Championship vacancies can be filled by winning a box-off between The Ring’s number-one and number-two contenders, or, in certain instances, a box-off between our number-one and number-three contenders.
Currently, the welterweight championship of the world is vacant, with Floyd Mayweather, Jr., off doing his retired thing. Miguel Cotto is ranked No. 1 in the world by The Ring. Antonio Margarito is ranked No. 4.
Rules are rules, and they're there for a reason. It's not easy to earn a legitimate world championship, or at least it shouldn't be.
But do you think The Ring should recognize the winner of the upcoming Cotto-Margarito super fight as the new and true welterweight champion?
Margarito is ranked behind Shane Mosley and Paul Williams. Mosley lost to Cotto last November, but it was a great, close fight, and I agree with those two guys at 1-2. I also can't really argue with Williams ahead of Margarito, because Williams outlasted Margarito in July of 2007, though I left that fight with the impression that a rematch would absolutely go the other way.
Considering the unlikely status of seeing Cotto-Williams any time soon or a Cotto-Mosley rematch, I'm sort of torn on whether or not The Ring should make a big exception in this case.
I think we can all agree that No. 1 is Cotto. But after that, I could see any order of Mosley-Williams-Margarito being totally defensible. In filling title vacancies, The Ring is a slave to its own idea, and it is a fair idea. But every rule has a loophole, or at least a situation that begs for change. In filling a vacant title, perhaps the magazine should accept a fight where the No. 1 ranked boxer in the division fights anyone they rank within their top five. After all, those are certainly legit world title contenders, are they not?
Vacancies would be filled easier, and while they might not be THE BEST fight, they'd be worthwhile matchups, risks on both sides. Real fights. We wouldn't have to sit around hoping that Wladimir Klitschko fights Sam Peter or Ruslan Chagaev, we could crown a champion if Wlad decided to go after that fight with mandatory contender Alexander Povetkin (ranked fifth).
This system wouldn't be perfect, either, of course, but there are rare occasions like this one where you have what is a perfectly acceptable world championship-caliber fight. It doesn't happen often enough (No. 1 fighting Nos. 2-5) to make a major difference, anyway. It's not a complete changing of the rules, just a tweaking that will promote both the lineal titles -- which should be emphasized by everyone -- and good fights.
What say you? Should The Ring recognize Cotto-Margarito as a world championship fight?