clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

WBA continuing roundabout title scene at heavyweight

Ruslan Chagaev will fight Kali Meehan for the interim WBA heavyweight title. Why an interim titlist is needed is anyone's guess.
Ruslan Chagaev will fight Kali Meehan for the interim WBA heavyweight title. Why an interim titlist is needed is anyone's guess.
Scott Christ is the managing editor of Bad Left Hook and has been covering boxing for SB Nation since 2006.

In an attempt to keep things mundane and unexciting, the WBA has ordered -- for whatever reason -- an interim heavyweight title fight between former full titlist Ruslan Chagaev and Kali Meehan.

The WBA has been somewhat sharply criticized in recent years for seeming intent on keeping the belt between Chagaev, Nikolai Valuev and John Ruiz. When David Haye beat Valuev for the title on November 7, it marked the first time since 2004 that anyone other than Ruiz, Valuev or Chagave held the title.

Now, Haye is set up for a challenge from Ruiz, while Valuev holds a rematch clause and the Chagaev-Meehan winner (likely Chagaev) will be in line for a title shot.

In other words, even if Haye gets past Ruiz, and then the Chagaev-Meehan winner (the WBA says that will go next), he then will have to field the rematch request from Valuev.

Haye has attempted to convince the world once again that he wants to fight the Klitschkos, feeling his standing as a heavyweight titlist will make negotiations and contracts more fair this time around. Reportedly, he pulled out of a June fight with Wladimir due to injury, then pulled out of a September fight with Vitali due to the bad contract. Without Haye, Wladimir beat Chagaev to claim the Ring Magazine championship, and Vitali beat Cristobal Arreola.

The central question might be this: Is David Haye going to hang on to this belt for too much longer? He's doing the Ruiz fight, and he'll probably do the Valuev rematch because it's contractually obligated, but at what point is he going to be sick of taking challenges from the WBA's Three Amigos? A win over Ruiz really does put him right in position for a money fight with the Klitschkos. Wladimir will fight Eddie Chambers or Alexander Povetkin next spring when he's back from surgery, and Vitali is already fighting again in December with Kevin Johnson. Frankly, they're going to run out of opponents.

Why would Haye want to then fight Chagaev (or even worse, Meehan) and again Valuev when he could just drop the belt and move on with his life? It's not like the WBA title is some shining example of greatness or anything. I know boxers think more of the belts than many of us do, but this is taking it to the extremes.

Sign up for the newsletter Sign up for the Bad Left Hook Daily Roundup newsletter!

A daily roundup of all your global boxing news from Bad Left Hook