I digress for a moment to state my biases and presuppositions which many of you likely share. I'm 60 years old, an average lifter at best and have been competing in powerlifting at least once a year since 1980, single ply and drug free/tested. When I started, Coan, Goggins, Hatfield, Karwoski, Topsoglou, Passanella, Gant, Cash, Larry Pacifico, Ricky Dale Crain, Vince Anello and many others were making the cover of PLUSA with huge lifts. The gear was early single ply which was not much more than a wrestling singlet and all squats were walked out. There was only one federation (USPF) and the rules were very strict as far as squat depth was concerned.
"It's not fair that some are stronger than others". Think Coan and Goggins, 220-275 squatting over 1,000 in very light squat suits and Ace bandages for wraps. I think that that's how the whole high squat/multi ply thing got started. Put on five layers of gear, squat out of a monolift, DON"T go to traditional depth and "YEEHAW, I'm as strong as Ed and Steve!" Sorry dude, they're the GOATS ( greatest of all time) and likely always will be. You may be REALLY strong but you'll never be as strong as many of these guys from the 80's and 90's. If you think that you are, then lift like they did (but even that's not a true comparison, as today's single ply gear and wraps are radically stronger than what was available back then). That's life.
Did you know that there are approximately 17,000 sanctioned competitive powerlifters out there? There are about 35 federations with who knows how many weight classes and divisions, and someone on powerliftingwatch.com a few years ago calculated that there is the potential for over 16,000 World Champions! With all the different divisions and feds the title of "World Champion" has become essentially meaningless.
Back to Pac-Pap. I'm sure that Jimmie Pacifico is a great guy, but when I saw the 1015 multi ply squat he made a while ago on youtube that was a new "world record", I had the same reaction I did in 2003. "That squat is way high, like 4-6 inches too high". Lots of other people had the same reaction, including Chris Papillion. When the standard is violated, most of us just have to sit back and accept it, as there is really nothing that we can do. We don't like it, but we're powerless to change it. Powerlifting is a small sport and Papillion started taunting and baiting Pacifico online along the lines of "bet you can't beat me if there are strict gear and judging standards". That guy is relentless and I'm sure Pacifico felt the pressure. A meet (GPC Worlds) was agreed to because squat rules are strict, both men would lift in 242 and they would lift in single ply gear. Pap wanted a walk out but that fed uses a monolift, but oh well.
The long and the short is that it came down to the last deadlift and Jimmie Pacifico won, beating Chris Papillion by 110 pounds. An epic battle to say the least. Kudos to Chris Papillion for doing what he thought was right to uphold the standards of the sport, but also kudos to Jimmie Pacifico for accepting the challenge, stepping up to the plate and winning!
Will a squat standard now be restored, where a squat is a squat regardless of monolift/walk out, raw, single ply or multi ply? I doubt it. I wish it would get back to a universal standard but I'm not holding my breath. What the multi ply feds don't realize is that if they did have the same depth standard that most lifters have to hit, they would get more lifters crossing over to multi ply. It's true! Most raw and single ply lifters respect big weight being moved but when they see high squats being passed as good lifts, they want nothing to do with it. Most lifters wonder what they could do in multi ply and if squat depth was universal across the entire sport of powerlifting, all aspects of the sport would grow.
Congratulations to Jimmie Pacifico for winning, and Chris Papillion for laying down the challenge!