxing writers.
Trainer Peter Fury was more correct than we supposed when he compared Fury’s upset win over Klitschko with Ali’s upset win over Liston. Fury’s recent dismissal of homosexuality and the value of women in society left him wide open for censure, but Ali said worse. Before becoming America’s secular saint, Ali was a divisive figure who routinely thumbed his nose at the majority culture. “A black man should be killed if he’s messing with a white woman,” he said during a Playboyinterview in 1975. And what of a Black Muslim woman who wants to go out with a white man? “Then she dies. Kill her, too.” In case you haven’t noticed, Ali is celebrated by the very demographic that now condemns Fury.

A HERALD OF CHANGE?

Fury, who shuffled his feet familiarly a few times during the Klitschko fight, can likewise redefine himself as something other than a provocateur of the political left; he can step forward as a herald of change in boxing. Reform is in the air. It’s in his ear. “Gonna speak with [promoter] Mick [Hennessy] and & Tyson to give all belts away. Win em & vacate the lot. Money racket,” tweeted his trainer on December 9. “We know who the real champ is.”
The IBF, WBA, WBC, et al. would rather we didn’t. Unaccountable to anything outside their counting houses, they will continue to thrive in the mass confusion and make decisions based solely on their interests.
The heavyweight king is expected to do what is in his interests, but is also signaling his willingness to do something more. The Transnational Boxing Rankings Board’s only interest resides in that “something more.” It will continue to provide clarity for fans and fighters alike by publishing clean, globally-represented rankings at www.tbrb.org and identifying “the real champs” with virtual crowns that don’t cost a thing.

_________________

Springs Toledo is a founding member of the Transnational Boxing Rankings Board.  Special thanks to Jose Corpas and Tim Starks.

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COMMENTS

-deepwater2 :

Spot on! I couldn't have said it better my self. Tyson Fury is the heavyweight champ of the world. DWilder is a paper champ, a manufactured champ, a champ that hadn't fought more than 1 live guy in 30 plus fights! He might be a steroid cheat considering the Pbc outfit is corrupt with the drug testing procedures. DW could not last 12 against Briggs. It is a pathetic attempt to trick casual fans into thinking a uncoordinated clown is the champ of the world. King Kong would embarrass DW worse than the internet troll did. DW is the Pbc champ and nothing more.


-miguel1 :

Ttt


-Radam G :

Wow! I know that TSS super-scribe S-To would come a gunning. Nothing has changed from these alphabet-sanctioning organizations in a century and a decade. Don't forget that the ratchet, xenophobic IBO of the early 20th Century stripped "Unforgivable Blackness" heavyweight world champion Jack Johnson for love -- love of a white woman. Nuffin' [$ic] changes in this topsy-turvy syet world of boxing but da playas. Different time! Same old syet! "Unforgivable Gypsyness" Tyson "Fists of" Fury is being singled out just as his d-cuz "Unforgivable 'Black' Muslimness" Cassius Clay/Muhammad Ali was. And the IBF is racist. And that is what I said. How is it going to strangely move a never-fought-a-contender Charles Martin to number two ranking to fight the number one ranked Vyacheslav Glassjaw -- I mean Glazkov? All of these alphabet-sanctioning organizations are family monarchs or ethnic national apathy. The WBC and WBA pass from father to son. And the IBF and WBO pass from to fellow national ethnicity. Y'all know me! I'm down with O-P-P and calling a spade a spade and never hiding in the shade. Holla!


-teaser :

The man who beat the man ?well said and nuff said !!


-Radam G :

Wow! I know that TSS super-scribe S-To would come a gunning. Nothing has changed from these alphabet-sanctioning organizations in a century and a decade. Don't forget that the ratchet, xenophobic IBO of the early 20th Century stripped "Unforgivable Blackness" heavyweight world champion Jack Johnson for love -- love of a white woman. Nuffin' [$ic] changes in this topsy-turvy syet world of boxing but da playas. Different time! Same old syet! "Unforgivable Gypsyness" Tyson "Fists of" Fury is being singled out just as his d-cuz "Unforgivable 'Black' Muslimness" Cassius Clay/Muhammad Ali was. And the IBF is racist. And that is what I said. How is it going to strangely move a never-fought-a-contender Charles Martin to number two ranking to fight the number one ranked Vyacheslav Glassjaw -- I mean Glazkov? All of these alphabet-sanctioning organizations are family monarchs or ethnic national apathy. The WBC and WBA pass from father to son. And the IBF and WBO pass from to fellow national ethnicity. Y'all know me! I'm down with O-P-P and calling a spade a spade and never hiding in the shade. Holla!
My bad! It was the uber-racist IBU of the early 1900s that stripped "Unforgivable Blackness" Jack Johnson of his world title for love of a white lady. My deepest apology to you IBO. You are the "Mirror, mirror on the wall" fairest alphabet-sanctioning organization of them all. Holla!


-Radam G :

Hehehehe! But the mirror keeps cracking and on you, the thunder is whacking. Holla!


