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Canelo vs. Kovalev has rehydration clause in contract

Canelo Alvarez Sergey Kovalev

By Dan Ambrose: Saul Canelo Alvarez will have a weight HANDICAP in the form of a rehydration clause for his title challenge against WBO light heavyweight champion Sergey Kovalev this Saturday night. According to Dan Rafael, both fighters must weigh-in on Saturday morning for a secondary weight check, and neither fighter can go above 185 pounds.

When the Canelo-Kovalev fight was first announced, boxing fans were impressed that Canelo had agreed to fight Kovalev without a catch-weight to try and weaken him to gain an advantage. But what the fans didn’t know is there’s a rehydration clause, which can be just as draining for the larger fighter than a catch-weight handicap.

Knowing that Canelo will be getting a strength draining weight handicap for the fight, it’s difficult to give him the same amount of credit that he previously was getting when he agreed to fight Kovalev.

Both fighters must weigh-in the morning of fight

According to ESPN, there’s “severe financial penalties” for Canelo and Kovalev if they come in over the 185-lb for Saturday morning’s weight check. It would be interesting to know how big the weight penalty is for the fight.

Obviously, the rehydration clause benefits Canelo (52-1-2, 35 KOs) because he’s moving up in weight 2 divisions to challenge the 36-year-old Kovalev for his WBO 175-lb title. Kovalev was saying recently that he doesn’t expect his weight to be above 185 on the night of the fight, so the rehydration clause might not bother him.

Canelo isn’t knew to catch-weights and rehydration clauses. He had a rehydration clause in his last fight against Daniel Jacobs last May. Jacobs paid the fine in order to rehydrate fully, and yet he still lost the fight. Canelo is also have said to have had a rehydration clause for his title challenge against WBA ‘regular’ super middleweight champion Rocky Fielding last December.

Canelo fought the following fighters in catch-weight contests in the past:

  • Julio Cesar Chavez Jr.
  • Floyd Mayweather Jr.
  • Erislandy Lara
  • Miguel Cotto
  • James Kirkland
  • Amir Khan
  • Matthew Hatton
  • Alfredo Angulo

Kovalev might not be impacted by rehydration clause

It might not be a big deal for Kovalev to handle to 185-lb rehydration limit for the morning of the fight, as he was accustomed to those when he held the IBF light heavyweight title from 2014 to 2016. That was three years ago when Kovalev last dealt with one of the IBF’s second day weight checks, and it might be a little tougher for him now that he’s 36, and not the spring chicken that he once was.

It’s too bad boxing allows fighters to use their A-side pull to add rehydration clauses and catch-weights in the contracts for their fights because this can give them an advantage over their B-side opponents. Weight checks and penalties aren’t used in the NFL and NBA. The fans wouldn’t put up with it if a team used their pull to have their teams keep their weight down for catch-weights or secondary weight checks.

“I have a great deal of respect for Canelo, he is a great fighter with great fighting skills,” said Julio Cesar Chavez to ESPN Deportes in analyzing the fight. “He is always trying to get better, to work harder, and to challenge himself,” said Chavez. “It will be a difficult fight for Canelo. Kovalev’s jab and his punching power are a great asset in his arsenal, but Canelo has the head movement, the technique, the mental strength, and Canelo goes very good to the body and remember if you kill the body the head will fall.”


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