There is no balance in boxing, Period!
By Robert “Big Moe” Elmore: Old school fights complain. Newbies complain. Even the most educated boxing fans complain. Boxing has evolved in terms of new training methods, padding in gloves, purses, different venues, weight classes and pay per view bouts. What some do not realize is that boxers today are simply taking advantage of a foundation that was laid back in the day.
One of the complaints that there too many weight classes. My guess it was to give opportunities to win more titles in different weight divisions. It was also probably created to garner more money. But whatever the case, fighters like Alex Arguello (3 division champ), Thomas Hearns (boxing first 4 division champ) and many others have benefited greatly from it.
Everybody’s body frame is built different. There are certain fighters that can’t get higher in weight because their frame won’t allow it. This is where the super lightweight (also called junior welterweight established in 1959; weights between 136 and 140 with 140 being the max) and super featherweight (also established in 1959; weight between 131 and 135 with 135 being the max weight) comes into play.
I find it really hysterical that fans complain about a catch weight but will give a free pass to those like Ray Robinson and Henry Armstrong. For example, in 1938 Armstrong challenged Barney Ross for Ross’s welter weight title. Armstrong only weighed 133 ½ pounds for the bout. Today 133 pounds would be considered a lightweight. I think that it is unfair that others fighters who challenged for the belt made proper weight, but gave Armstrong a free pass. That would not hold up today. Imagine if Juan Manuel Marquez (while he was at lightweight) fighting for a welterweight title weighing only 135 pounds. There would be such an outcry that either Marquez fully comment to the division or take a walk. But because of the history that Armstrong was attempting to make, it was allowed to happen. Another example is when Ray Robinson challenged Joey Maxim for his light heavyweight title. Robinson only weighed 159 pounds for the fight. Again, today, that would not hold well.
Ray Robinson was one of boxing’s biggest divas. Regardless of who he was fighting, he always made sure he had the upper hand financially. There was even one time, where he requested an entire ring be taken down and resembled because the dimensions didn’t look right to him. No fighter could do that today and live to talk about it. Ray Leonard followed the blue print of Robinson and took it to another level. Then it was Roy Jones Jr; then it was Oscar De La Hoya and now we have Floyd Mayweather Jr. The silly part is when you stories about fighters who end up broke or was being taken to the cleaners by their promoters, you hear “they should have been handling their business”. Then you have divisions that don’t get any love at all from American networks. For example, there is no light being shined on the cruiserweight division. The American networks probably feel like that “that’s not what people want to see”. But if one to examine closely, you’ll see that none of them are American.
And this catch weight thing. If both fighters agree to it, then all bets are off. Leonard had two catch weight fights (Hearns 2 and Duran 3). But he is given a free pass. And this is how I view boxing from yesteryear until today. If there was a catch weight fight was back in the day and today, I go across the board. If a business decision was made back in the day (meaning that one fighter was passed over because he brought nothing to the table financially) and today, I go across the board. If a promoter got over on a fighter back in the day and it’s done today, I go across the board. This is what some fights fans won’t do. They will give free passes to one era and down trod another. So to sum it all up, There will never be any balance in boxing.