Haney’s superhuman rehydration raises alarms, casting a shadow on victory

By Omar Torres - 12/13/2023 - Comments

Devin Haney reportedly rehydrated to an absurd 165 lbs for his fight against WBC light welterweight champion Regis Prograis, making him a super middleweight, last Saturday night at the Chase Center in San Francisco, California. Well, so much for the idea of a level playing field.

Devin’s win was overshadowed by the reports of his enormous rehydration to 165 lbs, taking away the shine from his victory. According to Michael Benson, the California Commission reports that after Haney weighed in at 140 last Friday, he rehydrated to 165 on the night of the fight.

Haney fought four divisions above the 140-lb weight class last Saturday against Prograis.

– 147: welterweight
– 154: junior middleweight
– 160: middleweight
– 168: super middleweight

Haney (31-0, 15 KOs) rehydrated 25 lbs overnight after weigh-in at 140 lbs last Friday. For his part, Prograis (29-2, 24 KOs), who lost a one-sided twelve round unanimous decision to Devin, weighed in at 156.8 lbs.

Weighty issue

Obviously, it’s not fair to have a fighter rehydrating that much weight and rules for the sport have to be changed to protect the fighters because it’s dangerous to have someone putting that much weight on.

Even for a welterweight at 147, rehydrating to 165 lbs is a lot of weight, but obviously common for that weight class. But for a 140-pounder to rehydrate to 165, that’s an enormous amount.

For casual fans still unclear about why fighters would want to compete in weight classes much lower than their natural weight, it’s easy to understand. It’s to gain an advantage by crushing their smaller opponents, look good, and ultimately make more money. It’s business.

The weigh-in system needs dramatic changes for fighter safety to prevent guys from gaming the system, rehydrating enormous amounts of weight to fighting well above the weight class they’re competing in.

Extreme rehydration is dangerous for the fighter on the receiving end up fighting a person with a tremendous size advantage.

Devin Haney’s future and Tank Davis

Haney can not forget about fighting Gervonta Davis because there’s no way that Tank will agree to fight him without a strict rehydration clause. Even with a rehydration clause, it wouldn’t help Tank unless the secondary weigh-in was within an hour or two of him stepping into the ring.

If the secondary weigh-in is on the morning of the fight, Haney could easily put the water weight back into his system and come into the fight at 165 or higher, and crush the smallish 5’5″ Tank on size alone.

For the fans who feel that it’s not a big deal that Haney gained 25 lbs, it is a big deal, saying that he mostly boxed Prograis rather than slugging.

Haney dropped Prograis and had him hurt several times in the fight, and easily could have knocked him out if he’d chosen to go for the finish in the later rounds rather than following his corner’s instructions to stick to the game plan and box.

Is welterweight too low?

“He fought the kind of fight that he needed to command the audience that he needs to command,” said trainer Abel Sanchez to Fight Hub TV, talking about Devin Haney about his performance against Regis Prograis.

“I liked the fight because he did things different. He imposed his will and how he wanted to do them,” said Abel about Haney. “At this moment in Devin’s career, he fought the perfect fight, controlling, doing what he wanted to do against a very good fighter.

“In the amateurs, fathers never wanted their sons to drop too much weight. If you’re 135 lbs, fight at 135 lbs. Fight at a weight that is most comfortable for you. He [Haney] found out at 140 lbs that he didn’t have to sacrifice. I’m sure he feels the difference in strength and power with the additional five lbs.”

It must have been killing Haney to get down to 135 when he came draining to the lightweight division. In his last several fights, Haney looked zombified at the weigh-ins, beyond skeletal and sickly. All you could think is that the only reason Haney could do this was his youth.

A normal fighter in their late 20s or early 30s wouldn’t have been able to drain down to that extent and not have it impact their performance or perhaps endanger their health.

“He’s not having to sacrifice to get down to the 135 lb limit. So, give him another seven pounds [to go up to 147], in his mind, he’s going to be that much stronger, and he’s going to be very skilled,” said Sanchez. “It’s going to be difficult for guys to control him, like when he’s weak at 135.

“When Mayweather moved up, it wasn’t so much the strength, but the experience, talent and ability. So, it could work for Devin. 147 could be a good weight for him. If he feels strong and feels that he can control the fight like he did in this one at 147, more power to him,” said Sanchez.

This incident will make Haney’s future opponents wary of fighting him without strict monitoring of the weight to ensure they’re not facing a guy who rehydrates an enormous amount of weight.

They’ll think that if he did it once, he’ll do it again if he’s not controlled. If you want an even playing field, you won’t get one if Haney rehydrates 25 lbs after the weigh-in.

“Mario Barrios would be a good fight for him, a competitive fight, and if he can do the same thing to Barrios that he did against Prograis, then we’ve got a star in the making at 147. Maybe we’re running away from [Subriel] Matias,” said Sanchez if Haney were to move up to 147 without facing IBF light welterweight champion Surbiel Matias at 140.

Devin – Fighter of the Year?

“There’s going to be a lot of people running away from the 140-lb division, and he’s going to have to move up to 147 to get fights. I don’t think he’s had the names,” said Sanchez when asked if Haney should be ‘Fighter of the Year’ for 2023.

Of course, Haney won’t be considered 2023 ‘Fighter of the Year,’ particularly now that his extreme rehydration has been exposed for his fight with Prograis. But even before that, some fighters, such as David Benavidez, Canelo Alvarez, and Terence Crawford, performed better.

“Loma is a name of the past. Terence [Crawford] is in the running, for me anyway. Benavidez is in the running for me. Inoue is in the running for me,” said Sanchez. “I don’t think Devin had the marquee names to warrant being up there with those guys.

“Devin sold the product to a certain extent in this fight. He fought a very good fighter, and he controlled it. If you’re going to sell a PPV for $100. Are you going to buy for Devin or are you going to buy with David [Benavidez]? I’m going to buy with David,” said Sanchez.

David Benavidez is a far more entertaining fighter than Haney, so he would be the one that you would be willing to watch on PPV for $100.

With that said, some believe Benavidez rehydrates an enormous amount of weight as well for his fights at 168, with rumors of him rehydrating into the 190s. He looks huge for his fights at 168, like a cruiserweight, and fight-night weights aren’t revealed.

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