The Transnational Boxing Rankings Board, an independent, international, noncommercial rankings organization, announces that the winner of the Floyd Mayweather Jr.–Manny Pacquiao fight on May 2 will be crowned the true welterweight champion of the world. The 44-member board, representing 16 countries and five continents, does not acknowledge the various belts passed off as “world championships” and therefore does not acknowledge “unification” as anything more than hype.
Its charter identifies the true divisional champions as those who defeat their rightful predecessor and holds that the first two ranked contenders alone can contest a vacant divisional throne. Mayweather has been ranked #1 at welterweight since the board’s inaugural rankings were published in October 2012. Pacquiao has been ranked #2 since defeating Timothy Bradley in April 2014.
The welterweight throne has been vacant since Mayweather retired in June 2008. Despite his subsequent and very successful return to the ring, the first two contenders have opted to fight lower-ranked opponents for belts instead of each other for the throne. May 2 is thus expected to bring much-needed clarity to the division and to boxing itself. Mayweather-Pacquiao, besides being a boon to boxing purists, also carries unprecedented historical gravitas. The board’s boxing historians agree that no more than two fighters have emerged as genuine four-division champions since the Marquis of Queensberry rules ushered in the gloved era over a century ago. —Those two fighters are Mayweather and Pacquiao.
Mayweather won divisional crowns at Jr. lightweight (1998), lightweight (2002), welterweight (2006), and Jr. middleweight (2013); while Pacquiao’s four crowns were won at flyweight (1998), featherweight (2003), Jr. lightweight (2008), and Jr. welterweight (2009). The board’s boxing historians also agree that if Pacquiao wins on May 2, he will become the first five-division champion in the record books. Given that the welterweight division is one of the original eight, or “glamour” divisions, a Pacquiao win would also see him join a very exclusive club of triple champions. That club currently has two members.
The first is New Zealand’s Bob Fitzsimmons, who took the middleweight, light heavyweight, and heavyweight crowns between 1891 and 1903. Fitzsimmons was followed by American Henry Armstrong, who successfully stormed the featherweight, lightweight, and welterweight divisions in seven months between 1937 and 1938 and held all three simultaneously for exactly twenty-eight days. If the Filipino ends the undefeated run of Mayweather to add the welterweight crown to his flyweight and featherweight crowns, he will join Fitzsimmons and Armstrong to become only the third undisputable triple glamour-division champion in boxing history.
For more information about the Transnational Boxing Rankings Board, please visit us at www.tbrb.org and on twitter @TBRBoard.
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