By Kirk Jackson
The highly anticipated match between Floyd Mayweather 44-0 (26 KO’s) and Saul Alvarez 42-0-1 (30 KO’s) has been signed for a Sept, 14th date at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas.
Aside from a fight between Mayweather and Manny Pacquiao, this is the biggest fight in the sport to make. This match-up between the hated, but immensely talented Mayweather and the exciting, rising superstar Alvarez is the fight many fans have been clamoring for the past year or so.
Usually with a marquee blockbuster fight, there is a tough negotiation process behind the scenes. All of specifics of the fight have not exactly been revealed, but one of the stipulations in this match-up between Mayweather and Alvarez is for the bout to be fought at a catch-weight of 152 pounds.
Mayweather, current WBC Welterweight Champion is also a multiple time junior middleweight champion, defeating Oscar De La Hoya in 2007 for the WBC title and defeating Miguel Cotto in 2012 to capture the WBA version of the junior middleweight title.
Although Mayweather has two fights in the 154 pound division and was obviously successful in the division, Mayweather is on the smaller side, a more natural welterweight than junior middleweight, so the proposed catch weight makes sense for him.
Alvarez, the current unified WBA, WBC and Ring Magazine Junior Middleweight Champion is a natural junior middleweight. He may actually be a more natural middleweight, reportedly rehydrates to well over 170 pounds in recent fights after the weigh-in. This catch weight conceivably does not work in his favor.
Catch weights is not new to the world of sports and boxing in particular. Sugar Ray Leonard fought at catch weights, using them to his advantage, moving up in weight fighting in the super middle weight and light heavyweight divisions.
More recently, Pacquiao has a habit of fighting at catch weights, going up against Oscar De La Hoya, Miguel Cotto, Antonio Margarito and Juan Manuel Marquez respectively at catch weights.
Catch weights can be considered tactical warfare, a form of gamesmanship.
Perhaps at some point the boxing sanctioning bodies can eliminate catch weights altogether and propose same day weigh-ins to ensure the safety and fairness for all the fighters.
It does not seem fair for a fighter to cut extra weight to make a proposed catch weight. It is also not fair for an opponent to weight an excess of 20 plus pounds the night of the fight after weighing in the day before.
Whether it’s fair or not, it can be viewed as Mayweather wanting to gain any advantage he can, or just wanting to level the playing field.
Looking at Mayweather’s career, arguably his three toughest fights were against De La Hoya, Cotto and his first fight against Jose Luis Castillo.
The common theme is Mayweather moved up in weight for each of those fights and although his skills and toughness helped him prevail in the end, the weight difference did pose some problems for him. This proposed catch weight with Alvarez may be an attempt to eliminate that issue.
Mayweather has gone up against bigger guys, he usually does. Going up against Alvarez who may weigh around 175 pounds does not seem like a walk in the park.
Alvarez may not be as skilled as De La Hoya and Cotto at their respective times fighting against Mayweather, but he certainly is younger and more than likely physically stronger than the two aforementioned fighters. One thing for certain is Mayweather is older. And perhaps a little bit wiser, hence the catch weight.
Time will tell if the catch weight affects the outcome of the fight.