Friday, March 31, 2006

WBC mandates another shot for James Toney: What’s it really all about?

By JE Grant

The WBC has once again declared that James Toney somehow deserves a mandatory shot at the organization’s heavyweight title.

In a press release posted on the WBC website, the organization “decided by majority voting, to confirm Oleg Maskaev as the official WBC challenger to fight next against world WBC heavyweight champion Hasim Rahman.”

Never mind that Maskaev had to wait for his chance while sitting as the number one contender only to watch the then-number five contender Toney become the mandatory challenger.

For his part, Toney showed up grossly out of shape in his meeting with Rahman and salvaged a draw as the result of an Atlantic City decision.

Perhaps more significantly, the organization’s action essentially precludes the possibility of a unification series for the rest of this year.

Even the bosses at the WBC have figured out that a unified champion can tell any one or even a combination of the organizations to go jump in a lake for a specific defense and that means no money for the home office. Further, a unified champion who resists long enough to be stripped of the title will still be considered the real champion – Antonio Tarver comes to mind – and he siphons off the big money while the new paper champions pull in smaller paydays thus smaller sanctioning fees will go into the coffers of the sanctioning body.

Consider the following fees for heavyweight contests according to the WBC’s rules posted on their website: (click here to see rules for yourself)

Promoter: “In Heavyweight championship bouts and bouts of any other division with a combined purse of US $1.5 million dollars and over:........…US$ 25,000.” Also “the promoter must have paid his annual registration fee, which is $7,000.00, in order to promote a WBC sanctioned bout.” Promoters get a $2,000 discount if they pay before March 31st. What a bargain, huh?

Here is where it gets really interesting. The boxer’s fee is where the real cash resides.

Fighters: “Boxers’ Bout Fee. Three percent (3.0%) of all gross amounts received by the boxers as compensation for a bout, as stated in the Bout Agreement and any other agreement, including but not limited to compensation derived from Pay-Per-View, Cable or satellite transmission, Television Broadcast, or Internet distribution, including amounts calculated and paid following the Bout. This includes all sums of money paid from all national or international sources.”

But we’re not finished with fees (although it isn’t clear who pays). There’s $2,000 for a belt if a new champion is crowned; $1500 for insurance; referee fees ranging from $1600 to $8150 depending on the size of the total purse; judges fees ranging from $1300 to $5150 depending on the size of the total purse; and $500 for WBC representative incidentals.

Want more? Consider this weird one. If a fighter contests for a non-WBC title in a higher or lower weight class there is still a WBC fee:

“In the event that a WBC champion fights for another organization’s title in a higher weight class, or in a lower weight class in a bout in which his WBC title is not also at stake, the champion must pay to the WBC 50% (fifty percent) of the WBC sanction fee, as stated herein, in view of the market value brought to the bout as a result of his standing attained as a WBC champion.”

That’s right, a fee for doing absolutely nothing. (Now you know why Floyd Mayweather so casually dumped his WBC super-lightweight belt as he prepares to try for the IBF welterweight title. I guess he didn’t know that the WBC increased his “market value”).

Of course that is almost all the fighters, managers, trainers, and even promoters get for the grand privilege of fighting for a WBC sanctioned “world” title bout.

So what does that translate to if two major league heavyweights bring in some pay-per-view kind of money?

Lets add it up.

* If a heavyweight titlist, is paid 10,000,000 gross his fee is a whopping $300,000. Let’s assume his challenger is paid half that amount, 5,000,000. His fee is $150,000.

* The promoter kicks in $25,000 more.

* If the challenger wins there is the belt fee, $2,000.

* Of course if the promoter has not already done so, his “registration” fee for the right to promote a WBC contest is at least $5,000 depending on the time of year.

*It’s a big gross so we’ll pay the referee $8150 and each of three judges $5150 (totaling 15,450).

* Life insurance for each fighter, $1500 (totaling $3000).

* And, then there’s that WBC representative’s fee for incidentals of $500.

In my rough math, that equals $509,100 for what really amounts to a really tacky belt.

So does the WBC really want a fighter lesser known that James Toney to be the opponent for Rahman? What would be the motivating factor? I’ll leave it to you to decide.


Anonymous the cruiserweight said...

Hmm...This one here is a print-it-out and read it with my 1.5 reading glasses and a strong drink.Let me get back...

12:19 AM  
Blogger JE Boxing said...

Cruiser - Oltroy -- Looking forward to your comments. BTW this was also published on Boxing I've got a short-term agreement with the fine folks there for some articles.

6:47 PM  
Anonymous the cruiserweight said...

Hmm...I have just finished reading this JE.Bold,accurate,and yes--a bit disturbing.Let me catch a few 'Z's' and get back...


12:58 AM  
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