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To catch weight or not to catch weight

Daniel Geale Miguel CottoBy Robert “Big Moe” Elmore: Many boxing fans do not like it. They hate it. They loathe it. And whatever boxer proposes it, that fighter is going to get attacked. Catch weight simply means that a fighter must weigh a certain weight the night before the fight.

For example, Miguel Cotto and Daniel Geale are fighting at a catch weight of 157 pounds. This means both fighters must get on the scale at 157 or under the night before the fight. On fight night, unless there is a rehydration clause, then both fighters are allowed to weigh whatever they want. But does the catch weight give an advantage or disadvantage?

In 2009, Miguel Cotto took on Manny Pacquiao that had a catch weight of 145 in which Cotto was stopped in the 12th round. Some argued the 145 drained Cotto. I would disagree. Cotto weighed in at 145 pounds against Clottey. If there was a rehydration clause in the contract, now we’re dealing with a whole set of different circumstances. Other than that Cotto was beat fair and square. But Cotto was forced into that catch weight which I will discuss in the comment section.

Another example is Floyd Mayweather versus Canelo Alvarez. The catch weight was set at 152 pounds. Many claimed that Canelo was drained even though he weighed in at 153 pounds against Austin Trout. Against Trout, Canelo rehydrated to 172 pounds. Against Floyd he was 165 on fight night. The reasons he came in so light against Floyd was to keep up with the smaller quicker Floyd. Floyd schooled Alvarez to majority decision. One pound didn’t make the difference. In 1989, Ray Leonard insisted upon a 164 pound catch weight in his rematch with Thomas Hearns. Both men were super middleweights at the time, but it was more of a mental thing Leonard was trying to impose on Hearns. Hearns lost via TKO in their epic battle in 1981 and was itching to get his revenge. He agreed to the catch weight and in my eyes Hearns defeated Leonard even though the judges called the fight a draw. Now there are some instances were a fighter was weight deprived. In 2012, former light heavyweight champion Chad Dawson came down to super middleweight (168 pounds) to fight Andre Ward. Ward stopped Dawson in 10 rounds.

In 2008, Oscar De La Hoya would drop down to the welterweight division from junior middleweight to challenge Manny Pacquiao. But De La Hoya had not been a welterweight in nine years. He paid dearly for this mistake as he quit on his stool. Pacquiao was coming up two divisions and that’s what sold the fight. The major drop in weight for Oscar bothered me, but it was the rehydration that put me over the top. Oscar hit the scales at 145 and on fight night was 147 pounds. This led me to believe that there was a rehydration clause in the contract. In all of Oscar days at welter weight he had never just rehydrated just two pounds. Never. And the mother of all “drop in weight” fights; Ray Leonard versus Donny Lalonde in 1988. Not only did LaLonde come down from light heavyweight for the fight, his WBC title was on the line as well. How that happened? Only God knows. Leonard stopped him in nine rounds.

But in the cases of De La Hoya, Dawson, and LaLonde, they were all sought as the bigger men. I understand these men trying to challenge themselves and pull of incredible feats; there is a point where it stops. Sure, packing on weight can be challenging as well. But at least when a fighter goes up in weight (depending on his agenda) their bodies can adapt to the weight and they can grow into it. The task is much harder for a fighter dropping a whole division. That’s why fighters move up because they couldn’t make weight at the division they left. I don’t particularly care for catch weights because of the excuses involved afterwards. But if both fighters agree to it, then all bets are off.

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