I need to admit that at first I was excited about this announcement. Jose Sulaiman has laid out the ground work for the same-day weigh-ins that would make fights fair and discontinue the outrageous size advantages that some fighters carry to the ring on fight night.
If you watch old fight film you’ll notice that fighters in all the weight-classes don’t look as big as those in the weight-classes today. The argument that the human race had gotten bigger is truly only valid for the Heavyweight division since it has no limit. Why do welterweights today come in to the ring like Middleweights of the 1960’s? Why do Lightweights come into the ring like Welterweights of then? Why is Julio Cesar Chavez coming into the ring heavier than Rocky Marciano did when he became the number one contender for the Heavyweight Championship of the World?
This is one of those things that take perspective and a look into memory lane. While it’s unrealistic to think that same day weigh-ins will ever be what they once were, it’s still important to look back. When prize fighting became organized and institutionalized it built a solid foundation for weight-classes. Originally it was only Heavyweight, Middleweight, Lightweight and Featherweight. There was no such thing as two fighters coming in at the weight-limit either. Just like you see at Heavyweight today, fighters would come in at different weights and fight within the weight. It wouldn’t be uncommon to see fighters at 139 fight a fighter at 146 in a welterweight fight for example. Weighing in was simply a formality. You were expected to be below the limit because you were a fighter of that division. It was no different than a Jockey being a certain size when he rides a horse. Fighters knew it was time to move up if they couldn’t fight in their weight-class anymore as well.
At middleweight it just wouldn’t be uncommon to see someone walk in at 149 pounds and challenge for the Middleweight championship. The reason you didn’t have men killing themselves to make weight was pretty simple. For one, you didn’t have so many weight-classes, secondly, guys were fighting at their natural weight. Just like we see at Heavyweight today, there was a strategy, advantage and disadvantage, at weighing less or more than your opponent. Keep in mind that fighters in those days were always in fighting shape. Many of these fighters would have multiple fights in just a matter of one month.
Shortly, as years progressed Bantamweight, Flyweight, Light-Heavyweight then welterweight (in that order) were added to the mix as the pool of talent grew and size became more of an issue. For decades the weight-classes stayed this way. Boxing reform, if you want to call it that, added more weight-classes in the 50’s and 60’s all the way up to the 80’s. It’s no coincidence that once additional weight-classes were forced between the original eight that we suddenly began to see more cases of fighters coming in weight-drained on fight night.
It’s also not a coincidence that most of these severe cases happened in the lower weight-classes. Remember that the first “weight” class was Middleweight, being at 160 pounds. This was in an era when Heavyweights would hover around the 170’s and lower 200’s. The idea was to have the smaller guys fight it out in their own division below the prize fighters above that. Given the fact that in the last century the human race has grown, the “middle” cut off is the not the same as it was in the late 1800’s. It’s realistic to see that the lower weight-classes are just over crowded.
Naturally I could understand that the lower the weight the greater the significance of a pound compared to a higher weight. The lower weight-classes should be closer together than the higher weight-classes but the weight differences from 100-118 are ridiculous. There is no reason that two weight-classes should be separated by only two pounds. There isn’t a human being alive that steadily lives within two pounds.
It’s idiotic that there is a weight-class at 115-pounds and another one at 118-pounds. It’s even more idiotic because above 105-pounds is 108-pounds. Let’s compare 105 to 118 pounds for a minute; 10% of 105 is 10.5-pounds and 10% of 115-Pounds is 11.5-pounds. It is clear that a 115-pounder can gain more water-weight than a 105 pounder. So why is north of 118 the same as 105’s north? It is blatantly idiotic and unexplainable as to why this is.
Even dumber is the difference between 160-pounds and 168-pounds compared to 168 pounds with 175-pounds. How is the difference in weight less if we’re moving up? We can say the same thing about 147-Pounds to 154-pounds as compared to 154-pounds to 160-pounds. It makes no sense and the reason it makes no sense is because the Sanctioning bodies added these weight-classes to collect more sanctioning fees. In many cases these weight-classes were created for business reasons to benefit certain fighters. The Super-Middleweight division was only created because of the “Sugar Ray Leonard” versus Danny Lalonde Light-Heavyweight title fight that took place at a catch-weight of 167 pounds. So Ray Leonard broke a record and became a 5-division World Champion and the WBC collected two sanctioning fees. That is why the division weight-limit is at 168-pounds, there was no scientific method or thought to it as you can clearly see.
