View Full Version : Weight limits, allowances, and arbitrary names

08-15-2009, 06:33 PM
Divisional weight limits, and how much of a jump there is in between:

Strawweight (105 lbs) --- [+3 lbs] ---> Light Flyweight (108 lbs)
Light Flyweight (108 lbs) --- [+4 lbs] ---> Flyweight (112 lbs)
Flyweight (112 lbs) --- [+3 lbs] ---> Super Flyweight (115 lbs)
Super Flyweight (115 lbs) --- [+3 lbs] ---> Bantamweight (118 lbs)
Bantamweight (118 lbs) --- [+4 lbs] ---> Super Bantamweight (122 lbs)
Super Bantamweight (122 lbs) --- [+4 lbs] ---> Featherweight (126 lbs)
Featherweight (126 lbs) --- [+4 lbs] ---> Super Featherweight (130 lbs)
Super Featherweight (130 lbs) --- [+5 lbs] ---> Lightweight (135 lbs)
Lightweight (135 lbs) --- [+5 lbs] ---> Super Lightweight (140 lbs)
Super Lightweight (140 lbs) --- [+7 lbs] ---> Welterweight (147 lbs)
Welterweight (147 lbs) --- [+7 lbs] ---> Super Welterweight (154 lbs)
Super Welterweight (154 lbs) --- [+6 lbs] ---> Middleweight (160 lbs)
Middleweight (160 lbs) --- [+8 lbs] ---> Super Middleweight (168 lbs)
Super Middleweight (168 lbs) --- [+7 lbs] ---> Light Heavyweight (175 lbs)
Light Heavyweight (175 lbs) --- [+25 lbs] ---> Cruiserweight (200 lbs)
Cruiserweight (200 lbs) --- [+unlimited] ---> Heavyweight (200+ lbs)

As you can see, I bolded the weight gap between divisions. Looking at it on paper makes it seem strange doesn't it? It should. It's convoluted as all hell. For one, at lowest you have a 3 lb weight division gap, at second highest (ignoring the unlimited Heavyweight division) you have an 8 lb gap, and at highest you have a gap more than twice the sum of these two gaps [ (8 + 3) * 2 = 22 < 25 ]. For another, the rate of increase isn't always positive, much less constant.

Now, the argument for having weight divisions so close to each other at the lower weights has to do with factoring in how much it represents the fighters overall body weight. For instance 3 lbs is 3% of the Strawweight limit, and 7 lbs is 4% of the Super Middleweight limit. A 1% increase isn't so bad for a 63 lb difference in weight. But then we run into problems. 25 lbs is 14% of the Light Heavyweight limit, only 1 weight division above Super Middleweight. So the percent total weight argument completely falls apart.

But if you thought the problems ended there, think again. Let's talk about non-title fights or non-eliminators, ie fights where the weight limit isn't strictly enforced. Fighters are generally given 2-3 lbs to come in over the limit without penalties (unless the opponent is way over the limit himself), regardless of their actual weight division. Meaning you spot a 175 lb Light Heavyweight 3 lbs, and you spot a 105 lb Strawweight 3 lbs. A 178 lb Light Heavyweight is still 22 lbs away from the Cruiserweight limit. A 108 lb Strawweight is a Light Flyweight. Which brings me to my next point...

In a time where weight divisions exist inbetween the original 8, we've run wild in what to call these divisions. Is it Junior or Super? Is it Light or Junior? And what the hell is Mini? Let us begin with the Junior or Super argument.

Depending on the sanctioning body, a psuedo weight division is always called Junior or Super. The WBA and WBC (the two historically most relevant bodies) mostly always use Super, and the IBF and WBO mostly always use Junior. I say mostly because there is no Super Light Heavyweight division. The WBO stays true to it's colors and calls it the Junior Heavyweight division. The WBA, WBC, and even the IBF all call it Cruiserweight. But what do YOU call these divisions?

I find it's more common to say Super Bantamweight and Super Featherweight as opposed to Junior Featherweight and Junior Lightweight. I also find it's more common to say Junior Welterweight and Junior Middleweight as opposed to Super Lightweight and Super Welterweight. Who decided this? It doesn't seem to make a difference one way or the other, yet this is just how things turned out...

Then of course you run into trouble, once again, with the Light Heavyweight division. It's one of the original 8, but it's already got Light in the name. Light is often just another word for Junior. People interchange Junior Flyweight, Welterweight, and Middleweight with Light all the time. And yes, I'm aware Junior Heavyweight is not Light Heavyweight, but only the WBO calls it Junior Heavyweight. I mean, seriously, it's the WBO. Need I say more? Anyways, because Light is in the name of Light Heavyweight, you can't prefix it with a Junior. Junior Light Heavyweight is basically Light Light Heavyweight, a no go. So, Super Middleweight becomes the sole universal Super division. But alas, there is one more division we run into problems with, and that's Strawweight.

The thing about Strawweight is, despite not being a transition division, it's not one of the original 8. In fact, it's newer than all the other transition divisions as it came out in the late 80s. Historically speaking, the Junior Flyweight division (one above Strawweight) actually has roots that go back to the 1920s. However, it was abolished by the 30s and didn't come back around until the 70s. But I digress. The problem is, while the other new divisions have their names based off the original 8, Strawweight is just as out of place as Cruiserweight. Ignoring the WBA's moral sensibilities over changing the name Strawweight to Minimumweight, we still have the issue of a few sanctioning bodies refusing to not go by an original 8 basis. The WBO, in their infinite stupidity, at least remained consistent by calling it Mini Flyweight. It's even a little better than Junior Heavyweight, because the term Mini didn't already have a meaning. But then there's the flip flopping IBF, who also call it Mini Flyweight. Apparently taking Cruiserweight from the WBA and WBC was ok, but Strawweight is a no go. How these decisions get made, god only knows.

If reading this thoroughly confused you, imagine what writing it did to me.

08-16-2009, 03:59 AM
So what you're saying is that there are too many completely arbitrary weight classes which only hurt the sport.

If so, I concur. There is NO NEED for a weight class every three pounds. Seven, possibly. Ten? Sure. But every three to five? Give me a break.

08-16-2009, 04:07 AM
So what you're saying is that there are too many completely arbitrary weight classes which only hurt the sport.

If so, I concur. There is NO NEED for a weight class every three pounds. Seven, possibly. Ten? Sure. But every three to five? Give me a break.

I'm more so saying the system contradicts itself, over and over again. It's one thing to not agree with a logical system. It's another for the system to not even be logical.