Advertisement
Advertisement
Boxingscene.com

Erdei Vacates: Ding-Dong, the Lineage Argument is Dead

By Cliff Rold

It was the world title history which few cared about.  Those who did just shook their head waiting for it to end.

And now it has according to various news reports.  It ends with a fitting whimper.

In preparation for his challenge of WBC Cruiserweight titlist Giacobbe Fragomeni next Saturday, WBO Light Heavyweight champion Zsolt Erdei (30-0, 17 KO) has vacated that belt.  In doing so, he has also vacated the last link to a debate about the lineage of the World Light Heavyweight championship which extends over much of the last thirteen years.

It was a debate which mattered once upon a time.  During the height of his WBO title reign, Dariusz Michalczewski was regarded by most as the second best in class in comparison to American superstar Roy Jones Jr. 

What made Michalczewski worth paying attention to while he and Jones stood atop the division from 1997-2003 was an action style, an undefeated record, and a claim to the lineal championship at 175 lbs.

Michalczewski defeated Virgil Hill by decision in June 1997, adding Hill’s IBF and WBA belts to a WBO belt he’d held since 1994.  Hill was one year removed from defeating Henry Maske, adding Maske’s IBF belt to his own.  During his second WBA title reign, Hill has successfully defended against a Fabrice Tiozzo who would, prior to Hill-Maske, win the WBC belt.

All roads led to Hill.  Then they passed to Dariusz.  Michalczewski was forced out of/stripped of the WBA and IBF belts for nonsense reasons; they ended up with Jones who also captured the WBC belt when Tiozzo vacated.  Dariusz vs. Roy was never much more than banter between hard core followers, but it was a merit debate and fun in its time, at least until Michalczewski began to visibly slip around 2001.

When Michalczewski lost in October 2003, at age 35, to a Julio Gonzalez who hadn’t really won a round against Jones in July 2001, the lineage argument lost some steam.  When Gonzalez lost in his first title defense to undefeated former Olympian Zsolt Erdei, it was a moment of wait and see.

Maybe Erdei could make some hay with the lineage.

But he didn’t. 

As BoxingScene’s Jake Donovan stated in a piece on October 22 of this year, a real champion is a man who takes on “all comers” in his class and

For champions such as Zsolt Erdei…such interest has proven to be all but non-existent.
Erdei’s embarrassment of a light heavyweight title reign could potentially come to an end next month, if only by default. On tap is a foray to the cruiserweight division, where he will challenge alphabet titlist Giacobe Fragomeni.

The scheduled fight represents a stiffer challenge than anything he’s attempted in more than five years as lineal light heavyweight king, where he feasted on the division’s bottom feeders far more than he’s attempted to face any semblance of respectable contenders.

All of this probably wasn’t Erdei’s fault.  His promoter, Klaus Peter Kohl, has always been a savvy and sometimes careful match maker.  Results are results though, and Erdei did not have them.

For historical purity purposes, Erdei couldn’t be denied his place in the lineage.  Early in his WBO reign, he had some interesting wins against real contenders like Hugo Garay, Mehdi Sahnoune, and Thomas Ulrich.  But as his reign wore on and the mid-level challengers gave way to no-level of challenge at all, the Ring Magazine title passed between Jones, Antonio Tarver, Glen Johnson, Bernard Hopkins, and Joe Calzaghe. 

Erdei became proof that while the concept of a champion needing to lose a title in the ring is solid, the practice is sometimes highly flawed.

And now it’s over. 

BoxingScene rates Chad Dawson and WBC titlist Jean Pascal as the top two fighters at 175 lbs., Dawson largely regarded as the top dog right now.  They may square off next year.  Former Ring Magazine titlist Bernard Hopkins is still rated number two by Ring Magazine; they would recognize a Dawson-Hopkins winner as the new ‘real’ World Champion.  Somewhere, IBF titlist Tavoris Cloud (20-0, 18 KO), who Dawson gave up the IBF belt to avoid when Cloud was a mandatory, will have his say as well.

One of them will emerge as the new king.  Whoever that is, they will matter in the role.  Erdei, as the lineal king if nothing else, never really did.

