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23 MAY 2018


No More Catch-Weights

Pacquiao-Cotto: Naoki Fukuda/WBC
Pacquiao-Cotto: Naoki Fukuda/WBC

By Andy Rivera: Can you imagine some of the greatest fights in boxing history not being made if we had to deal with the catch weight issues we seem to have to deal with these days to make fights?

Can you just hear it?

Hey Ray, Roberto will only fight you if you come in at 145.

Aaron what do you think about fighting Alexis Arguello? He says it’s a done deal if it’s at 137?

Manny Pacquiao has been called today’s version of Henry Armstrong? I beg to differ. I’m not doubting the Pacman’s talent at all before all the Pacmanic’s get upset, I’m saying if he is going to fight the best out there in higher weight divisions then fight them at their best.

Can you go back in history and see if Armstrong fought his opponents at a catch weight? I think not, and this is a guy who held the 126, 135 and 147 titles simultaneously. There was no Jr. weights at that time which makes his victories that much more incredible.

Fighting Miguel Cotto at 144 or 145 doesn’t prove to most that you defeated a good fighter, if that happens? It shows you beat a good fighter who may have had to weaken himself to make the fight happen.

Yes, I understand boxing is a business but the integrity of the sport is taking another hit. It’s not just Pacquaio who is doing it these days. Most recently another top pound for pounder, Floyd Mayweather Jr. took on Juan Manuel Marquez who had never fought past 135, yet when the two stepped in the ring at welterweight. Mayweather couldn’t make weight and looked like an NFL linebacker against a kicker, that’s how much bigger he looked.

If Pacquiao wants to go up in weight then fight Cotto at 147, not have him weaken himself by trying to make weight, the best fight the best when they are on the top of their game. To me that’s what makes a fighter great, not hand picked opponents at a hand picked weight.

Case and point, yes Pacman’s people feel his speed and power may be too much for Cotto, who they are banking on him not being recovered from his brutal fight with Antonio Margarito. Why not fight another fighter who may be considered the best 147 in the world right now, Sugar Shane Mosley?

Mosley has the speed, power and has even said he will fight Pacquaio at his chosen weight of 144, yet the Pacquaio camp balked, maybe because they may not have a shot fighter in front of them in Mosley?

Yet Pacquaio took on De La Hoya last year at this time at 147, knowing DLH had not fought at that weight in almost 10 years. We all saw how drained the ‘Golden Boy’ was and had nothing to offer in the fight. Did it really prove anything other then Pacquaio could battle at welterweight and build Pacquaio popularity in the States?

Former two time world champion Paulie Ayala, who has fought at a catch weight once, feels catch weights make good fights like a video game but they seem too predictable when the fights are made on who is going to win.

”People like to see good fights, so if there is a fight out there that can be made they seem to have the fighters meet somewhere in between. It sometimes is predictable on who is going to win. A good big fighter will always beat a good smaller fighter. Pacquiao may be the exception with him being the smaller guy, but his camp makes concessions on weights.”

Ayala also says the only reason he fought at a catch weight was to prove that when he beat Johnny Tapia it wasn’t a fluke. A rematch couldn’t be made unless demands were met by Tapia’s camp.

”I wanted to fight Johnny again no matter what,” said Ayala. “He couldn’t make 118 or even 122 so we fought at 124. He had to be the one announced last, they were trying to get everything, they received more money, it didn’t matter to me I just wanted the fight. It even got to the point that when we were going to enter the ring, his people were complaining that they wanted to enter second. I didn’t care I let them. I didn’t want anymore excuses when he lost again.”

Fellow writer and good friend Mike Sloan also sees catch weights as a way to diminish the sport, he also feels promoters also hurt the fans in making good fights.

”Somewhere in the past 20-25 years the promoters started worrying too much on keeping the fighters records perfect and neglecting the best fights out there,” said Sloan. “They seemed to think the fans worried about how it looked if a fighter had losses on his record and wasn’t marketable. “

Sloan, who also is one of the top MMA writers in the biz, sees MMA taking some steam from boxing by making good fights no matter what the record.

”MMA is making the better fights in their sport no matter what the fighters record is, they realize the fans don’t care about records, there is no catch weights there is just good fights being made, now if boxing can get back to that and not worry about weights or records it will get back on track. Gary Shaw is starting to see this and Golden Boy can make an impact since they are the new cutting edge promoters, hopefully they will start making the best fights and at no catch weights,” added Sloan.

Danny Romero Jr. former two time world champion may have said it best when referring to catch weights.

”They say you have to beat or take it from the champion, that should include weight as well, if you want to go up in weight fight the champion at their best, don’t weaken them to have an advantage. You really didn’t beat him at his best if you win,” reasoned Romero Jr.

Romero also gives praise to one of his idols in Roberto Duran. Duran fought from lightweight to middleweight, never fighting or complaining at catch weights.

”My man Roberto took on ‘Sugar Ray’, skipped the Jr. Welterweight division and fought him at 147 , never was a catch weight discussed, the true warriors will fight anyone and not worry about things like that, he took on Iran Barkley at 160, no catch weight there, ” said Romero Jr

All in all, yes great fights are being made but its time for fighters to man up and if they are going up to challenge the champion fight them at the their natural weight, not in between or if that can’t be done have non title fights, because you didn’t really beat the champion if he can’t defend his crown at his weight.

What’s the purpose of divisions then?

November 13, 2009

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