The good and bad of boxing's sanctioning bodies.
The WBA, WBC, IBF and the WBO or "Alphabet Soup" as the acronyms have come to be termed, would be considered the 4 major cornerstones of all the Sanctioning bodies out there, the WBA being the oldest. All are international and all have mottoes or slogans that claim or suggest they are unbiased, honest and for the fighter and the betterment of the sport of boxing.
My personal belief is that all 4 have good intentions and don't necessarily intend on supporting themselves over the integrity of either the sport or the fighter. That said, unfortunately I don't see any sanctioning bodies that are doing anything extraordinary to ensure a fighter's safety, help secure their financial future and allow them to fight in their prime, retire and spend the rest of their lives enjoying their success. Not to mention, have a "Team" of sorts that ensures that fighters aren't put in mismatched fights just so certain parties can make their share of the purse.
Boxing and combat sports in general get a bad rap from outsiders looking in. As of late, with some of the fights we've all seen, can I blame them?
People say these four bodies should all merge. I am certain politics and egos would make that virtually impossible. Yet, there must be a strong sanctioning body created for these athletes who put their safety and career on the line, their blood, sweat and tears into the sport we all love so much. There needs to be more medical research into the average person's likelihood of getting head and brain damage after a certain period of time in the ring. They need rules set forth that set standards for sparring time, gear that must be worn during practice and most importantly, MRI's required for all fighters at least once a year.
They also need financial education. They're getting large sums of money dropped into their lap and either the majority is taken from business parties or the fighter doesn't understand that they haven't paid taxes on it yet and end up with nothing come tax time. How many great boxers have we seen go bankrupt? How many do we look up to that can't hold a conversation any longer when they should be in the prime of their life?
Insurance should be offered of some kind for the fighters security as well as their families.
I understand this would be a huge undertaking both financially and logistically. But if these issues are not recognized and acknowledged by some, if not all of these major sanctioning bodies, then in my mind, we're just perpetuating how we are viewed by the public.
Side Note: Some of the previously mentioned sanctioning bodies along with others are starting to see how badly all of these things are needed to keep the sport alive and safe. That said, currently there is no sanctioning body offering everything required to help the sport of boxing regain the respect and dignity it deserves.