Options open for Jean
WBC may not be best despite #1 ranking
By Dave Spencer
It may be one step forward and one step back for newly anointed WBC #1 super-lightweight Dierry Jean. The Montreal fighter moved up one position at the recent WBC Convention in Cancun Mexico replacing Prawet Singwangcha who had lost in November but at the same time placed a number of hurdles in the way of the 30 year-old Haitian born fighter if he wants a chance to fight for the gaudy green bauble.
Unfortunately for Jean, the new #1 position doesn't come with the designation of being mandatory challenger attached to it and an immediate chance to challenge for the 140 title presently held by Danny Garcia. That position will go to the winner of fight scheduled for January 19 between Lucas Matthysse who is "interim" champ and Hank Lundy, previously ranked at #5 at 135 pounds and moving up in weight.
Garcia makes the third defence of his WBC and WBA crown on February 9th against Zab Judah so it will be well into the summer before the Philly fighter entertains any possible mandatory fights and no sooner than 2014 for another one.
Gumming the works even more is the fact that the WBC also has a "Silver Belt" champion in Roberto Ortiz who has had the honour for a year-and-a-half. No one quite knows what a Silver belt actually is including the WBC it seems. When the WBC which now has 29 different belts by last count first introduced the belt a few years back the public was told by Sauliman and his gang that it was to help avoid the confusion created by "Interim" titles. But now of course the organization seems to boast both. You would figure that Ortiz would somehow figure in any elimination but all bets are off when it comes to the WBC.
Bottom line is this. Danny Garcia is a Showtime fighter who holds two world titles and will continue pursuing top money TV fights. No doubt one sanctioning body or the other will strip him and Jean is definitely in the mix for a championship if one should arise, but that's not going to happen anytime soon.
With no big promoter or television exposure behind him, a much more viable solution for Jean may be the IBF. Lamont Peterson who holds the red belt hasn't fought for a year sits precariously on top after the illegal substance scandal. An order fight dating back to this to fight Judah is not happening either. No doubt if he doesn't fight soon, the IBF will be left with no choice but to strip him.
Also, both the #1 and #2 spots in the IBF are vacant. Jean is ranked #9 by the organization but with the two spots open, only six fighters are between him and the top. One of those fighters is fellow Quebecer Pier Olivier Cote who is currently on the shelf. A very good local fight but doubtful to happen with stakes so high and hype so low. Names like Brandon Rios, Kendall Holt and Mike Alvarado are all no doubt looking for television dates and no necessarily titles at this point of their careers, none are likely to take a step back and take an elimination fight against a virtual unknown just for a chance a title. Particularly if the IBF as it often does sanction two fights, one for top spot and one for second spot and then make those two face off for mandatory position, or if Peterson is gone by then, a vacant title. But with two spots open Jean should beable to secure a fight quite easily if he plays his cards right and be locked into a mandatory shot, much more so than the present WBC scenario.
Looking at the other two sanctioning organizations you can pretty well assure yourself the WBO who lists Juan Manual Marquez as champ will soon become vacant. Apparently he did pretty well over the weekend. Jean isn't rated there, but certainly could be for the right fight.
With the WBA where Jean sits 14th, the most glaring name is one of Souleyman M'Baye who sits at #4. Both Hermann Ngoudjo and Antonin Decarie have made fights with the French fighter so it is a very doable fight and one Jean should win. It won't get him a title, but it certainly will give him a stranglehold and solidify his name.
It remains to be seen, but it should be an interesting few months ahead.