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Featherweight champ plans to rehydrate 34lbs for 5′ 2″ challenger

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  • 3 min read

WBA featherweight champion Raymond Ford plans to rehydrate to middleweight before facing Nick Ball in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.

The American fighter made the surprising confirmation as a debate rages over how much weight boxers should be able to put on after the weigh-in.

Former two-time world titleholder Regis Prograis recently spoke to World Boxing News about the matter, which has become a touchy subject for many. The situation arose after Prograis discovered that Devin Haney put on 18% body weight for their December clash. The California State Athletic Commission’s limit before canceling a fight was 15%. At the time, Prograis was unaware. He plowed on with the fight and lost his WBC belt on points.

Speaking to WBN, Prograis said, “The rules were broken against the California Commission.

“He was way overweight, but I’m not taking any legal action against the Commission. As long as the people know what went on, I’m good with that. Now, my goal is to be a three-time world champion. I’ll be happy with a rematch with Devin Haney on an even playing field.”

Prograis had it tough against Haney, who weighed 165 pounds when they fought in San Francisco. However, that’s nothing compared to what Englishman Ball faces this weekend. The 5′ 2″ challenger, who is five inches shorter than Ford, will hope to win the world title at the second time of asking against a champion who is adding 34 pounds from scaling to the first bell.

After losing out controversially against WBC featherweight ruler Rey Vargas, Ball has an uphill battle against an opponent who realistically should be campaigning around super welterweight.

Ford replied when asked if his 126lb fight with Ball had a rehydration limit on fight day due to confusion over WBA’s stance on Gervonta Davis vs Frank Martin, “Hell no, I’m coming in 160. My contract doesn’t say none of this.”

Those intentions, which are within the current rules, leave Ball in a tough spot as he already gives away significant size to most fighters due to his slighter stature. Despite giving away height and weight last time out, the Liverpool man had no trouble landing on Vargas after being robbed of his greatest night in the Kingdom last March. He gets another opportunity, thanks to Turki Alalshikh and Frank Warren, but whether it’s a level playing field is another rehydration debate.

If the WBA is to introduce a ten-pound hydration weight limit in the future, Ford vs Ball could be a prime example of why all sanctioning bodies should introduce the rule.

Read all articles and exclusive interviews by Phil Jay. Learn more about the author, experienced boxing writer, and World Boxing News Editor since 2010. Follow on Twitter @PhilJWBN.