6 Weight Classes That Boxing Could Do Without
Boxing used to have eight divisions.
Flyweight, featherweight, lightweight, welterweight, middleweight, light heavyweight and heavyweight.
As fighters began to cut more weight, belt organizations became greedier, the fighters grew bigger and there came a need for more divisions.
In many of the higher weight divisions this is needed. Losing one division would leave a 10 pound gap, which would lead to many fighters either damaging their bodies to make weight or being beaten on by much bigger opponents.
This isn't completely true, but the gap in the smaller weight classes seems less pronounced.
So let's start the countdown.
It wasn't too long ago that this weight class was called strawweight. Needless to say, it didn't strike fear or a sense of excitement in boxing fans, so the powers that be changed it to minimumweight.
Boxers who fight in this class weigh 105 pounds and there are only about 300 hundred boxers who compete in it. Most weight classes have anywhere from 900 to 1,500 boxers actively competing in their ranks.
Considering how empty the flyweight division has been, even with the recent resurgence, it could use the extra fighters and match ups.
Not to mention boxing would be rid of the weight class with the most ridiculous name today.
Much like the minimumweight class, the light flyweight class has some interesting fighters who are stuck in a split off from what used to be a bigger division.
At only 108 pounds it seems silly that the boxers in this division should compete separately from the 105 and 112 pound fighters. Yet they do.
And much like the minimumweight division, there are only 500 fighters, much less than in other weight classes.
Most 105 to 108 pound fighters usually end up going up in a weight class eventually, so it almost seems pointless to have the extra weight and belts.
Unless you're a belt organization. Then there are the sanctioning fees.
For the fans though, it just doesn't make sense.
Again the weight class jumps only three pounds. This time it's the 115 pound weight class which is sandwiched in between bantamweight at 118 pounds and flyweight which is 112 pounds.
Somehow this weight class exists. Like all the other smaller weight classes, it is afflicted with too few fighters and too many possibilities on either side.
Unlike the higher weight classes, which can see several inches in height difference from one weight class to the next, most smaller fighters have about the same height which means that eliminating certain weight classes wouldn't put fighters at a disadvantage.
Like this one.
At this point it would be redundant to put the reasons why this weight class is unneeded.
Like all the ones mentioned before it, this weight class has too few pounds between it and the next. It also has too few fighters competing in it.
It's part of why the smaller weight classes have a hard time getting fans to watch them. With a lack of competition, the watering down of divisions comes a lack of interest.
Whereas all boxing classes have these problems, it is more pronounced within the smaller weight divisions.
If boxing eliminated these interim classes, then a bit more respect might be given to these smaller fighters.
This class is tough to decide on.
Without it the gap between featherweight and lightweight ends up being nine pounds, which is a bit more significant than in the lower weight classes.
The weight class also has more than enough fighters in it to put together interesting fights.
However, there have been plenty of times in the past when either the featherweight division or the lightweight division has suffered because of this interim division, and it caused a lot of interesting fights not to take place.
Whereas the next few divisions would have 12 to 13 pounds in-between, it is possible to eliminate interim divisions.
This represents the only higher weight class that I think should be eliminated.
Though the 140 and 154 pound class are both eyesores, they represent weight classes that have grown into a standard and if removed, would leave a gaping hole that would destroy quite a few boxers.
The 168 pound division is a little different. Its elimination would create a gap of 15 pounds between the middleweight division and the light heavyweight division, so it is a bit of a special case.
The other divisions between 135 pounds to 154 pounds are chock-full of talent and boxers who, if they lost their weight class, would be cast adrift in divisions that would be too small or large for them.
However, the middleweight and light heavyweight division are barren.
Eliminating the 168 pound class would fill these divisions with fighters who were in the interim division and would give exciting fights to what used to be two marquee divisions in boxing.
Plus a few good fighters from the middleweight division have fought at 170 and done well showing the 168 pound division is unnecessary.
What are your thoughts?
Let me know in the comments below.
And as always, thanks for reading.