By JE Grant
In a weight division with top fighters such as Joe Calzaghe and Mikkel Kessler, Robert Stieglitz is now the number one contender according to the IBF.
So firm is the organization in this belief that it is poised to strip the 42-0 champion Calzaghe of its belt if he chooses to defends against anyone else.
Stieglitz, a Russian based in Germany, though 25-0, has never beaten a consensus top 10 fighter.
Fighters such as former titlists Jeff Lacy, Anthony Mundine, and Markus Beyer, have been leap-frogged by the 25 year-old for reasons apparent only to the IBF.
Other top division dwellers such as Allan Green, Librado Andrade, and Lucien Bute are also relegated to a lower status.
The BBC quoted IBF championship committed chairman Lindsey Tucker as saying "I don't think it's fair that Stieglitz should wait any longer."
As unbelievable as it is that anyone from the IBF is talking about something being “fair,” nevertheless the organization is pushing for Stieglitz to get a shot now.
This is of course just a small part of the lunacy that pervades the IBF (and the other alphabets) and is just the reason why the organizations, through their intense greed, will eventually drive themselves from existence.
Hopefully Calzaghe thumbs his nose at the IBF and carries on with plans to fight an actual, proven top fighter next time out. His previous slavish resolve to keep his other belt, the WBO version, kept him from fighting several big names along the way.
Nearing age 35 he simply does not have the time to continue the alphabet game any longer.
We cannot be surprised by virtually any action by the IBF. The organization stripped the undisputed (and undisputable) middleweight champion Jermain Taylor so that Arthur Abraham could fight Kingsley Ikeke for the belt.
So out of touch is the IBF that it lists Abraham, a native of Armenia but now a German citizen, as being from “Australia” on its website. His current number one contender is hard-punching Edison Miranda. We can only guess that they haven’t seen Winky Wright.
At heavyweight the organization lists that fine young fighter “Not Rated” as the number one contender. How can the organization not settle on a top-rated contender? You have to wonder what exactly they are waiting for.
Want more? How about the stripping of O’Neil Bell who the entire world saw win the undisputed (and undisputable) cruiserweight championship. The IBF still can’t put together two fighters to compete for the bogus belt.
More still? The one-time undisputed welterweight champion Zab Judah was stunned and upset by the tough Carlos Baldomir in a world title fight. Baldomir, who chose not to pay the exorbitant fee for the precious right to wear the organization’s belt, was denied the IBF version.
Much worse, however, was the fact that Judah was allowed to keep the belt and subsequently lost his next fight and the fake title to the great Floyd Mayweather.
So impressed by the title was Mayweather, that he almost instantly dumped it and instead chose to face the real champion Baldomir.
Who knows who will be paired for the “vacant” title now.
Perhaps the most blatant action by the organization was its 2005 ruling that DaVarryl Williamson should jet past Wladimir Klitschko to get a title shot at then-titlist Chris Byrd despite having lost to Klitschko.
The consequence? The boxing world was made to watch Byrd easily dismantle Williamson for a paltry (by heavyweight title standards) purse.
The waste of time and energy for the titlist and the sport resulted in yet one more reason the general sporting public bemoans the state of the sport.
The collection of inane actions by the IBF and the companion alphabet organizations makes them deserving of ignoring.
Hopefully Calzaghe takes the path of Antonio Tarver and Glen Johnson as they eschewed title belts to give us the best match-up at the time in the light-heavyweight division.
By facing Taylor or fellow belt-wearer Kessler, he will make more money and gain even wider recognition as one of the top pound-for-pound fighters in the sport.