Wednesday, September 11, 2013
Catchweight: What's the truth?
By Dan Rafael
LAS VEGAS -- So which side was it that suggested that Floyd Mayweather Jr. and Canelo Alvarez, both holders of 154-pound world titles, have their super fight on Saturday (Showtime PPV, 9 p.m. ET) at the MGM Grand Garden Arena at a catch weight of 152 pounds?
It’s the biggest mystery of the fight, a case of he said, he said. However, Alvarez -- the naturally bigger man with no interest in dropping more weight than he has to -- certainly has the more believable story than Mayweather, the smaller man and also a reigning 147-pound champion.
The sides have argued about who was responsible for the deal point since the fight was made.
As soon as the fight was signed in late May, Alvarez said it was the Mayweather side that wanted the catch weight.
“To make the fight I had to give a little, he had to give a little, too,” Alvarez said at the time. “I feel it was fair, and both sides are happy. He fought [with a contract weight of] 154 before, but he wanted the [catch weight] and I accepted it. He gave a little, I gave a little, and we got the fight done."
Mayweather adviser Leonard Ellerbe immediately took exception and called Alvarez a liar.
Fast-forward to Tuesday, when Alvarez met the media after the grand arrivals at the casino and revealed more details about how the catch weight drama went down.
“I’m the bigger guy, why would I give up weight?” Alvarez said through translator Eric Gomez, the Golden Boy Promotions matchmaker. “You want to know what happened? I’ll tell you what happened. They asked me to come to 147, to fight at welterweight. I told them, 'No way, those days are over for me.' Then they said let’s do the fight at 150. I said I couldn’t do that. Then 151. Then we finally agreed on 152.
“I would come down two pounds to make this important fight. They told us not to disclose anything [to the media] and we were fine with that. The reason why we are talking about the weight today is because they called us idiots and they are lying.”
Indeed, Ellerbe has been disparaging Alvarez and manager Chepo Reynoso. He called Reynoso “an idiot manager” and insists that Alvarez suggested the catch weight. On last week’s third episode of Showtime’s “All Access” series, which has been following the buildup to the fight, Ellerbe talked about it.
“His management put out something on [the website] BoxingScene that they would be willing to fight at a catch weight,” Ellerbe said in the episode. “Because his management is inept, we take advantage of those kinds of things. Why would we go in a different direction? They suggested it, why would we say no and do something different? They put him at a disadvantage, his management did.”
On Tuesday, Mayweather declined to discuss the catch weight -- something he has previously railed against Manny Pacquiao for insisting on in some of his recent fights -- but Ellerbe spoke out again.
“We took advantage of a situation,” Ellerbe said. “The kid suggested it himself a long time ago. He put himself out there like that and we’re going to hold his feet to the fire.”
Previously, Mayweather did address the 152-pound decision.
“He’s not forced to do nothing he don’t want to do,” Mayweather said of Alvarez. “If he wanted the fight, he could take it. If he don’t want it, he don’t got to.
“The weight is what it is. That’s all I have to say. We can't talk about what-ifs or woulda, coulda and shoulda. The weight is what it is. Leonard is the first to tell me about what they asked for. We went back and forth negotiating with their team. We finally came up with something where both parties were happy and we made the fight happen.”
Although Alvarez has to lose two more pounds than usual to get to 152, he said on Tuesday that he was already at 153, so making 152 by Friday’s weigh-in would be no issue.
“I've been able to make the weight in the past without a problem,” Alvarez said. “In fact, in my most recent fights I've been under on the day of the weigh-in. I really don't do that much work, so I think that it's going to be fine. I feel very, very good right now, and in fact, I think it's going to help me. I'm going to be a lot faster.”