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FALKENTALK: Charlo Misses Weight, Boxing Fans Deceived

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FALKENTALK: Charlo Misses Weight, Boxing Fans Deceived
Photo Credit: Ryan Hafey, Premier Boxing Champions

In professional boxing, your most significant single contractual obligation is to make the agreed-upon weight for your fight. Jermall Charlo misses weight Friday in Las Vegas for his fight with Jose Benavidez Jr., a significant failure with bigger implications.

Charlo blew through an agreed-upon catchweight limit of 166.4 pounds. He doubled down when he made his second attempt, weighing in at 166.6 pounds. Not a typo. He went UP in weight.

Despite weighing in 3.6 pounds above the 163 pound catchweight limit, the fight between Jermall Charlo and Jose Benavidez Jr. will move forward. Photo: Showtime Boxing Charlo Misses Weight

The fight between Jermall Charlo and Jose Benavidez Jr. will move forward. Photo: Showtime Boxing

Nevertheless, the fight with Benavidez Jr. appears to be moving forward.

Consider this: Headliner David Benavidez, the younger brother of Jose, has the height and wingspan of a light heavyweight, yet he made the 168-pound super middleweight limit at 167 pounds. Charlo weighed in a mere 6.4 ounces LESS than Benavidez.

Charlo might show up Saturday night in the ring damn near the cruiserweight limit. Benavidez Jr., who’s a natural super welterweight, is fighting for only the second time above 154 pounds.

Where to begin with the outrage over this situation?

Charlo’s Ring Rust Is Showing

Jermall Charlo made a covered up appearance at the media workout this week. Photo: Ryan Hafey, Premier Boxing Champions Charlo Misses Weight

Jermall Charlo made a covered-up appearance at the media workout this week for his fight against Jose Benavidez Jr. Photo: Ryan Hafey, Premier Boxing Champions

WBC World Middleweight Champion Charlo of Houston (32-0, 22 KOs) last fought on June 19, 2021, winning a decision over Juan Maciel Montiel of Mexico (23-6-2, 23 KOs). Nevertheless, he has remained the WBC’s belt holder.

Although there have been several justified reasons for the delay due to injuries, Charlo has also declined fights due to family strife and admitted struggles with his mental health.

Charlo isn’t putting his belt at any risk in the fight, having negotiated for a 163-pound catchweight. By the time he makes an actual title defense should he make one, it might be three years between defenses.

Carlos Adames took down former world champion Julian Williams in June. Photo: Esther Lin, Showtime Boxing

Carlos Adames took down former world champion Julian Williams in June. Photo: Esther Lin, Showtime Boxing

Meanwhile, WBC Interim World Middleweight Champion Carlos Adames of the Dominican Republic (23-1, 18 KOs) must be banging his head against the wall. Adames earned the interim title in a legitimate third-round knockout win over Juan Maciel Montiel. Yes, the same opponent Charlo last fought.

At the very least, the World Boxing Council should have placed Charlo as a champion in recess long ago, and elevated Adames.

What will it do now? It’s got a loophole allowing it to avoid taking action, as Charlo’s belt isn’t at stake on Saturday.

But isn’t the scale failure in the same spirit as when the WBC swiftly stripped David Benavidez when he couldn’t make the super middleweight limit in August 2020 for his fight with Roamer Alexis Angulo, a fight during the early months of the pandemic?

Put this right up there with the WBC’s recent decision to rank former MMA champion Francis Ngannou at number ten in the heavyweight division with an 0-1 record, and with chairman Mauricio Suleiman’s ill-considered attitude picking fights with Ring Magazine and BoxRec. BoxRec seriously?

Let’s throw in the WBC’s refusal to let women fight three-minute rounds in championship fights. I could go on, but you have a life.

Fictional Weigh-Ins Deceiving Boxing Fans

Promoter Tom Brown attempts to keep order between Jermall Charlo and Jose Benavidez Jr. Friday at the ceremonial weigh-in. Photo: Showtime Boxing

Promoter Tom Brown attempts to keep order between Jermall Charlo and Jose Benavidez Jr. Friday at the ceremonial weigh-in. Photo: Showtime Boxing

The boxing world continues to play make-believe with fans, deliberately deceiving them when it comes to the theater of weigh-ins.

Public weigh-ins became popular in the last decade as a way to help sell pay-per-view fights. They have become a standard feature of many fight cards including non-PPV cards as a way to generate enthusiasm.

Love them or hate them, public weigh-ins are one of the few events many fans can afford to attend to see their favorite athletes up close.

