A weigh in should be simple, it should be straight forward and it shouldn't tell us anything new about a fighter or fight. This past Friday however we managed to see weigh ins that shifted bouts that I thought were 50-50, and made me think they were closer to 80-20 type of fights. Remarkably what should have been little more than a case of stepping on the scales has seen two bouts change drastically, and made me feel confident in picking the winners of both bouts.
The first of those weigh ins came in Japan and saw the unbeaten Jomthong Chuwatana (8-0, 4) struggle to make the Super Featherweight limit ahead of his 4th OPBF title defence against the wonderfully carved Daiki Kaneko (21-3-3, 14). Jomthong took 3 attempts to make the divisional and looked bad on the scales, as you can see in the picture. He was still confident though he looked like he had already been undone and had lost the fight before the first bell. It was a strange sight considering Jomthong's long and well established Muay Thai career but it really did seem like he had been unprofessional and messed up badly in his preparation for the bout. Although this is "only" an OPBF title bout many suspect the winne will be getting a world title fight by the end of the year and an opportunity to make big money for the weight.
Around 12 hours after Jomthong's weigh in we saw another unbeaten man, American Heavyweight Deontay Wilder (32-0, 32) also look like he had lost whilst at the weigh in ahead of his WBC world title fight with the once beaten Bermane Stiverne (24-1-1, 21). Wilder came in at 219lbs, the lowest he has been in more than 2 years. On paper a low weight could be a sign that he has had a fantastic training camp though he didn't look in sensational shape, in fact he looked like he was regressing physically and the weight loss wasn't something he needed, in fact if anything he needed to bulk up and add muscle to his gigantic frame. It wasn't the weight that makes me feel he had lost however, instead it was the way he looked and spoke. He looked like a man who realised, for the first time in his career, that he was in a fight. He was up against a man coming to beat him. He wasn't fighting a hand picked patsy. That realisation seemed to instantly suck the confidence from the usually self assured fighter who looked close to tears whilst talking to an interviewer after the weigh in.
It's strange to say this of men with a combined record of 40-0 (36) but I honestly feel both men lost their bouts on the scales a day before they stepped foot into the ring. I might be wrong, and it wouldn't be the first time, but this certainly appears to be a case of two fighters failing to master the art of the weigh in. They failed to get their weight right, they failed to prepare and they might essentially blown their shot at the big time.
(Image courtesy of boxingnews.jp)
Takahiro Onaga is a regular contributor to Asian Boxing and will now be a featured writer in his own column where his takes his shot at various things in the boxing world.