Cliff Rold is a member of the Ring Magazine Ratings Advisory Panel and the Boxing Writers Association of America.  He can be reached at [email protected]

Tags:
User Comments and Feedback (Register For Free To Comment) Comment by HeartAttack on 11-14-2009

[QUOTE=Iceta;6642387]When a guy has no interest in fighting the best in the division, the argument that he's the lineal champ should be laid to rest. Hopkins is getting to that point as well, even though I don't care whether or…

Comment by Boxingwizard on 11-14-2009

After all these years Erdei is now finally taking a risk? LoL, it doesn't matter he's getting knocked out when he moves up.

Comment by Iceta on 11-14-2009

When a guy has no interest in fighting the best in the division, the argument that he's the lineal champ should be laid to rest. Hopkins is getting to that point as well, even though I don't care whether or…

Comment by keepthemhandsup on 11-14-2009

thank god..............

Comment by flyest1 on 11-14-2009

The greatest news I heard all day. Now it's time to see a great fight tonight

Post a Comment - View More User Comments (5)
Top Headlines Tyson Fury Will NOT Return in 2016, Says Peter Fury Sosa-Smith Winner is Contractually Bound To Face Fortuna Next Photos: Braehmer, Cleverly - Face To Face at Final Presser David Price Wants Parker or Top Name on Nov. 26, Not Allen Kell Brook Has Surgery - Wants Canelo, Cotto, Khan in 2017 Dennis Ceylan in Toughest Camp Ever For Ryan Walsh Clash Michael Conlan, Donnelly Named in Olympic Betting Judgement Diego Magdaleno vs. Art Hovhannisyan Set For October 7 Parker's Trainer: Dimitrenko is Bigger Challenge Than Haumono Tommy Langford-Sam Sheedy For Vacant British Belt, Oct. 22 Lou DiBella, Gary Shaw Fire Back at Jose Pedraza's Manager Duva: 'Modest Aspirations' For Kovalev-Ward PPV Performance Mayweather Sr: If Pacquiao Lost To Floyd Again, He'd Claim Injury Roach Will Have Pacquiao, Zou Shiming Spar as Bouts Near Parker's Title Prospects Increase as WBO Pressures Tyson Fury David Price vs. David Allen Clash in Play For October 15 Photos: Joseph Parker, Alexander Dimitrenko - Go Face To Face Miguel Cotto Return Targeted For February at Barclays Center Jose Ramirez: Pacquiao is Very Strong, Very Fast in Sparring Cecilia Braekhus Achieves Dream of Headlining on Home Soil Arum Rips: Golden Boy's Flat Fee Offer To Golovkin is Bullsh*t! Video: Bob Arum on Pacquiao Card, Future of PPV, More Estrada's Promoter Expects Chocolatito To Get KO'd in Rematch Photos: Mike Lee, Chris Traietti - Go Face To Face in Chicago Yordenis Ugas Demolishes Bryant Perrella in Four Rounds Magdaleno Confident of Making 122, Feels Donaire Has Aged Video: Pacquiao vs. Vargas Undercard Press Conference Jacobs' Trainer: Danny Not Afraid, He Will Curdle Golovkin's Milk! Donnie Nietes Feels Good at 112, Eyes WBO World Title Shot Ashley Theophane Tops Mayweather Promotions Card on Oct. 8 Photos: Nonito Doniare, Jessie Magdaleno - Go Face To Face Tyson Fury Will Be Back, Getting Help - Says Trainer Peter Fury Braehmer Will Have His Eye on Kovalev vs. Ward Winner Oscar Valdez Vows To Put on a Show on Pacquiao vs. Vargas Vasyl Lomachenko vs. Nicholas Walters Deal in Place, Nov. 26 Humberto Soto Will Now Face Daniel Ruiz on October 1 Danny Garcia's Handlers Tried To Secure Eggington, Says Hearn Jamie Cox Feels He Would Topple DeGale, Jack, Ramirez, De Carolis Photos: Frankie Gavin, Sam Eggington - Face To Face at Presser Klitschko vs. Joshua Getting Close as Both Sides Wait For Rulings
Advertisement

Latest Active Forum Threads
Advertisement
Advertisement