But in the state of Nevada, where so many significant title fights take place, the Nevada State Athletic Commission holds its official weigh-ins early on Friday mornings, behind closed doors.

This is when Charlo failed to make weight and was given an hour to make a second attempt long before noon local Las Vegas time.

The public weigh-in was scheduled at 3 p.m. How many fans crowding the House of Blues at the Mandalay Bay Hotel were aware the fighters weren’t officially weighing in?

You can forgive them for not knowing any better.

Showtime Boxing’s graphics on its YouTube channel labeled the event the “Official Weigh-In.”

This is a complete fiction. It’s an insult to play make-believe with the fans.

Can we please stop lying to the fans about these events? If you want to bring them out to greet the fans, call it something else.

Benavidez Jr. Between a Rock, A Hard Place, and His Bank Account

Jose Benavidez Jr. (center) with father Jose Sr. and brother David at this week's final news conference. Photo: Ryan Hafey, Premier Boxing Champions Charlo Misses Weight

Jose Benavidez Jr. (center) with father Jose Sr. and brother David at this week's final news conference. Photo: Ryan Hafey, Premier Boxing Champions

Jose Benavidez Jr. finds himself in a difficult position. Benavidez Jr. was always going to be the smaller man in the ring facing Charlo.

True, he agreed to the catchweight to score the opportunity, the paycheck, and the platform on Saturday night. Fighting on the card with his brother David adds a little intrigue to the card.

Benavidez Jr. would be within his rights to refuse the fight given Charlo’s disastrous weigh-in. If he did, he would give up the paycheck, the weeks of training, and the expenses that go with it.

He also puts himself at risk by fighting someone so much bigger.

When Vicente Escobedo of California accepted $100,000 to move forward with his fight against Adrien Broner in 2012, he had losses but had never been stopped. He couldn’t afford to turn down the payday for his WBO World Featherweight title fight opportunity.

Instead, Broner put a beating on Escobedo, scoring a fifth-round TKO.

Escobedo fought twice more, losing both times by early TKO. The former US Olympian and amateur champion retired in 2013 at age 32.

The unfairness is one thing. The physical danger is another.

After Charlo Misses Weight, Benavidez Jr. Stuck

Instead, Benavidez Jr. is going forward. He spent Friday trolling Charlo with some vicious trash talk on his Instagram feed, and he’s got every right to do it. “You’ve got to be dedicated to the sport, you’ve got to be disciplined!” said Benavidez Jr.

After appearing on stage in front of the fans, announced Miguel Flores briefly interviewed both men. Benavidez Jr. said of Charlo, “He’s a little piece, he’s not dedicated. I’m going to fuck him up tomorrow night.”

When Charlo stepped to the mike, he acted as if he didn’t understand what Flores was asking him about. “What do you mean? Thoughts about weight, him?” as he gestured toward Benavidez Jr. “The fight gonna be tomorrow. I’ll show you all tomorrow.”

What will Charlo show us?

Can the smaller and admittedly less skilled Benavidez Jr. find something to deny Charlo a win? Benavidez Jr. is the far fresher fighter.

If Charlo is affected by ring rust, Benavidez should strike early and as hard as possible. If Charlo loses, his boxing career will take a serious slide downhill. A struggle to beat Benavidez Jr. might be just as damaging.

As of publication, the fight odds hadn’t shifted in any significant way in Benavidez Jr.’s favor. It’s a bit ask of Benavidez Jr.

Solving the Scale Issue

The stage is set for boxing fans in Las Vegas, but the weigh-in is a fantasy show. Photo: Showtime Boxing

The stage is set for boxing fans in Las Vegas, but the weigh-in is a fantasy show. Photo: Showtime Boxing

Even if boxing never returns to same-day weigh-ins, it should stop leading fans to believe weigh-ins are legitimate when they are not.

Boxing’s sanctioning bodies, promoters, and managers should firmly refuse to move forward with a fight when the weight differential will be significantly different on fight night.

This is where the IBF gets my respect for imposing a 24-hour rehydration clause in title fights.

There should be a threatened fine equivalent to the wronged fighter’s purse paid out by the irresponsible fighter who can’t meet his or her obligations.

Make it hurt.

Finally, can we please get the WBC to strip Jermall Charlo of his now meaningless middleweight title and elevated Carlos Adames so we can see some life come back to the middleweight division?

Shame on Charlo, same on the WBC, shame on Showtime. Another stain on the Sweet Science.

Gayle Falkenthal is an award-winning boxing journalist and the only woman journalist who is a full voting member of the Boxing Writers Association of America (BWAA). She is West Coast Bureau Chief based in San Diego, California.