What is a Catchweight in Boxing? A Clear Explanation

Catchweight fights have become a rare but exciting occurrence in boxing. These fights allow two fighters in different weight divisions to face each other in a fair and safe way. If you’re a fan of boxing and have been hoping for a match between two of your favorite fighters in different weight classes, a catchweight fight can make that possible.

This article will delve into what a catchweight fight is in boxing and provide famous examples of these kinds of fights. It will also discuss weight classes and how catchweight fights offer flexibility for fighters to compete without adhering strictly to established weight classes.

Key Takeaways

  • Catchweight fights are rare but exciting occurrences in boxing that allow fighters in different weight divisions to face each other in a fair and safe way.
  • Catchweight fights offer flexibility for fighters to compete without adhering strictly to established weight classes.
  • Famous examples of catchweight fights include Chris Eubank Jr vs. Conor Benn, Miguel Cotto vs. Manny Pacquiao, and Amir Khan vs. Kell Brook.

What Is A Catchweight In Boxing?

A catchweight fight is a match between two fighters that don’t fall within the traditional limits of boxing weight classes. Professional fights usually happen at the upper limit of each weight division. However, when two fighters from different weight classes want to fight each other, but don’t want to make the full class jump, they choose a weight limit in between the upper limits of both divisions, which is called a catchweight.

Before the fight, the fighters agree to the catchweight and create a fight contract that will make this a fair contest, preventing weight mismatches or setting consequences if one of the two fighters fails to make weight. The weigh-in is held a day before the match to give the fighters time to rehydrate and gain back some of their weight.

Even though both fighters agreed to meet at the same weight, the advantage is for the boxer who has to increase weight. The heavier fighter who has to drop weight will have less energy than he is used to. Even though it’s a matter of losing only a few pounds, it will make a big difference when fighting.

To ensure a level playing field, some catchweight fights have rehydration clauses, which limit the amount of weight a fighter can regain after the weigh-in. If a fighter fails to make the catchweight, he may be penalized or the fight may be canceled.

In summary, a catchweight in boxing refers to a pre-agreed weight for a match that falls between standard weight divisions. It allows fighters to compete without adhering strictly to established weight classes, offering flexibility and enabling matchups between fighters from different weight categories.

Weight Classes

Boxing weight classes are divisions where boxers compete based on their weight. Each division has a specific weight limit, and boxers are required to weigh in before the fight to ensure they meet the weight requirements. There are 17 weight classes recognized by the four major governing bodies in professional boxing: the WBC, WBA, IBF, and WBO. The weight classes range from the smallest Strawweight division (105 lbs) to the largest Heavyweight division (200+ lbs). The traditional limits of these weight classes have been expanded in recent years, with the addition of the Bridgerweight division.

Examples of Catchweight Fights

Catchweight bouts are rare but they do happen occasionally, allowing boxers from different weight classes to face each other. Here are some of the famous catchweight bouts in recent years:

Chris Eubank Jr vs. Conor Benn

In this fight, Chris Eubank Jr. was scheduled to meet Conor Benn at a catchweight of 157 lbs. Eubank Jr. represented the middleweight and super-middleweight class, while Benn represented the welterweight class. However, the fight was postponed as Benn tested positive for a performance-enhancing substance, according to the BBC.

Miguel Cotto vs. Manny Pacquiao

Miguel Cotto met Manny Pacquiao at the 145 lb catchweight weigh-in in this bout. Cotto represented the junior middleweight class, while Pacquiao represented the welterweight class. Despite being the lighter fighter, Pacquiao won the match with a 12th round technical knockout.

Amir Khan vs. Kell Brook

Amir Khan and Kell Brook agreed to weigh in at 149 lbs, two pounds above the standard welterweight limit, in this fight. Khan represented the junior middleweight class, while Brook represented the welterweight class. Brook won the fight with a 6th round technical knockout.

These catchweight fights allowed boxers from different weight classes to face each other, creating unique matchups that fans were excited to see.


Catchweight fights in boxing provide an opportunity for fighters to compete across weight boundaries, fostering compelling showdowns between elite pugilists. These fights ensure fair contests and can prevent weight mismatches. Catchweight bouts also allow fighters to avoid the dangers and inconvenience of drastically changing weight. A fighter can temporarily fight at a catchweight and then rejoin their original weight class.

In addition to catchweight fights, boxers also need to focus on their performance, integrity, conditioning, and training methods. Choosing the right boxing equipment is also important. The best boxing jump ropes, gloves, hand wraps, headgear, shoes, and groin protectors can help boxers to improve their performance, protect themselves from injury, and maintain their integrity in the ring.

Frequently Asked Questions

How does a catchweight bout differ from regular weight class fights?

A catchweight bout is a fight between two boxers that do not fall within the traditional weight limits of boxing weight classes. In contrast, regular weight class fights are fights between boxers who fall within the same weight class. Catchweight fights are usually agreed upon by both fighters and their respective camps before the fight.

Why might fighters agree to a catchweight match?

Fighters might agree to a catchweight match for various reasons. For example, they might want to fight an opponent who is outside their weight class, or they might want to avoid cutting weight to make their weight class. In some cases, fighters might agree to a catchweight match to make the fight more competitive.

What implications does a catchweight have on boxing titles and rankings?

Catchweight fights do not have any implications on boxing titles and rankings. Catchweight fights are usually considered non-title fights, and the result does not affect the boxer’s ranking in their respective weight class.

How is a catchweight determined between competing boxers?

The catchweight is usually determined by the boxers and their respective camps before the fight. The catchweight is usually agreed upon based on factors such as the boxers’ weights, fighting styles, and the desired competitiveness of the fight.

What are the common ranges for catchweight limits in boxing?

There are no standard catchweight limits in boxing. The catchweight limit is usually agreed upon by the boxers and their respective camps before the fight. However, catchweight limits are usually within a range of 1-3 pounds above or below the weight limit of the boxers’ respective weight classes.

How do rehydration clauses affect catchweight fights?

Rehydration clauses are contractual agreements between the boxers and their respective camps that limit the amount of weight a boxer can gain after the weigh-in. Rehydration clauses are usually included in catchweight fights to prevent boxers from gaining an unfair advantage by rehydrating excessively after the weigh-in.

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