-Radam G :

The man who beat the man ?well said and nuff said !!
Whaddup, Teaser? You are gettin' on your tease. But with your Philosophy about picking a champ, you might cause a disease. The game is full of bulljive and shame. And politricks determine who is carrying the torch of fame. Everything depends on who corrupted historians want to name. And they have an agenda that will make a wild wolf mixed with a wild bear look tame. "The man who beat the man..." That catchaganda [sic] sounds grand until you vet it. Since the inception of da game, there has been politricks of who is the true champ. "The man who beat the man..." is often bullsyet slick talking-head propaganda just like about the way-back-in-da-uncrowned champs who were actually alphabet sanctioning organizations' champs. I don't post about syet without being in da know and being 'bout it, 'bout it. I syet you not. Holla at this piece:
->https://slipthejab.wordpress.com/2013/10/16/320/. There ain't nuffin' like the truth to put an end to selected history and sanitized syet. All syet stinks! And our game is full of it when it comes to who is and was "the man." And how and why he was appointed "the man?" And is he a politrick or the true, last standing d?ck? Decide for yourself. And believe no modern-day syet that you read or hear without qualifying it. And then you can join the poop of in da know or da bulljive of going into da down low and accepting the turds that flow. Holla!


-Radam G :

To any of TSS scribes, one of you guys should write a piece about the politricks of who is and was a world title holder. How do the historians accept some of the alphabet sanctioning organization champs from the same organizations and not the others. For instance, some historical champs of the old IBU, NYSAC, CSAC, the IBC, Police Gazette Magazine, The Ring Magazine and the NBA are accepted as world champions in history while other are not. WTF! Holla at the politricks about that, PLEASE! Even when the WBF was hot and before it was sued, it was accepted as a major playa in the league of alphabet sanctioning giants. Unlike when the IBF that was sued and neutered from taking GIANT payoffs for fixing ranking and bouts, the WBF was forced to change its name and all of its champions -- present ones and ex -- were wiped from being mentioned or thought as champs. Holla!


-surf-bat :

LOVE this! Feels like a left hook in the direction of restoring sanity to a sport I can hardly even watch any more. Mr. Toledo gives me a tangible hope here. ?The past is never dead. It's not even past.? -- William Faulkner Mr. Toledo, Tyson Fury and the Transnational Boxing Rankings Board give me hope that Mr. Faulkner was correct. Let's make it how it used to be. One champ per division and no more nonsense. Thanks for a great article! Douglas Cavanaugh


-Radam G :

LOVE this! Feels like a left hook in the direction of restoring sanity to a sport I can hardly even watch any more. Mr. Toledo gives me a tangible hope here. “The past is never dead. It's not even past.” -- William Faulkner Mr. Toledo, Tyson Fury and the Transnational Boxing Rankings Board give me hope that Mr. Faulkner was correct. Let's make it how it used to be. One champ per division and no more nonsense. Thanks for a great article! Douglas Cavanaugh
"One champ per division..." is a giant myth of politricking. The game has always been pucked up. So you can bet your arse that William Faulkner is double fudge spot on: "The past is never dead. It's not even past." Holla!


-Springs Toledo :

"One champ per division..." is a giant myth of politricking. The game has always been pucked up. So you can bet your arse that William Faulkner is double fudge spot on: "The past is never dead. It's not even past." Holla!
Your cynicism is completely understandable, Radam, but you're off here. Boxing has always operated with one or both feet in the shade but never in the history of the sport have we had such a multitude of so-called champions in the sport. The championships have never been in such disarray as they are today and to imply that "they have always been" is a myth that gives the WBS racketeers a pass. From 1920 until the 1960s/1970s, we knew who the champ was and it was rarely a plurality. When there was confusion, sports writers could be counted on to acknowledge it as such (middleweights, 1930s) or laugh at the pretenders (as they did Ernie Terrell in the mid 60s). To wit: in December 1949, there were [U][/U]
9 acknowledged champions. In December 2015, there are about [U][/U]
60 and that's not even counting the "super," "undisputed," "interim," and "in recess" idiocy they're passing off. Has boxing always been the red-light district of sports? Sure. But now it's like Alice in Wonderland where nonsense is normal.


-Radam G :

You are a super giant of deep dark investigations of da game, S-To. So I dare not challenge you. But according to many old timers, nothing has changed in da game. It has just become more revealing and quicker and easier to find -- all thanks to cyberspace. The same bulljive has gone on in the amateur also. As a two-and-three old kid, I remember retired pugs telling me that they were champions of diz, dat and da third, but the present corrupted (or "xenophobic") commissions and organizations were not giving them the love because of nowadays politricks. From the 1920s to the 1970, you had umpteen champs who were world title-belts holders, according to the IBC, IBU, NBA, The Police Gazette Magazine, The Ring Magazine and the powerful NYSAC, CASC and PSAC. And I have seen films where the great talking heads were acknowledging paper champs of their liking. BTW, S-To, give me your take on this copy:
->https://slipthejab.wordpress.com/2013/10/16/320/. Holla!


