Weight Classes Matter
By: Matthew N. Becher
“The Surgeon went up through his gums,
His front teeth, moved an eye
To one side and then sorted out the fracture”
Kell Brook is one of the, if not the, best welterweight fighters in the world. Last month he skipped a weight class to take on the most dominating middleweight of recent memory, Gennady Golovkin. The fight didn’t last long, with Dominic Ingle (Brooks trainer) throwing in the towel. Ingle was attempting to save his fighter from any serious damage, since Brook has a very bright and hopefully long career ahead of him. Unfortunately it was too late. Brook had suffered a serious injury in the way of a broken orbital bone, one which required surgery and will sideline the defending IBF welterweight champion, until at least early next year.
This has become a trend in boxing as of just recently, where fighters are for one reason or another, skipping weight classes, either for title shots or big pay days. It is a ridiculous thing to attempt, in the fact that you can seriously get hurt. Now I know that you can also get serious hurt in fighting in your own weight class in boxing, so why risk moving up to another one, especially against champions in the other classes, why not just stay in your own lane?
Sure, it has happened in the past where fighters have skipped weight classes and succeeded. Sugar Ray Leonard beating Marvin Hagler is always brought up by the smaller fighters attempting to take on the bigger man. And yes, Sugar Ray did it, but Ray Leonard is also one of the top 5 best fighters to have ever lived. He possessed more skill than almost any other fighter, and that is rarely seen.
The ability to move up in weight, by such a great margin, where you are actually skipping other weight classes, and keep all your natural abilities is almost unheard of. Kell Brook or Amir Khan jumping up to take on Gennady Golovkin and Canelo Alvarez, two naturally bigger men, and expect to keep their speed, power and chins at the same level they did against Junior and Full-fledged Welterweights is ludicrous.
Khan was fast in his fight against Alvarez, but his power didn’t translate and Canelo just needed to time Khan’s hand speed with one power shot. It ended the night quickly and brutally. Canelo was never exposed, and Khan was lucky to leave the arena on his own two feet. The same goes for Kell Brook, who was winning on 2 of the 3 judges’ scorecards, but his power never hurt Golovkin. The shots that Brook was able to land, were just openings to huge left hands, which eventually broke his face. He stood tall, but he paid a very heavy price.
All the talk about how these smaller challengers are “courageous” or have “Big Balls”, is nothing more than just fans wanting to really see a name fighter take on another name fighter. But, they still want to see the smaller guy get twisted into the canvas for attempting such an insane idea.
Weight classes have been put in place for a reason, and when you outgrow one, you move to the next, hopefully taking your talents with you from one to the other. The more you move up, the harder it gets. The more and more you will pay from fighting men who are naturally at that weight. So let’s stop this nonsense and keep the best fighters in the weight classes that they are supposed to be in, stop sanctioning smaller guys to get sorted out by the Monsters of the bigger divisions. I for one am tired of seeing these mismatches, and don’t want great fighters careers being jeopardized because they may make just a little extra money.