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Should the IBF have put up an "interim" title?

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I must be the hardest man in the world to please. I spend so much time complaining about the alphabet bodies creating unnecessary titles that I must often come across as if I hate the IBF, WBA, WBC and WBO. The truth is that I don't actually mind them, honestly I don't, they are generally good for the sport, just their actions are quite often questionable. The organisations have often managed to make things more complicated for boxing fans by handing out titles like candy and having rankings that are just illogical. Though sometimes they do miss an opportunity to take advantage of a situation that has arisen from someone else's doing.


Although interim titles are often part of the frustration with the alphabet boys sometimes they do make sense. I don't think the IBF have ever done an “interim” title, though this weekend they had a genuinely plausible reason for introducing one. When their Bantamweight champion Joseph “King Kong” Agbeko pulled out of his title fight with Abner Mares around 72 hours before the fight with a medical issue it would have been difficult to complain at the concept of an IBF “interim” title being used to keep Mares on the card and lure an opponent at such short notice. Instead Mares has been pulled from the card and a fight with Agbeko will be rescheduled for when and IF Agbeko makes a return to the ring.


An “interim” title, in my mind should be reserved for when a champion is injured and unable to meet a scheduled date (specifically at such short notice) or is suffering a long term problem. This fight being called off 3 days prior to the show certainly falls into the first category. An “interim” champion should also be the first man to fight the champion when the champion returns. The fact that the Mares v Agbeko fight will still be fought (if Agbeko “returns in a timely fashion”) means that the criteria of the champion returning to face the interim will be fulfilled.


Most importantly though is that it would have allowed Mares to collect a nice payday rather than miss out due to something that wasn't his fault. The struggle for an opponent willing to take the fight on such short notice was always going to be a problem but the promise of a world title chance and possible future Showtime dates would have been a good lure for some of the IBF ranked fighters in either the Jr Bantamweight or Bantamweight divisions. We also don't know when and if Joseph Agbeko will be cleared to fight again, is it fair to halt Mares' career?


Whilst this wouldn't have been a perfect scenario as it would have possibly resulted in Showtime's “Bantamweight tournament” becoming a bit of a farce with a replacement fighter “jumping” into the final and it could have seen an ill-prepared Mares beaten by someone he hadn't of expected to face. The situation we have been left with is also far from perfect (though it has been tidied up well by Showtime), Mares is missing out on a payday, fight fans are left feeling a little bit “short changed” and tonight's fight schedule looks bare. And the biggest question would still remain, would an “interim” title have managed to lure in an opponent for Mares anyway?



Gary Shaw has said he will petition for the winner of Yohnny Perez v Vic Darchinyan to face Mares for the title.





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M As stated in this piece, when the system works is incidents like this. An interim title should have been in place here so as to reward the winner as well as giving him a direct opportunity to fight for the title which was his right in the first place. Also, virtually ensuring another fight on Showtime with the appropriate purse. Unfortunately, the system is so bastardized over and over again that most folks react as they have on this thread, which is to say, "no interim titles". When, in actuality, it is all the OTHER times there should be no interim titlists and ONLY times such as this.
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Exactly, Tim. When the Interim title first came about, I actually LIKED the idea. It was with regard to Yuri Arbachakov's hand injury about 1997(?) and rather than have the entire division sit in limbo for what Doctors said would be at least a year, the WBC came up with the Interim idea, allowing the rest of the division to move forward and Yuri not to be stripped. When he recovered then he fought the Interim Champ, Lost, and retired. If the Agbeko injury turns out to be something that doesn't heal in a moderate length of time, then that's an example of when an Interim title is the solution. But it's to be used only as an alternative to stripping due to injury, it was NEVER meant to be permanent just to add to the Orgs coffers.
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I don't agree at all - you're either the champion or the contender, I don't even like the face we've got multiple world titles, much less the idea of every organisation having a series of belts that say "I'm not the champion, I'm just holding his belt for him while he's away."


OK so your chance at the fighting the champion has gone down the pan. That's a shame, but it's a chance you take. He's ill, not his fault, if you're the #1 contender you'll get your chance again. There are no circumstances in which I want to see interim titles at all - if your shot falls through, just try to schedule a keep-busy fight in the meantime and wait for your chance to come again.

I haven't heard anyone asking for Chisora to get an interim belt.


Either you want to reform the system and unify the titles into something meaningful or you don't. You can't just issue titles because you feel sorry for someone. Or should we start awarding titles to guys who lose but only just? They could have a silver belt like the WBC.


They say the road to Hell is paved with good intentions. We're already halfway to Hell and we're in desperate need of a bulldozer.

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i'm kind of on both sides here, on the one hand another interim belt does seem just another instance of belt proliferation, but then again, if whatever wacky thing agbeko came down with holds him out for a year, what the interim title does is more or less move on from agbeko and give him a shot at whoever holds the interim title. ideally, the interim title disappears when agbeko meets the interim champ.

i guess we didn't get one, so mares is left by the wayside. hopefully we still get mares-agbeko and the winner against someone like moreno or (if he has regained consciousness yet) montiel. even better matchups are available if donaire can sneak away from top rank like he tried

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I think we'll be Mares-Agbeko but it will be because they still have to honor their contract to Showtime for the Tournament, they aren't out of that commitment just because of the injury. I can see Gav's argument that there should only be one way to be a Champ and that's by beating the Champ, and in a perfect world then #1 just goes about his business and stays on top of the mountain until the champ returns to face him. I like the idea of the divison moving forward, but when you stop and think about it, why can't that happen WITHOUT the title? There's no reason the mandatory has to lay out just to protect his position, there's such a thing as bad luck, deal with it.
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