Sauerland Event sent out a press release that referenced the WBA's latest rankings, and in particular their removal of Ruslan Chagaev as "champion in recess" of the heavyweight division. Chagaev, who had to pull out of a fight with Valuev in June because of a licensing denial in Finland, is now slotted in as the No. 1 contender, though No. 2-ranked John Ruiz is listed as the official (or mandatory) challenger.
David Haye, who will face Valuev on November 7, is ranked fourth.
Most importantly, this gets that joke title off of Chagaev and allows for Valuev-Haye -- no matter what you think of either guy or their fight -- to be contested for the full WBA title, though who knows how long that will last? By the time that comes around Kali Meehan might wind up fighting Ray Austin for an interim title or some such nonsense.
Of course, you could also bring up the following:
- Chagaev won the title from Valuev and never lost it to him in the ring. Valuev beat (or robbed, depending on your view) Ruiz for the vacant title in August 2008, even though it wasn't really vacated.
- Most people feel Evander Holyfield deserved a decision over Valuev in December, so there's also that.
- And then you have the other scenario: If you never bought Valuev as "champion" in the first place, you have Chagaev, who lost to Wladimir Klitschko in June. The WBA didn't allow Chagaev to put his "champion in recess" title on the line. So that might make you think Klitschko deserves the WBA title.
- The following guys could be considered "WBA champion" if you want to get down to it: Valuev, Chagaev, Klitschko, Holyfield, and Ruiz. How much more worthless can this title get?