The WBA strikes again: Radzhab Butaev vs Alexander Besputin
On November 30th two relatively unknown undefeated fighters will be fighting for the WBA ‘regular’ welterweight title in Monte Carlo. Radzhab Butaev (12-0, 9ko) will face fellow countryman Alexander Besputin (13-0, 9ko) for the opportunity to be called a world champion.
This is a direct result of WBA super champion Manny Pacquiao’s victory over Keith Thurman, in July. With Pacquiao securing the super version of the title, the regular version became vacant.
Ok hold on! As usual, the WBA has to explain how their ranking system works or at the very least make us understand the purpose of holding some of these titles.
The fighter who should be extremely frustrated is WBA gold titlist Vergil Ortiz Jr.
The 21-year-old fighter from Texas fought one month after Senator Pacquiao claimed the super title and wasn’t awarded the opportunity to fight for the regular title. There seems to be no justifiable purpose for holding the gold title especially given the fact it doesn’t guarantee a title opportunity.
It’s almost as if the organization keeps it around just in case things get stagnant, they will order the gold titlist to fight the ‘regular’ champion or as a fighter next in line to be elevated.
A prime example of the latter would be how former gold cruiserweight champion Arsen Guolamirian was elevated twice to regular then to super status without partaking in one bout!
Then there is the organization’s confusing method of ranking fighters while others are able to leapfrog their current titlest for a higher version of the title. For example, the WBA allowed top junior welterweight contender Mario Barrios to fight for the vacant regular title over interim and gold champions Alberto Puello and Yves Ulysse Jr respectively.
However, the most egregious debacle by the WBA was when they allowed both former world champions Gervonta Davis, and Leo Santa Cruz to be catapulted straight to the top. In separate situations, both fought for vacant versions of the super title!
Lets make it clear! This is in no way an indictment on both Besputin and Butaev. They’ve worked hard to be ranked #1 and #2 respectively. The stakes are high and both men will undoubtedly give the fans a night to remember.
By: Garrisson Bland