Super Fighter versus Fighter in Pro Boxing: What is the Distinction?
Editorial By Robert Brizel, Head Real Combat Media Boxing Correspondent
In sports history past and present, many professional boxers, as well as many professional athletes, would be considered stars. Everybody from Joe Louis to Rocky Marciano in boxing, from Mickey Mantle to Reggie Jackson inn baseball, from Bart Starr to Joe Namath to O.J. Simpson in football, Arthur Ashe to Bjorn Borg in tennis, Gordie Hull to Bobby Hull in hockey, Wilt Chamberlain to Kareem Abdul Jabbar in basketball, Shep Messing to Pele in soccer, Ric Flair to Hulk Hogan in wrestling, Minnesota Fats to Willie Mosconi in billiards-everybody could be considered a star in their own respective sports.
Where was it written in boxing whereby a pro boxer attained ‘super’ status? I am not talking about superstar. I am talking about a specific belt or belts. It began when the World Boxing Association based in Panama established the concept of a ‘Super Champion’ for world champions who held their world championship belt and another world championship belt. Specifically, a ‘Super Champion’ refers to a world champion who holds two or more of the following: World Boxing Association, World Boxing Council, World Boxing Organization, and International Boxing Federation world championship belts.
To date, only the WBA has a ‘Super’ championship belt. Juan Manuel Marquez won the WBC ‘Fight of the Decade’ belt when he knocked out Manny Pacquiao in December 2012. This is WBC one of a kind belt which could be considered a variation on the ‘Super’ belt. Muhammad Ali vs George Foreman in ‘The Rumble in the Jungle’ in Zaire was a ‘Super’ fight, as was Ali versus Smokin’ Joe Frazier at Madison Square Garden. Marvelous Marvin Hagler versus Sugar Ray Leonard, and Hagler versus Thomas ‘Hitman’ Hearns, were bouts of ‘Super’ status. This occurred in the era before we used ‘Super’ as a term.
Floyd Mayweather Jr., in this reporter’s view, exemplifies what should be termed a ‘Super’ Fighter. Not just the belt, Floyd’s 49-0 professional record combined with the level to which he has been promoted make him a ‘Super’ fighter in that category. Bernard Hopkins would be a ‘Super’ Fighter. Sergey Kovalev, who beat him, would not be categorized as such, not yet. Gennady Golovkin is the recognized world middleweight champion, but he is not yet recognized as a ‘Super’ fighter. Saul ‘Canelo’ Alvarez is recognized as a ‘Super’ Fighter. Miguel Cotto achieved ‘Super’ fighter status as a modern day Sugar Ray Leonard.
Not just a world title belt or combination of world title belts, ‘Super’ fighter refers to the actively fighting present or former world champion who holds the distinction of being able to sell out the pay-per-view and ticket sales and draw the mega television audience when he fights at an extremely high level of high paying customers. Errol Pence, a rising superstar welterweight, could be considered a good example of a potential ‘Super’ fighter on the rise.