By Joe Koizumi
The current weigh-in system should be amended in order to make boxing fair and square. It is to go back to the traditional on-the-day weigh-in by amending the currently adopted on-the-previous-day scaling. Lately there have been so many cases that contestants fail to make the stipulated weight. It statistically seems that such notorious cases more often occur than yesteryear. WBO featherweight champ Orlando Salido couldn’t make the class limit of 126 pounds and shamefully forfeited his belt on the scale on Friday. More problematically he refused to try to lose his weight for two additional hours but paid a penalty without making any more effort. It is a very bad inclination that a boxer can compensate his more weight reduction with a penalty, which means that he buys weight with money.
This reporter served as commentator to the live telecast of Salido’s scheduled title defense against Vasyl Lomachenko here in Japan, and deeply sympathizes with the former two-time Olympic gold medalist’s eventual failure to win a world belt in his second professional bout to make a record of quickest reach to the throne. My sympathy occurred because the game wasn’t fair under the essentially weight-categorized sport. Salido, who looked heavier and more muscular, physically outhustled the Ukrainian to emerge victorious with a split verdict thanks to his apparent weight advantage.
Salido became a dishonorable member of “Overweight Club” that consists of Jose Luis Castillo, Freddy Norwood, Mauricio Pastrana, Noel Arambulet, Miguel Angel “Mikey” Garcia, etc. They all recently failed to make the class limit to cause serious scandals since there happened very few overweight troubles in good old days.
Why, recently, are there so many notorious cases happening? It might be due to the current weigh-in system where the scaling takes place a day before the bout. The weigh-in is usually held some 30 hours before the bout. When a world title bout starts at 8 PM, the weigh-in is conducted at 2 PM on the previous day, that is, thirty hours before the game. The boxers, after passing the weigh-in, can eat at least four times: lunch and dinner on the previous day, and breakfast and lunch on the fight day. The weight drastically rebounds up to much heavier value than the class limit after they passed the weigh-in. Some big eaters and/or big drinkers of water may actually scale much more than ten pounds than the weigh-in, while there are light eaters in order to respect and maintain his potential speed that they have trained through training. Their difference of weight becomes too big to make the game fair and square. If so, where is the meaning of the weight-categorized sport?
Boxers sometimes miscalculate their weight-reduction schedule, as they think that even if they make a very severe reduction of weight in the last two or three days, they can recover in 30 hours after the weigh-in. Some of them, however, cannot endure the weight-reduction plan but eat or drink more than the disciplined schedule, and his overconfidence, optimism or miscalculation lead to a failure to make the contracted weight.
The fundamental cause of so many weigh-in failures might be that boxers are allowed to have too long time between the weigh-in and the fight. In short, if we should go back to the traditional on-the-day weigh-in system that it is held ten hours before the fight, such notorious overweight cases will definitely reduce. When a world title bout takes place at 8 PM, the weigh-in should be conducted at 10 AM. The boxers can eat only late breakfast and lunch, as it is usually said that boxers should not eat in at least five hours before the game. Then, their difference of weight won’t become so big as to make the game unfair, which leads to observing the fundamental requirement of the weigh-categorized sport.
Some people may insist that it is not desirable to have dehydrated boxers compete with less time after the weigh-in until the fight. But it seems more dangerous to make boxers with such a great difference of weight fight each other, as seen today.
Did Sugar Ray Robinson, Jake LaMotta, Randy Turpin, Gene Fullmer or Carmen Basilio commit an overweight scandal? We should reconsider the meaning of the “weight system,” which is actually being jeopardized by the current on-the-previous-day weigh-in.