Will Cotto replace Geale with another opponent if he fails to make 157lb catch-weight?

By Boxing News - 06/04/2015 - Comments

1-Press Conference Cotto vs Geale 01 (2)By Dan Ambrose: There’s a lot of unknowns going into the Miguel Cotto – Daniel Geale weigh-in on Friday. Geale, 34, might not be able to make the 157 pound catch-weight that Cotto is insisting on for their fight on Saturday night on HBO from the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York.

Geale’s promoter Gary Shaw is saying that there isn’t a weight penalty in the contract for the fight. That leaves Cotto with three options if Geale comes in over the 157 pound catch-weight limit. Cotto can cancel the fight, replace Geale at the last second, or fight Geale anyway.

Cotto probably isn’t going to risk pulling out of the fight and alienating HBO, fans and his own promoter at Roc Nation Sports. But it’s also not likely that Cotto will let Geale come in over the 157lb limit, even if he still makes weight for the fight officially by coming in 158 to 160.

We could see Cotto replace Geale with another opponent at the last second. That would obviously be in bad taste if Geale gets switched out because he fails to make Cotto’s weight handicap that he’s written into the contract.

If Geale gets replaced by Cotto because he came in a couple of pounds over the 157lb catch-weight limit – but under the 160 limit, it’s going to look really bad. For fans, it’s a bad deal to have Geale suddenly switched out at the last second for another opponent because he missed Cotto’s catch-weight limit. But it’s really the only thing that Cotto can do in order to penalize Geale for missing the weight.

There’s no weight fine for Geale as long as he doesn’t come in over 160, and nothing written in the contract in terms of penalty for either fighter if they come in over the 157lb limit. That leaves Cotto with only one thing he can do to hurt Geale, and that’s by replacing him with someone else. Of course, that opponent would have to be ready to fight at 157 as well, because Cotto will look silly if the guy he replaced Geale with is unable to make the 157lb catch-weight.

If the fighter doesn’t make the catch-weight, Cotto would either have to switch him out too, or let him fight over the 157lb limit and wind up getting laughed at by boxing fans and writers. I have a hard time seeing a guy weighting in the wings that will be ready to step in to replace Geale, and still make the 157lb catch-weight.

The only way I could see that happening is if Cotto has some junior middleweights or welterweights waiting to step in and replace Geale, but that would make Cotto look bad as well. He would be the catch-weight middleweight champion defending against welterweights or junior middleweights.

Cotto’s next fight is expected to be against a junior middleweight in Saul “Canelo” Alvarez, so it wouldn’t be surprising if Geale is replaced by a junior middleweight or welterweight if he fails to make weight on Friday.

Shaw isn’t happy about the catch-weight, and thinks the sanctioning bodies need to create a rule that doesn’t allow them to be used for world title fights. He thinks it has created a situation where champions can now use their muscle to get an edge against their challengers by forcing them to come in at a lower weight in order to gain an advantage. In other words, they’ve gamed the system. Catch-weights at one time were used mainly for smaller fighters to move up in weight to fight bigger fighters from higher weight classes. But what we’re seeing in Cotto’s case is a champion using the catch-weight to get an edge against fighters in his own weight class, and the WBC is doing anything to stop it.

“Gary has been making a big deal about catch-weights, but they have been around for a long time, and he knows how to read a contract and he has had that contract for a long time now, so I don’t think that’s an issue,” Cotto’s trainer Freddie Roach said via ESPN.com. “I remember Miguel had to come down when he fought Manny Pacquiao and it worked for us in that — sorry, Miguel. This guy’s a little bit bigger than us, so put catchweight in there and make him work a little harder.”

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