what has become more and more of an occurrence in the modern era of
boxing, another fighter was unable to make weight for a title fight.
Once again, following in the ignominious tradition of Jose Luis Castillo
and Joan Guzman, Brandon Rios failed in his attempt to make 135 pounds
for his bout last weekend at the Mandalay Bay in Las Vegas for the WBA
lightweight belt. He got no closer than 137 pounds and then came in two
pounds heavier, an hour or so later.
his troubles, Rios was docked 10 percent of his listed $450,000 purse
(split between his opponent Richie Abril and the Nevada State Athletic
Commission). It was the third time in five bouts that Rios came in
heavy. In his previous outing in December against John Murray in New
York, he lost the WBA title at the scales.
So why only a 10 percent fine?
we can go up to 25 percent,” pointed out Keith Kizer, Executive
Director of the NSAC, who oversaw this contest. Explaining why Rios was
penalized the percentage he was, Kizer said, “I kind of have a sliding
scale, depending on how over you are. If [Rios] had come in at 139 on
the first attempt, it would’ve been 20 percent. But he came in at 137,
so it’s kind of like between zero and two [equals a] 10 percent [fine].
Two and four, 20 percent. Four and over, 25 percent.”
(Keith Kizer, Executive Director of the NSAC)
the question has to be asked; with the stakes so high and fans often
spending a good deal of their discretionary income expecting to see a
fight under certain parameters, should the penalties be even harsher
than they are? Do they need to be punitive to a point where boxers like
Rios and their camps won’t even risk signing on for fights at contracted
weights where there is a chance of them coming in heavy, perhaps even
threatening a cancelation of the entire card? This was the case prior to
the ill-fated rubber match between Jose Luis Castillo and Diego
Corrales. Thousands of fans who had come to Las Vegas on the first
weekend in June of 2006 were told the day before the fight by Bob Arum
and Gary Shaw that because Castillo couldn’t make weight (after coming
in heavy for their rematch), Corrales refused to fight him under those
conditions- and at a disadvantage- again.
this instance, a fighter like “Chico” (given that he wasn’t just a mere
opponent) had some power and leverage to pull the plug and not engage
in what he felt was skullduggery or a bending of the rules by his
opponent. But a guy like Abril? Well, not so much. The reality was that
in his situation, not only was Abril (the interim titlist during the
build-up) going to get a chance to fight for the full-fledged WBA title,
he was earning his biggest payday ($100,000). With him also not a
well-known fighter or a Top Rank commodity like “Bam Bam,” what choice
did Abril really have but to accept any deal allowing this fight to
continue? If he walked, there’s no telling when he’d get a similar
while you can certainly rip Rios’ lack of professionalism, it has to be
said, the extra weight he carried served no advantage, only showing how
ill-advised it was for him to even try and make 135 pounds.)
Shouldn’t the penalties be much harsher to deter such scenarios?
short answer is yes,” said Kizer. “And the question is how far do you
go? I mean, there was even talk after the Castillo-Corrales fiasco that,
‘Hey, if a guy doesn’t make weight, suspend him for a year.’ Again, the
best thing to do is you could save the fight and give the fighter who
made weight more money. I mean, Abril made an extra 22.5 percent from
the fight because of that. That’s always the best scenario but, again,
as you know, the lighter fighter has to agree to that and he can say no
if he wants to. So you want to have a situation that makes the most
sense from getting both fighters what they want.”
mentioned before, boxers like Abril almost have no option but to fight
on because this would be his one and only opportunity to face Rios.
However, it says here that capping the maximum penalty percentage at 25
percent is a bit light (excuse the pun). Perhaps it should be bumped to
about 40 percent. Again, you have to create a climate in which boxers
will become much more responsible in living up to their professional
Yeah, scare them into making weight (this is what it’s been reduced to).
with economic leverage have the luxury of creating contractual
stipulations where their opponents, in addition to being fined, are
docked a certain amount of money for each pound they come in heavy. Erik
Morales was under the threat of losing millions if he was north of 130
pounds for his rubber match versus Manny Pacquiao in November of 2006.
The Richie Abrils of the world aren’t afforded such luxuries. They don’t
dictate; they get dictated to- before and after the contracts are
can even suspend boxers but let’s be honest; in an era when
prizefighters at the world-class level only perform two or three times a
year, even a six-month banishment is relatively harmless.
‘bout this idea (and trust me; I know this is out there)?: In addition
to guys like Abril getting a larger portion of Rios’ purse, how about
the aggrieved parties getting a certain percentage (albeit a much
smaller one) of Rios’ next paycheck? Yeah, I’m being dead
serious. Just think about it; while Abril was on the short end of the
stick of a highly disputed decision and doesn’t know what’s next, Rios
could very well be on his way to a high-profile and lucrative shot
against Juan Manuel Marquez in July. Abril helped continue Rios’ career
and Top Rank’s game plan for him by going through with the fight on
Top Rank have proceeded with a possible Marquez-Rios promotion if the
fight (no matter how unaesthetic it turned out) if the Rios-Abril match
was postponed? Maybe they would have. Hey, Bob Arum’s gonna do what’s
good for his client and company but it certainly would’ve been harder
for the public to swallow such a turn of events. The backlash would’ve
been immense. In the wake of such actions- or perhaps, inaction-
high-profile boxers shouldn’t just be allowed to walk away scot-free to
their next payday.
like this will happen again. In a day and age when fighters are so
inactive, therefore having to cut massive amounts of weight or given
ways to skirt the rules because of their statures, it’s inevitable.
Penalties should be increased so the impetus to play by the rules is
Abril made the sacrifice.
In the future, boxers like Rios should be forced to sacrifice more than just 10 percent of their purses.
isn’t just the marquee names who fail to make weight; in fact, on
undercards across the world, many boxers come in above the contracted
weight. In those cases, Kizer has his own way of making it right (at
least economically) for the fighters who live up to their obligations.
“Assuming that the lighter fighter wants to take the fight, if it’s a
non-title fight, I always suggest to the promoter, change the contract
weight. Get the fighters to agree on a contract weight to the higher
weight, so therefore, no one’s out of compliance. But take that 20 or 25
percent from the one fighter; change his one contract- he gets the
higher weight but less money and give all that money to the fighter who
made weight and agreed to the higher weight fight,” said Kizer.
The problem with Rios-Abril was that it was a title fight.
137 POUND FLURRIES
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