Alex Arthur to Become WBO Champ... Without Fighting

Think it's crappy when the sanctioning organizations that award titles in boxing can't get their acts together and put on meaningful championship bouts? How about when they award belts without even having boxers, you know, box for them?

That looks like it's about to happen with the WBO junior lightweight belt. Joan Guzman, the former titlist at 130 pounds, announced yesterday that he was relinquishing his belt because he and his team were tired of waiting for a fight to be made with mandatory challenger Alex Arthur. Since Arthur was the WBO's interim titlist (and someone needs to explain to me exactly what that means), Dan Rafael of ESPN is reporting that the sanctioning body is expected to simply name him the champ.

What a novel concept: if you want to win a world title, simply become the mandatory opponent, then stall long enough for the champ to get tired of waiting for you. He leaves, you get the gold. Brilliant!

I don't feel too bad for personal favorite Guzman, who's on to bigger (for sure) and better (hopefully) things at 135. But this does underscore why I consider The Ring magazine champs to be the real deal. The "Bible of Boxing" only allows a belt to change hands when someone dethrones the man who holds it, declaring it vacant if the champ retires or changes weight classes. A vacant belt can only be won if the number one and two (or occasionally number three) men in the rankings fight each other. It's not a perfect system, but it adds a heck of a lot more legitimacy to the sport than whatever the WBO's of the world cook up.

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