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What the CBZ Means When it Refers to “Lineal Championships”
By Mike DeLisa
For the past decade, the Cyber Boxing Zone has listed what have come to be referred to as “Lineal World Champions” in each weight division. Frequently, we get e-mails or other inquiries as to how we derived such lists.
First, and most importantly, we emphasize the difference in meaning between the words linear and lineal. Linear, of course, means a straight line. Obviously, champions in just about every weight division have relinquished their crowns by retiring, moving up in weight, or dying, so that concept is irrelevant.
We use the concept lineal, which means “descended from.” Every title that we list “descends” from some champion or from a specific group of men who fought each other to establish a champion.
Lineal does not mean “unification” of the WBA, WBC, and IBF titles. Indeed, we give only slight weight to the alphabet crowns. For example, on our heavyweight page, we state: “As always, ludicrous decisions of ‘sanctioning bodies’ are ignored.” On our middleweight page, we state it slightly differently: “This list gives credit to The Man Who Beat The Man. Ludicrous decisions of sanctioning bodies are ignored.”
Our junior-middleweight page explains one slight glitch in establishing the lineage:
“The following list gives credit to The Man Who Beat The Man. As you will note, the division had two reputable claimants who essentially created the division in 1962. Moyer’s lineage has been followed as Griffith abandoned the ‘title.’”
On the junior-bantamweight page, I give a little more detail as to our reasoning:
“The 115-pound division was included as part of NY’s Walker Law of 1920, but our research does not reveal any claimants to that title. The WBC resurrected the 115-poud class in 1980, with Venezuelan Rafael “Patono” Orono winning the title. Orono lost to Chul-Ho Kim and then regained it from Kim in 1982, and then he lost to Payao Poontarat. The WBA’s title started in 1981 with Gustavo Ballas, who lost to Rafael Pedroza, who lost to Jiro Watanabe in 1982. Poontarat fought Watanabe in July 1984 for the lineal title.”
As far as the objection that this theory honors “bad decisions”—yup, we abide by the decisions in the ring. Virtually every fight has at least some reporters differing from the official judges, so we go with the official decision.
Perhaps the most frequently cited objection deals with Roy Jones Jr., who was never lineal light-heavyweight champion. At the time Tiger Michalczewski beat Virgil Hill, they were the two best in the division, and thus established the man to beat. Jones never fought the German, so even though he was clearly the best fighter in the division for some period of time, he was not the lineal champ.
I would like to point out that for at least the past 80 years, fractured titles have been a way of life. The NBA, NYSAC, and IBU organizations frequently named their own champions. At that time, however, The Ring magazine effectively listed the lineal champions. Today, The Ring has forfeited its credibility by pulling names out of its ass to name fighters as champions.
For more info on lineal champions as we designate them, go to our Past Champions section and click around. Feel free to post any questions on the CBZ message board.
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