WITH CANELO ALVAREZ and Floyd Mayweather fighting at 152 pounds on Sept. 14, Alvarez must get lighter than he's been in his past six fights. Here's the skinny on making weight.
PURGE, BINGE: The weighing of boxers at least a day before the fight, instead of on fight day, is a relatively recent change, made in the late 1980s to help the combatants avoid fight-day dehydration. Prior to that, cautionary tales were legion …
SLUGGISH SLUGGER: Consider Muhammad Ali, who before a bout with Larry Holmes in 1980 upped the dosage of his thyroid meds to speed his weight loss from 253 to 217 pounds. Ali was pummeled and later said lethargy from the drug affected him.
NO MAS FOOD: That same year, Roberto Duran famously quit in the eighth round of his "No Mas" bout with Sugar Ray Leonard. Duran, less famously, after fighting hard to make weight, consumed the following post-weigh-in: a thermos of consommé, half a thermos of hot tea, an orange as big as a grapefruit, two T-bone steaks, french fries, four glasses of orange juice, two glasses of water, another cup of tea, another half a steak and, finally, more tea. Duran complained of stomach cramps from Round 5 on. Go figure.
WATERWORKS: Most fighters make weight through laxatives, exercise, saunas and starvation. In July 2012, MMAer Chael Sonnen, prior to fighting Anderson Silva, employed more cunning means. Sonnen, who weighed 205 Thursday, tipped the scales at 185 Friday, a day before his middleweight bout—a feat he and others have achieved by tricking their bodies. How? Many fighters drink a flood of water about five days before the weigh-in, putting kidneys into hyperdrive and their bodies into "flushing mode." If a fighter then gradually reduces his water intake, his kidneys will continue to flush at hyperdrive level, wringing his body dry. Voilà! Desiccated fighter!
WEIGH OVERRATED: Ronnie Shields, longtime trainer, says dropping to 152 won't be an issue for Alvarez. He routinely fights at 154, employs a nutritionist and can bulk up for a day after Friday weigh-in: "It's bull to say he's going to be weight-drained. He'll be fine ... and be 164 when the fight goes off."