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Boxing’s Magic Number: 147 Pounds

The rest of the civilized world is drawn to round numbers: 100th birthdays, 50th wedding anniversaries, .300 batting averages. But in boxing, which isn’t quite so civilized, an odd number has for decades held a special mystique: 147

When Manny Pacquiao and Floyd Mayweather Jr. step into the ring on May 2 in Las Vegas, they will fight at the welterweight-class limit of 147 pounds. Mayweather is the World Boxing Association and World Boxing Council welterweight champion; Pacquiao wears the World Boxing Organization belt. It is most the anticipated bout in years, yet it is just one of history’s great showdowns to take place at that seemingly random number.

Roberto Duran’s upset of Sugar Ray Leonard; the no más rematch, in which Duran quit in the eighth round; Leonard’s miraculous technical knockout of Thomas Hearns—all were fought at 147. A disproportionate number of pugilism’s crème de la crème were welterweights, including Henry Armstrong and Sugar Ray Robinson...


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