-Radam G :

Your cynicism is completely understandable, Radam, but you're off here. Boxing has always operated with one or both feet in the shade but never in the history of the sport have we had such a multitude of so-called champions in the sport. The championships have never been in such disarray as they are today and to imply that "they have always been" is a myth that gives the WBS racketeers a pass. From 1920 until the 1960s/1970s, we knew who the champ was and it was rarely a plurality. When there was confusion, sports writers could be counted on to acknowledge it as such (middleweights, 1930s) or laugh at the pretenders (as they did Ernie Terrell in the mid 60s). To wit: in December 1949, there were [U][/U]
9 acknowledged champions. In December 2015, there are about [U][/U]
60 and that's not even counting the "super," "undisputed," "interim," and "in recess" idiocy they're passing off. Has boxing always been the red-light district of sports? Sure. But now it's like Alice in Wonderland where nonsense is normal.
Also in the 1960s, there were three recognized heavyweight champions at one time: exiled Muhammad Ali -- WBC and Ring Magazine; Jimmy Ellis -- WBA; and "Smokin'" Joe Frazier -- NYSAC. Holla!


-miguel1 :

The scammers and the hangers-on have always been there and probably will always be there. The modern "information" age has led to the exponential growth of alphabet soups and right before our very eyes they just invent titles and belts and keep collecting fees. More people should be doing what Cotto and Fury did, and that is tell the sanctioning bodies to go scratch.


-Radam G :

The scammers and the hangers-on have always been there and probably will always be there. The modern "information" age has led to the exponential growth of alphabet soups and right before our very eyes they just invent titles and belts and keep collecting fees. More people should be doing what Cotto and Fury did, and that is tell the sanctioning bodies to go scratch.
ROGER DAT!!! DITTO! DITTO! I'm riding shotgun with cha! Holla!


-Springs Toledo :

You are a super giant of deep dark investigations of da game, S-To. So I dare not challenge you. But according to many old timers, nothing has changed in da game. It has just become more revealing and quicker and easier to find -- all thanks to cyberspace. The same bulljive has gone on in the amateur also. As a two-and-three old kid, I remember retired pugs telling me that they were champions of diz, dat and da third, but the present corrupted (or "xenophobic") commissions and organizations were not giving them the love because of nowadays politricks. From the 1920s to the 1970, you had umpteen champs who were world title-belts holders, according to the IBC, IBU, NBA, The Police Gazette Magazine, The Ring Magazine and the powerful NYSAC, CASC and PSAC. And I have seen films where the great talking heads were acknowledging paper champs of their liking. BTW, S-To, give me your take on this copy:
->https://slipthejab.wordpress.com/2013/10/16/320/. Holla!
The only era that compares to the mess today is the pre-Walker Law era when boxing was barely legal and fighters were claiming championships themselves and getting (or paying) newspapers to support their claims. A semblance of order came in after the Walker Law was passed in 1920 and continued until the WBS boys took over where Frankie Carbo left off. Of course it was never perfectly straight, and there was some confusion, but the champions were not tripping over each other because there were fewer divisions and fewer champions. The CSAC and the PSAC that you mention, for example, had no clout. They were simply state commissions, not rogue racketeers that duped the whole boxing world like the IBF has. Case in point: Maryland stripped Armstrong in 1940 and declared Izzy Jannazzo welterweight champion after he beat Cocoa Kid --do you think anyone took that declaration seriously? As to my take on that "Slip the Jab" article --scroll down to the comments and you'll get reams of my response!


-deepwater2 :

Cheers to NYC mayor James J. Walker! My type of mayor.


-Radam G :

The only era that compares to the mess today is the pre-Walker Law era when boxing was barely legal and fighters were claiming championships themselves and getting (or paying) newspapers to support their claims. A semblance of order came in after the Walker Law was passed in 1920 and continued until the WBS boys took over where Frankie Carbo left off. Of course it was never perfectly straight, and there was some confusion, but the champions were not tripping over each other because there were fewer divisions and fewer champions. The CSAC and the PSAC that you mention, for example, had no clout. They were simply state commissions, not rogue racketeers that duped the whole boxing world like the IBF has. Case in point: Maryland stripped Armstrong in 1940 and declared Izzy Jannazzo welterweight champion after he beat Cocoa Kid --do you think anyone took that declaration seriously? As to my take on that "Slip the Jab" article --scroll down to the comments and you'll get reams of my response!
My greatest salute to you. I knew that you would and could straighten it out, and expose how da game magician crooks perpetrated a thousand-and-one frauds with dough and metaphoric hidden mirrors, trap doors and smoke screens. OMG! The crooked tricks of the trade of paying off the [corrupted members of the] press and the (record-keeping) powers that be never seem to crease and desist. Boxrec is now naming every Tom, Dick and Harry who won a Ring Magazine title a legit world champion. Wow! Just from romanticism and fatalism, our sport has a Thousand-and-one politricks and lies disguised as myths of who was a legit champ when and why. Holla!