Heavyweights Deontay Wilder and Robert Helenius didn’t have to “make weight,” but the hit the scales today in Brooklyn, and are set for Saturday night.
The weights are actually interesting, though. Wilder (42-2-1, 41 KO) came in at 214½ lbs, significantly lighter than the 231 and 238 he was in his latter two fights with Tyson Fury. I’ve mentioned leading up that I think Wilder is far more comfortable and “himself” coming in between 215 and 225. He was 219½ for his last win, over Luis Ortiz in 2019, and was actually 212½ for his first fight with Fury back in 2018.
Helenius (31-3, 20 KO), on the other hand, weighed in at 253¼ lbs, which is actually a notable bit above his normal weights, as he may be looking to use his weight in ways that Fury did in Wilder’s last couple of fights. He’s not going to weigh in the 270s the way Fury did, but the weight difference here is roughly the same; we’re talking just under 40 lbs difference here.
This is the heaviest Helenius has been on the scales since a couple of tune-up fights in 2016 where he was in the low-260s, which followed him weighing 254 against Johann Duhaupas in a sixth round knockout loss earlier that same year. In his last two bouts, Helenius was 238¾ and 246 against Adam Kownacki, both stoppage wins.
“What can I say? The waiting is over, I’m ready to fight,” Helenius said. “Victory or Valhalla!”
Wilder, of course, had a lot more to say, as usual.
“I just wanted to come in at a happy weight, and that’s what I came in at,” he said. “I’ve always been a smaller heavyweight than a lot of guys, but my power has made up for it. That’s why I’ve been able to stay at the top of the class in the heavyweight division.
“I just wanted to be mobile, hostile, and agile, where I’m comfortable, where I’m happier. This weight is where I’m happy, and I can get everything I need to see the greatness out of me.”
Super middleweights Caleb Plant and Anthony Dirrell are set for what has been talked up as a pretty personal fight, at least on Dirrell’s side, as the Michigan veteran has talked a big game leading into this one. Plant (21-1, 12 KO) came in at 167¼, while Dirrell (34-2-2, 25 KO) weighed in at 167¾, both under the 168 lb limit. The fight is a WBC eliminator. Canelo Alvarez, of course, holds all four major titles at super middleweight.
Their face off had a little intensity, but no shoving or whatever, just talking. Plant did calmly move Dirrell out of his way during their flexing, when Dirrell purposely stepped in front of him to get a reaction.
“He got hurt in camp, I heard that, by a 160 lber,” Dirrell told Ray Flores. “The talking is over, man, it’s time to work.”
“I don’t care nothing about the talking,” Plant said. “The whole fight, the whole lead-up, he’s been real emotional. He’s weak emotionally, he’s weak mentally. We’re not here to stand on emotion. Nothing he does or says can take me out of my zone. It’s gonna feel good when I get my hand raised tomorrow. I’m going to handle him in fashion.”
Heavyweights Frank Sanchez (20-0, 13 KO) and Carlos Negron (25-3, 20 KO) weighed in at 247¾ and 244½, respectively, for their 10-round bout. Shawn Porter did his best to sell Negron’s “superior” experience as a danger, because he turned pro in 2009, while the 30-year-old Sanchez, who had to defect from Cuba to turn pro, only did so in 2017.
Bantamweights Gary Antonio Russell and Emmanuel Rodriguez are set for their rematch, with Russell (19-0, 12 KO) coming in at 116½ and Rodriguez (20-2, 13 KO) at 117¾, both under the 118 lb limit. Their 12-round fight is a dual eliminator with the WBA and IBF, a pretty rare thing. All four of the major bantamweight belts could go vacant in the next few months, with Naoya Inoue and Paul Butler set for an undisputed clash on Dec. 13 in Japan.
If Inoue wins as expected, it seems likely he will move up to 122 lbs in 2023. The winner of this fight, then, could have their pick of one of two vacant belts to go after.