Is It time For a Super Heavyweight Division?

10.02.06 - By James Slater: Is it finally time to add a super heavyweight division to boxing? As much as this would annoy the purists, who still cherish the tradition of eight weight divisions, such as there were years ago; in terms of safety alone I think a division with a higher poundage limit has to arrive. A boxer is classed as a heavyweight if he weighs in as much as one pound over two hundred pounds.

Should he be expected then, to fight a man weighing anything up to three hundred pounds or more ( which is the case with new WBA champ Nikolai Valuev)? Surely this would be grossly unfair, and dangerous. Would a featherweight be expected to box a cruiserweight? Of course not. There would be absolute outrage if ever such a proposition were even mentioned. And rightly so. The question is, why do the heavyweights get neglected in terms of ring safety? What makes them any different?

A super heavyweight class would surely solve these problems. If a new division was created at, say, two hundred and fifty pounds and upwards for the really big men, then any guy who is not such a giant could compete without feeling the need to gain extra weight so as to have a chance with behemoths such as the aforementioned Valuev. This would also prevent poorly conditioned and flat-out obese men from disgracing the boxing ring with their very presence. There would simply be no excuse for coming in at over two hundred and fifty pounds. Then the really huge men could battle it out at anything above this poundage.

Imagine, in the coming decades, if the sport is to survive for that long, just how big the heavyweights could be tipping the scales at. They could very well be touching four hundred pounds or more! I’m talking about forty or fifty or sixty years from now, and I do hope the great sport of boxing will still be flourishing then. Clearly, if it is there will simply have to be a higher weight class existing for its heaviest practitioners. I know the very title of “heavyweight champion of the world” is such a prestigious thing and that “super heavyweight champion of the world” would take a while to get used to. But maybe it’s time we all tried to do so. Otherwise we will have to get used to something far worse in heavyweight boxing; namely skill and talent being constantly nullified by sheer size and bulk alone. And this is something no one wants to see in a contest between two practitioners of “The sweet science”.

Boxing, like any sport, has to move with the times. And I think the current trend that is fast developing into the norm, where a man has to put himself at risk against his far heavier opponent, definitely has to be (re) moved.

Article posted on 11.02.2006

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