By David Finger
The 25th annual WBO Convention continued yesterday with the executive committee in a ranking committee session while referees and judges took part in ABC sanctioned training sessions.
The event kicked off at 8:30 when the WBO executive committee discussed the ranking process. It was a testament to the WBO’s determination to see a higher standard of fights associated with the organization that President Valcarcel used the time to discuss incidents in the previous year in which the WBO “got it wrong” in regards to rankings. Most notably the 38-year old Brazilian Mike Miranda, who thanks to his #5 WBO ranking found himself in a fight for the vacant WBO interim light middleweight championship in July of last year. The fight, which saw Miranda starched in just 51-seconds, was widely panned as a terrible mismatch, and led to the WBO having to defend Miranda’s #5 world ranking. But to the credit of the WBO executive committee, rather than try and hide from the Miranda debacle, the executive committee addressed it head on, asking tough questions of WBO Latino Vice President Jorge Molina as to how Miranda was able to move up to Latino rankings so rapidly.
“We live and we learn, Paco,” Molina said of the Miranda ranking after tough questions we levied against him, “we have to be more careful.” Molina also reminded the executive committee of his overall high standards as head of WBO Latino.
“I have turned down ten WBO Latino fights (in 2011),” Molina added, highlighting the unique difficulties that Molina faces in Latin America with sanctioning fights.
President Valcarcel then discussed the option for promoters to get their fighters ranked by fighting for regional titles.
“The best way for any promoter or manager to improve upon a boxer’s ranking is to fight for regional titles,” Valcarcel said, “and we have many regional titles.”
Although Valcarcel expressed sympathy for the situation where fighters coming in off losses seek to fight for regional titles, he also stressed the importance of being firm when approving those fights.
“Let’s consider Mike Alvarado right now,” Valcarcel said, “He lost against Rios in a tremendous bout, but that was a sensational fight. If he wants to fight for a regional title, that is different because that was a tremendous fight and it was very competitive.”
The executive committee then discussed the problem in Latin America, and in particular Puerto Rico, where fighters often fight multiple times in a week, inflating their records before the discussion moved on to what happens when the journeyman who is allowed to fight for a regional title pulls off the upset and now is demanding a world ranking. President Valcarcel stressed a firm response while evaluating not just his title winning effort, but the totality of his career.
“If we can’t rank him, it can’t be done.”
Finally, the location of the 2013 convention was determined in the morning with Budapest, Hungary winning out, while Puerto Rico was selected as a backup location.
While the executive committee was in session, Judge Duane Ford and Judge Levi Martinez led a training seminar for WBO judges. The afternoon session featured noted referee Jay Nady leading a training session for WBO referees. The WBO convention continues today with the ratings committee updates.