We hav recently talked about this topic and with the whole Canelo and Kovalev fight looking semi likely to happen, I want to tell everyone about the scam of moving through weight classes.
Back when we started the Marquis of Queensburry rules, fighters would fight all over the place. It didn’t matter the weight. Sure there were weight classes, but it wasn’t uncommon to see a huge disparity in weight. We eventually got out of that. You still had guys throughout the next handful of decades that still fought bigger fighters. They jumped around a lot. They basically just fought whoever they could.
Pacquiao seemed to really revolutionize the idea of moving through weights to achieve greatness. Obviously I understand that he isn’t the first one to do it, but he seemed to be the one to perfect it. It became a measure of greatness that he started out so little and ended up beating guys way bigger than his original weight class. Since then, it seems like everybody is trying to do the same thing and it’s getting annoying.
Here is my issue. Look at Pacquiao. He went up to just dominate bigger guys like Hatton, Cotto, Margarito, etc. These guys were legit fighters. They weren’t push overs. At the height of his dominance, he fought JMM for a third time. Everybody (including myself), thought that Pacquiao was just too good at this point. He had proven to transcend his former self. He was basically a boxing god. However, JMM proved that Pacquiao wasn’t any better than before. We all saw that JMM won that fight (despite what the judges say). He did what he did in their previous fights but only better. JMM proved that beating bigger fighters doesn’t mean that you are better. I think that Pacquiao gained a huge advantage with bigger fighters because he kept his speed and power unlike most fighters who move up in weight (I won’t get into the whole PED thing).
As a fighter moves quickly through weight classes, they miss out on a lot of the tough fights. They miss out on fights that are just bad match ups. They hand pick which title holder is the easiest for them to beat and factor in the name recognition.
This brings me to Canelo fighting Kovalev. There is a reason that Canelo and his team want Kovalev. There are other legit middleweights that potentially give him a lot of trouble. Same with super middleweight title holders. So why jump two weight classes to fight Kovalev specifically? Why not fight the other buzzsaws at light heavyweight? Other than GGG (who he already fought twice and was on the fortunate side of the decisions both fights), who is the biggest name in boxing between middleweight and light heavyweight? You guessed it! Kovalev. Kovalev potentially is also the easiest stylistically to fight. He is old, hates body shots, and is known to not train great and drinks a lot. It’s also a high risk low reward fight. If he loses, it’s easy to just use the size excuse.
Who did Canelo have the hardest time with? Obviously Mayweather who was small. Smaller than most people he fought. Sure he is older and better now but I think it still proves that size isn’t always the main factor. Sometimes size can be a detriment.
Back from over a hundred years ago, small fighters were beating big fighters. It wasn’t unheard of. Jimmy Wilde was known to knockout guys way bigger than him. Mickey Walker was known as the giant killer. Henry Armstrong held three titles in three weight classes at once (probably should have been four).
I am just such a huge advocate for cleaning out divisions. I hate jumping around in weights because I consider it cherry picking. There are few exceptions like when you are moving up to fight a prime p4p fighter. Other than that, there is a reason you aren’t just cleaning out your division. It’s much more impressive because you show that you can beat all styles and you can’t just pick and choose between four weight classes who has the best stylistic match up and name recognition ratio.
Sorry, really long post but I think that this myth of moving up in weight has ruined parts of boxing.