The Declining Significance of the IBF World Title: Why Usyk, Canelo, and Others Are Moving On

The Declining Significance of the IBF World Title Why Usyk, Canelo, and Others Are Moving On

Usyk recently became the first undisputed heavyweight champion in 25 years but within days of winning the belt was looking at being stripped by the IBF or vacating the title.

Canelo Alvarez is now in a similar position where instead of facing his mandatory next up, he might just give up the IBF title. He’s undecided about it as purse bids are on the horizon.

He’s been ordered to face little known William Scull when fight fans really want to see Alvarez in their with David Benavidez.

The boxing world has long held the four major sanctioning bodies – WBA, WBC, IBF, and WBO – in high regard.

However, a growing trend suggests that the IBF title, in particular, is losing its luster in the eyes of top fighters like the above two recently.

The Financial Factor: Bigger Fights, Bigger Paydays

One of the primary reasons for the diminishing importance of the IBF title lies in the financial aspect of the sport.

Boxing is a business at the highest level.

Boxers like Usyk and Canelo have reached a point in their careers where mandatory title defenses against lesser-known opponents offer less financial incentive compared to lucrative super fights.

The Rise of Undisputed Champions: A Great Thing But Hard To Do Because Of Boxing Politics

The pursuit of becoming an undisputed champion – holding all four major titles in a weight class – has become a more significant aspiration for top fighters.

Because of the way the sport is set up, winning all four belts is extraordinarily hard but then keeping them, is actually, even tougher to do.

Controversial Rankings and Mandatory Challengers

The IBF has faced criticism for its rankings and the selection of mandatory challengers in particular.

Critics argue that the organization’s rankings do not always reflect the true hierarchy of contenders, leading to questionable mandatory defenses that fans don’t want to see.

This situation has led some fighters to view the IBF title as less prestigious and more of a burden.

Moreover, the IBF’s strict enforcement of mandatory defenses, often against opponents with lower profiles, can disrupt a fighter’s career trajectory, big time.

Fighters want to fight the best and the IBF need to allow more exceptions to allow for unification fights.

Usyk recently applied for an exception following his win over Tyson Fury to have the belt on the line again in the rematch in December.

It is unclear if it will or if in fact the belt will be awarded to interim champion Daniel Dubois soon.

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