By Alden “The Kid” Chodash – You might’ve noticed that the last time the recognized heavyweight champion of the world was not a giant (with the exception of Hasim Rahman’s short reign in 2001) was in 1994 when Michael Moorer briefly carried the title. And that’s unfortunate, because in a division where a weight limit does not exist, smart managers are more than encouraged to seek bigger as a viable alternative to better. For example, if the question of whether Wladimir Klitschko or Rocky Marciano was the better fighter was raised in a room full of boxing aficionados, it would be quite obvious that Marciano would unanimously get the nod. However, if the question was who would win a hypothetical match-up between those two fighters, they might not be so certain. And this indicates simply that the best heavyweights in the world today aren’t the best fighters in the division anymore, but rather, the hardest to beat.
Now inquiring minds might take this as just an occurrence suspect to heavyweights, where a weight limit isn’t enforced. After all, the money is in the lower division anyways, so what’s the big deal? Well, this trend where bigger trumps better is no longer reserved for behemoths. Boxing has transgressed to an era where weigh-ins are no longer the day of the fight. Why were weigh-ins enforced in the first place? To ensure that fighters could be divided into groups where they fight others of similar size. Seems pretty logical. Some would wonder if this whole policy is enforced a bit too much, especially when you consider that some divisions’ weight limits only differ by 4 pounds. Something else we can thank Alphabet Soup for.
With fighters like Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. ballooning up to 20 pounds north of the contracted weight limit within a day of the fight, it’s pretty clear that size can be an exploitable factor. And that’s the point. Boxing is going from a sport that emphasized skill to one that emphasizes size. The middleweights of our grandfather’s generation are no longer the middleweights of our generation, and the same goes for other divisions as well. Guys like Carlos Baldomir and Chavez Jr. fighting on the top level of the sport against the likes of Mayweather and Martinez because they were able to outsize their opponents simply isn’t boxing. I miss the days where skill was more parallel with success in the ring. And for the best in the sport, it still is. Floyd Mayweather Jr. never needed size to win a fight (despite what some would say about his fight with Marquez, he didn’t need to be much bigger), and neither did Bob Fitzsimmons, Sugar Ray Robinson, Henry Armstrong or Mickey Walker. In fact, these fighters moved up in weight to fight, and often beat the best in the world. It’s an issue I believe various boxing commissions can correct by simply mandating, once again, that weigh-ins be conducted the day of the fight. Am I wrong?
In 2006, Alden Chodash was accepted in the Boxing Writer’s Association of America, making him (at age 11) the youngest member in their history. Alden continues to cover the sport while a freshman at the University Of Florida.