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Q&A with The RING’s Doug Fischer on Mag Champs

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I’ve covered boxing for a long time, but I didn’t know some of the things The RING’s editor Doug Fischer told me when I interviewed him for a piece at Gambling.com.

Fischer is one of the most knowledgeable and successful writers in all of boxing, and The RING’s divisional rankings and championships are considered by some to be the most authoritative in the sport.

Here are the unedited quotes from Fischer in their entirety made exclusively available to our readers here at NYFights.com.

 

NYFights.com: Can you explain how The RING’s editorial board and ratings panel work together for rankings and such?

Doug Fischer: The Ring Ratings Panel consists of 15-20 boxing journalists from around the globe. They follow the sport closely and keep track of Ring-rated boxers, as well as, prospects and contenders who are close to breaking into The Ring’s top 10 in the sport’s 17 weight classes.

Several members are active on social media – such as Anson Wainwright, Martin Mulcahey, Michael Montero, Ryan Songalia, Adam Abramowitz and Mike Coppinger – and are open to discussing our ratings decisions and opinions with fans and boxing industry people via Twitter. I encourage transparency and open dialog with fans.

Every Sunday they share their thoughts on the ring action of the previous week and give their suggestions for changes in the rankings. The Editorial Board (which consists of me, managing editor Brian Harty and associate editor Tom Gray) considers the advice of the Panel and ranks the fighters accordingly. I’d say 90% of the time, we go with the suggestions of the majority of the Panel. We often serve as the tie-breakers when the Panel is deadlocked.

NYFights.com: One of the differences between The RING and Transnational Boxing Rankings Board is the actual belt Ring Magazine awards. I know that fighters who fight for alphabet belts pay sanctioning fees and so they essentially pay for the belt, too. But how does is work at The RING?

Doug Fischer: We pay for the belts and we do not charge the fighters sanctioning fees.

NYFights.com: If the fighters don’t pay anything, does anyone else pay for it?

Doug Fischer:  We do. Cost of having the Ring title belts manufactured and shipped internationally is part of our operating expenses.

NYFights.com: What about promoters or managers or TV networks? They don’t pay anything for the belts?

Doug Fischer: Sometimes, if a promoter wants an extra belt for one of their fighters who have won the title (for whatever reason), they will pay for a second belt to be made. I’ll give you an example. Gennady Golovkin was recently awarded the reinstated Ring Pound-for-Pound title. Golovkin wants to donate it to a museum in Kazakhstan, but his promoter, Tom Loeffler, wants his fighter to sport the belt going into the high-profile Sept. 15 rematch with Canelo Alvarez. So Loeffler paid to have a second Pound-for-Pound belt made.

NYFights.com: Who makes the belt?

Doug Fischer: TITLE Boxing, the equipment company, and they do an excellent job. Shout out to Doug Ward, the marketing director of TITLE Boxing!

NYFights.com: Since the change in The RING’s championship policy, how does The RING (or maybe just you) see the effects of the change?

Doug Fischer: There was a change in the policy (allowing vacant Ring titles to be contested for by the No. 1 contender vs. any contender in the top 5), prompted by the the owners of the magazine (Golden Boy Promotions, when Richard Schaefer was the CEO), five or six years ago – the change caused several members of the Ratings Panel, such as Cliff Rold, to resign from the Panel, but when Schaefer resigned from GBP, the original Championship Policy was reinstated (meaning the vacant title can only be contested for by the Nos. 1 and 2 contenders, and in some cases the Nos. 1 and 3 contenders). I’m sure the credibility of the Ring Rankings or Championship belts took a hit when the policy was changed, but it was changed back in 2015.

NYFights.com: I know there was lots of criticism at the time, so I was wondering if its viewed internally as a success, failure or push?

Doug Fischer: The response to the change internally was mixed. We didn’t like that the company pushed it on us, but some editors (not me) felt that the change needed because it was more realistic given the politics in boxing (exclusive network contracts, promotional divides, the infrequency with which top boxer fight, etc.).

NYFights.com: How are The RING’s ratings panel bodies put together, and who determines who is fit to be on it?

Doug Fischer: The Editorial Board determines who is asked to be on the Panel. We’re generally open to those that follow and cover the sport closely and have paid their dues on the beat.

NYFights.com: Does THE RING consider their champion the lineal champion?

Doug Fischer: No, The Ring champ and the lineal champ are separate things, although The Ring champ is often the lineal champ. Tyson Fury, Adonis Stevenson and Canelo Alvarez were Ring/lineal champs — they won The Ring titles and they beat the man who beat the man who beat the man… But all three were stripped of The Ring belt for different reasons. However, they remain the lineal champs.

 

Kelsey McCarson covers boxing for NY Fights, The Sweet Science, Gambling.com and Bookies.com. He also hosts a YouTube show about boxing with his wife, Rachel McCarson, called "Real Talk with Kelsey and Rachel".

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