So then the boxing world introduced day before the fight weigh-ins. This was originally done as a safety precaution since fighters were coming in weight-drained on the day of the fight, being that they had a date with the scale the very same day. Since the divisions were all polluted and separated by only 3 pounds in the lower weight-classes, and just 5 below welterweight, making weight became an issue. How can a 115-pounder seriously train like a bantamweight did back in the early 1900’s? Think about it; A bantamweight back then knew he was a bantamweight. The fighter knew he had to be below a certain weight and simply lived the life of a bantamweight. Making weight became an issue because the culture and excessive changes in the boxing world made it an issue.
The culture today has turned the act of dropping weight and rehydrating within the next 24-hours into a science. Are these fighters really going up in weight or are they just draining themselves less on the day of the weigh-in, is the question we seriously need to be asking ourselves.
But let’s accept that same day weigh-ins will never return. That I can live with as long as a serious reform can take place to stop these exaggerated weight gains the day of the fight. Remember, the day before weigh-ins should be about safety. There is absolutely nothing safe about having one fighter outweigh another by 20-pounds in a Middleweight fight. How is a Middleweight coming in heavier than the Light-Heavyweight limit the day of the fight acceptable? That’s five pounds over the Light-Heavyweight limit.
As someone who empathizes with day before weigh-ins due to fighter safety, I could understand the better safe than sorry point of view. But we’re not talking about ten pounds here. We’re talking about twenty-pounds here. Even if you are an empathizer for day before weigh-ins you have to agree that this is blatant abuse. Why not just fight at 168 if he’s going to gain so much weight?
Surely, the same-day weigh-ins that the WBC will be having is going to provide a solution to this problem, right? Wrong. Let’s really take a look at this same-day weigh-in proposal that the WBC has brought up.
- 1. It’s not a weight-limit weigh-in, it’s a rehydration weigh-in. It’s important to know that they’re not going to weigh-in at the weight-limit on the day of the fight. They’re going to weigh-in with a rehydration limit of 10% of the weight-imit.
- 2. The rehydration limit of 10% sounds good until you do the math. When you first hear it, 10% actually sounds great. But the only problem with that is that 10% of 160 is 16 pounds. That is still above the Light-Heavyweight division.
- 3. It’s at 9:30 in the morning; 12 hours before the fight. So let’s get this straight for a moment. There will be a weigh-in for the actual weight-limit the day before the fight, then the next morning at 9:30 am they’ll have a weigh-in where the limit is 176-pounds. That means that the fighter will still have 12 hours to gain water-weight, and gain a few more pounds.
Just put those three points in perspective. The fighters will still be at the same weight when that bell rings, which is the only thing that matters. If you’re still a believer and think this same-day weigh-in is at all effective or a game changer, answer me this question.
Why is this rehydration weigh-in so early? Is that a safety precaution or just a convenient time? If the idea of these rehydration weigh-ins are for safety then why are they so early? Remember, the president of the WBC decided to make these mandatory for WBC fights because of the weight advantage fighters had the day of the fight. If the whole point for these weigh-ins are to make sure fighters aren’t rehydrating so much then why not have them two-hours before the fight?
The early morning weigh-in defeats the entire purpose. If a fighter can’t step onto a scale 2 hours before the fight and gain less than a massive 10% of their weight then that fighter needs to move up in weight, because even 10% is too much in my opinion. We’re making weight-classes pointless when we allow this. This whole same-day weigh-in by the WBC is nothing but a used-car salesman tactic to make a 1995 Pinto with no airbags look safe. This was only done to try and kill off the boxing fans and scribes that have criticized fighters, not just Chavez Jr., of packing the pounds the day of the fight.
Let’s look past this delusion, take the idea behind it and in turn implement something that would be more effective.