‘They Can Play Musical Chairs With Them F***ing Belts’ | Is Being Undisputed In Boxing Too Attainable Now?

(Photo by Edward A. Ornelas/Getty Images)

This weekend, Jermell Charlo and Brian Castaño will rematch in a light-middleweight fight at the Dignity Sports Park in Carson, California. Their first fight ended in a draw, but the two finally look to crown the first-ever undisputed 154-pound champion this weekend.

This comes after Katie Taylor successfully defended her undisputed women’s lightweight crown against Amanda Serrano in a fight that firmly placed women’s boxing on the map. On the undercard, Franchón Crews-Dezurn defeated Elin Cederroos via a unanimous decision to claim the female super middleweight title.

The Quest To Be Undisputed

During the four-belt era, the word undisputed used to be a rarity in boxing. There are only six male undisputed boxing champions in history: Oleksandr Usyk (cruiserweight), Bernard Hopkins (middleweight), Jermain Taylor (middleweight), Terence Crawford (junior welterweight), Josh Taylor (junior welterweight), and Saul ‘Canelo’ Alvarez (super middleweight).

There have been four undisputed champions on the women’s side, with three currently holding all four belts.

However, what was once unattainable now seems like a possible achievement.

“Everyone’s f***ing undisputed now in this boxing sh*t,” Rolly Romero said at the Canelo Alvarez vs. Dmitry Bivol fight to FightHype. “I don’t really care about it. They can play musical chairs with them f***ing belts over there and there, nobody gives a f**k.”

Undisputed too Ubiquitous?

Next month on June 5, Devin Haney faces George Kamobosos Jr. in Melbourne, Australia, to see who will become the undisputed lightweight champion.

Additionally, Errol Spence Jr. and Terence Crawford are vying for a bout to become the undisputed welterweight champion. The division has widely been considered the money weight division due to the intense rivalry between Floyd Mayweather Jr. and Manny Pacquiao.

However, the two never became undisputed to become legends, although they were multi-weight class world champions. In the pursuit of protecting undefeated records and staying undefeated to become a high-value boxing commodity, many fighters did not think they would become undisputed.

Too Many Belts. Too Many Champs.

Also, the boxing business began creating a plethora of vanity belts, interim belts, and “Super” champions that began to degrade the value of the WBA, WBC, IBF, and WBO, the four major sanctioning bodies’ titles.

However, boxing had a generational turnover process with the stalwarts of the last old guard now in retirement like Mayweather, Pacquiao, Miguel Cotto, and now even Tyson Fury, allegedly.

Also, sanctioning bodies like the World Boxing Association (WBA) stripped all interim championships of the organization last August. At the time, it turned former WBA interim champions, including Daniel Dubois (heavyweight), Robin Krasniqi (light-heavy), Chris Eubank Jr. (middleweight), Alberto Puello (super lightweight), Rolly Romero (lightweight), Chris Colbert (super-featherweight), Raeese Aleem (super-bantamweight), Luis Concepcion (flyweight), Daniel Matellon (light-flyweight), and Erick Rosa (minimumweight), into contenders.

Undisputed Dissipation?

The consolidation of belts within each sanctioning body created more opportunities to consolidate the belt system into one champion across the four organizations. The result is now more chances to become undisputed.

With athletes and fans clamoring for one true champion per weight class, the question now is if boxing is genuinely ready for that reality, or will it dissipate the prestige of the being undisputed?

Rhett Butler is a Boxing Writer Association of America Journalist, Play-By-Play Commentator, Combat Sports Insider, and Former Mixed Martial Arts and Boxing Promoter. The New York City native honed his skills at various news outlets including but not limited to: TIME Magazine, Money Magazine, CNN's Wolf Blitzer Reports, and more. Rhett hosts the PRITTY Left Hook podcast, a polarizing combat sports insider's take featuring the world's biggest names.