View Full Version : What does being a contender really mean anymore?


One more round
12-31-2009, 09:42 AM
BITD, before we had all the Alphabet bodies etc etc we all know the story..... being a "contender" for the World Title really meant something. Contenders had followings, they were notable even if they never won the title. Being a contender was an achievement. Even if you never ever became champ, you were still a contender, one of the best in the world in your weight at the time.


Nowadays with so many rankings, there's so many damn contenders, to be a contender no longer means you are automatically a quality fighter. Hardly any fighters become notable while they are still contenders, and just seems like the whole idea of a contender is really de-valued these days, if you feel me.

Bigdaddy_Vh
12-31-2009, 11:32 AM
i definately feel ya on this one but ya know, its a funny thing. even with all the sanctioning bodies and all the bull**** rankings they have, i still tend to know who the REAL contenders are. Boxing is kind of funny that way and im glad you posted this topic b/c i was just thinking about this myself last night. i think the whole idea of a "contender" has been de-valued to the mainstream or the casual boxing fan but true boxing fans like us know the difference.

BennyST
12-31-2009, 01:23 PM
Well, you're right. Being a contender is not much to brag about these days. Unless you're in an amazing divisions full of freakish talent, it's hard not to win a title.

The classic contender was someone who made it very close to the top, but just couldn't become champion.

Thirty years ago, there was the WBC/WBA champion and one of them was usually recognised as the guy. Before that it was just the one guy only. After that there were the contenders. Today, those same contenders are all champions.

With the IBO about to be recognised as another big title because of stupid popular fighters like Pac, Hatton, Jones fighting for one but losing etc, it will soon be just another in the mix. Being a contender was something to be seriously amazed at a while ago. You had won your way to the top and only had one or two guys to go before being the champion. Now, you're a contender with five champions, another Ring champ, another lineal champ (because it seems as though you don't need to win a title to become a lineal champ anymore) and all sorts of stuff.

It's just different. It will never change and so as long as people recognise that being a five time champion today is nothing compared to being a five time champion thirty years ago, it's all good.

Guys like Jose Medel would have been multiple time champs today, absolutely. The problem was, back then, he had to fight one guy to become the champ and that guy was the very best of the best. He didn't have to fight a Malignaggi to get a belt or a David Diaz, he had to fight Eder Jofre and that was the only guy to fight. Until someone was good enough to beat him and you were good enough to get another shot at them, it was that one shot and that's it.

Put it this way: today if fighting as a ranked 'contender', you have at the minimum one or two people above you for the title, depending on WBA/WBC/ETC/ETC.

To become champ, you can beat that one or two guys. That only leaves four other champions, their 'interim', 'super', 'regular' or whatever as well as four other 'contenders'.

When it was the one guy, you had the one guy you needed to beat, which meant you had already gone through the best to get him. That would be similar to beating as many as three other contenders and three other champions. Soon, 'Undisputed' will mean nothing or maybe it will be the only one that ever really means anything. It sure is the only one that truly means anything at the moment.

El Jesus
12-31-2009, 01:29 PM
Guys like Jose Medel would have been multiple time champs today, absolutely. The problem was, back then, he had to fight one guy to become the champ and that guy was the very best of the best. He didn't have to fight a Malignaggi to get a belt or a David Diaz, he had to fight Eder Jofre and that was the only guy to fight.

Ironic you should mention Jofre...

TBear
12-31-2009, 05:07 PM
There was a time when a fighter had to beat ranked fighters to move up in the rankings. Not any more, beat 20 bums and pay some money and you can be in the top ten. Most of it has to do with the crooked sanctioning bodies.
Makes me sad, the state of it all right now!

One more round
12-31-2009, 07:52 PM
If you took say, the WW division today, and put it back 60 years ago

Shane is the champ, Cotto, Margarito, Clottey, Floyd, Manny etc are all top contenders, fighting for a shot at the title.

How good would that be?

BennyST
01-01-2010, 03:01 AM
If you took say, the WW division today, and put it back 60 years ago

Shane is the champ, Cotto, Margarito, Clottey, Floyd, Manny etc are all top contenders, fighting for a shot at the title.

How good would that be?

Exactly. All of these guys have been champs without necessarily beating the top guy in the division. The real champ. They have all become champs through vacant titles, beating one of the ABC champs etc.

Pac's recent title winning effort would have just bumped him up to be the guy to fight for the title instead of actually winning one. He would have become the top contender but still would have had to fight Mosley to become a titlist.

BennyST
01-01-2010, 03:06 AM
Ironic you should mention Jofre...

How so? What am I missing? :thinking:

El Jesus
01-01-2010, 05:39 AM
How so? What am I missing? :thinking:

look to youre left.

GJC
01-01-2010, 06:55 PM
When it was the one guy, you had the one guy you needed to beat, which meant you had already gone through the best to get him. That would be similar to beating as many as three other contenders and three other champions. Soon, 'Undisputed' will mean nothing or maybe it will be the only one that ever really means anything. It sure is the only one that truly means anything at the moment.

Great post Benny, highlighted this part because it kind of answers a criticism about some old champions in that they didn't defend their title as much as they should.
Winning the title was so difficult in the old days that once they had the title they made it work for them doing exibitions etc. The top ranked contender/s acted as a policeman for the champion.
In a lot of cases by the time a fighter won the title he was post prime, Jack Johnson being a classic example.

El Jesus
01-01-2010, 07:09 PM
Benny, you bring up "undisputed" not meaning something in the future. How many people really give any credit to mayweather holding the unidisputed crown at welter? that future is now if you ask me.

Ziggy Stardust
01-01-2010, 08:58 PM
Benny, you bring up "undisputed" not meaning something in the future. How many people really give any credit to mayweather holding the unidisputed crown at welter? that future is now if you ask me.

The problem with that logic is that Mayweather isn't the undisputed Welterweight champion. Undisputed, by definition, means one is champion with no rival claiments. In other words one must hold ALL the major belts otherwise your status as champion is being disputed by the existance of a rival belt holder. As of right now, Mayweather holds NONE of the major belts at Welterweight so he isn't a champion at all let alone an undisputed one. Nor did he ever hold all the major belts at ANY weight class he fought at: He never held more than one or two belts at a time from 130 to 147. So at no time in Mayweather's career has he EVER been undisputed anything.

Poet