Boxing has long been complicated and dogged by the politics and infighting of the sport’s various sanctioning bodies, especially between the 1970s and about 2000. Numerous world champions were stripped of their title belts for a variety of reasons including drug-test failures. However, most champs lost their titles by refusing to face their sanctioning body’s mandatory challenger.
This list focuses on the top 10 heavyweight champions who were stripped of their title by at least one of the world’s governing bodies such as the WBO, WBA, IBF,IBO and WBC. We’ve also included the NYSAC (New York State Athletic Commission) and the NBA (National Boxing Association) which ruled from the 1920s to the early 1960s. The NYSAC then supported the WBC while the NBA became the WBA. And just remember how confusing boxing can sometimes be with each governing body usually recognizing its own champion.
10. Ray Mercer
Ray Mercer was a solid American heavyweight who fought from 1989 to 2008 with a record of 36-7-1 with 26 Kos. He was also a fine amateur who won the gold medal in the heavyweight division at the 1988 Olympics in Seoul, South Korea. In fact, he went 64-6 in the amateur ranks. Mercer knocked Francesco Damiani out in the ninth round on January 11th, 1991 to win the WBO title. He then stopped Tommy Morrison in the fifth round nine months later in his first defense. However, just a couple of months later on Christmas Eve, Mercer was stripped of the belt because he decided to take on Larry Holmes rather than Michael Moorer who was the WBO’s mandatory challenger. Mercer was a 4/1 favorite to beat the 42-year-old Holmes when they met in February, 1992, but he lost a unanimous decision.