By Dan Ambrose: There is nothing keeping Daniel Geale (31-3, 16 KOs) from coming over the 157 pound catch-weight limit for his fight against WBC middleweight champion Miguel Cotto (39-4, 32 KOs) on Saturday night.
As long as Geale doesn’t go over the middleweight 160 pound limit, he won’t be fined and he’ll still be able to fight for Cotto’s WBC title if he comes in over 157. The fine kicks in if Geale goes over 160.
According to Dan Rafael of ESPN, there isn’t a weight penalty if either fighter comes in over the 157 pound limit. This means that Geale or Cotto can come in over the catch-weight limit without losing money from fines. However, it’s unknown if Cotto will get upset and decide to cancel the fight. He can do that, and it would be the only way he could penalize Geale for him having come in overweight for the 157 pound catch-weight limit. But if Cotto backs out of the fight, he risks alienating fans, HBO and his promoters at Roc Nation Sports.
They’re all locked in for the fight, and it would look really bad on Cotto’s part if he were to walk away from the fight simply because Geale came in 1-3 pounds over the 157lb limit. But with Cotto, you can’t really tell for sure what he’s going to do. He’s someone who seems immune to criticism, and he might decide to cancel the fight on principal, even though it would be the equivalent of shooting himself in his own foot if he were to do that.
It’s pretty surprising that Cotto didn’t have a weight penalty inserted into the contract for the fight, because without that there’s nothing keeping Geale from coming over the limit.
“Shaw told ESPN.com that even though the contract stipulates that the maximum weight for the bout is 157 pounds, he said there is no penalty in the agreement in the event that either man is over the weight,” Rafael said via ESPN.com. “Geale could weigh 160 pounds, and the WBC, whose world title is at stake, would still sanction the bout because he would not be over the division limit.”
At this point it’s still unknown if Geale will be able to make the 157lb weight. He’s reportedly struggling hard to get near 160, and it looks like he’s going to have a lot of problems getting to the limit that Cotto wants. Geale has to struggle hard just to get to 160. Asking him to come in even lower is a huge hurdle for him.
Cotto’s trainer Freddie Roach isn’t too sympathetic to Geale’s plight. He figures that Geale should have to deal with the strain of fighting at a catch-weight because he’s bigger than Cotto, so it comes with the territory.
“This guy’s a little bit bigger than us, so put catch-weight in there and make him work a little harder,” Roach said to ESPN.com.
Roach doesn’t say anything about Cotto being a world champion at middleweight, and how it just seems wrong that a champion should need a handicap for him to succeed.
Many fans see it as a sign of weakness that a champion has to use a handicap strategy to weaken his opponents by making them agree to a catch-weight before they’ll agree to fight them. Geale has made it clear that he wouldn’t have gotten the fight with Cotto if he didn’t agree to the catch-weight. It was a situation where if he didn’t do it, he felt he wouldn’t have got the fight.