Former WBA heavyweight titlist Ruslan Chagaev got back on the winning track with an unanimous decision victory over Kali Meehan today in Germany, securing his spot as the WBA mandatory with predictable ease. Chagaev won on scores of 118-110 and 116-112 (twice).
Chagaev (26-1-1, 17 KO) had been off for eleven months, following his June 2009 domination at the hands of Wladimir Klitschko. Sitting on the sidelines, Chagaev was allowed right back into the WBA title hunt with this fight against Meehan (35-4, 29 KO), who is now 40 years old and hasn't really done much since being stopped in four by Hasim Rahman in 2004. His best win in that time was over DaVarryl Williamson, who had long since been exposed as yet another heavyweight mediocrity.
Watching the fight again reminded me of what I hate about the heavyweight division as a fan. There are so few risks taken by anyone. Chagaev did at least have the balls to fight Wladimir Klitschko last year, knowing, I'm sure, that he would lose. He got a payday, and now the WBA just thrusts him right back in there despite the fact that Chagaev hasn't looked good in his recent bouts. To make it as easy as possible to get one of the WBA's Big Three (Chagaev, Valuev, Ruiz) back in the picture, they fed him Meehan, who's been sitting on a mandatory that the WBA wouldn't enforce for a while now.
Meehan didn't have much at all in the fight, and Chagaev looked average at best. Both were slow, and Meehan's jab was incredibly ineffective for a 6'5" guy fighting a squared-up Chagaev who moved right at him all day long. Now Chagaev will wait his turn for a shot at David Haye, while the whole division sits on standby waiting to see what becomes of the Wladimir-Haye-Povetkin situation. If Klitschko-Povetkin happens, Haye could try to make a fight with Vitali Klitschko, perhaps, or he could just fight Chagaev. Vitali is set for his stomach-turning defense against the woefully unqualified Albert Sosnowski next Saturday. And everyone else seems content to just go about their business for the time being, fully aware that the division is entirely ruled by the Klitschko brothers. It seems like even the fighters accept that as reality instead of a challenge to knock one of them off the throne, making for an incredibly boring division that produces almost nothing but predictable fights that aren't any damn fun to watch.