What is a rehydration clause in boxing? Understanding the controversial clause that has affected Ryan Garcia, Gervonta Davis and more

Gervonta Davis (left) knocks down Ryan Garcia (right) in the seventh round [Photo Courtesy: Getty Images]
Gervonta Davis (left) knocks down Ryan Garcia (right) in the seventh round [Image Courtesy: Getty Images]

In combat sports, the most difficult aspect of fighting is often not the fight itself but rather the process of making weight before fight night. With the weight-cutting process comes rehydration, which can be confusing to some who have never gone through the grueling procedure themselves.

Every now and then the controversial way weight-cutting and rehydration clauses are implemented arise as discussion points, most recently in the high-profile bout featuring Gervonta 'Tank' Davis and Ryan Garcia in April 2023. Davis would win the catchweight bout by TKO but pointed to the rehydration clause written into both fighters' contracts as a significant factor in the fight.

What is a rehydration clause in boxing?

Since the beginning of the sport, weight classes were implemented as a part of boxing to even the playing field. However, shortly after, weight cutting was conceptualized for fighters to gain an advantage and weigh in at the agreed-upon number but be much larger on fight day.

A bulk of the weight-cutting process includes strategic dehydration, thus allowing the weight to be put back on through heavy water consumption following the weigh-in.

In the April 2023 bout with Davis and Garcia, the fighters agreed to a catchweight limit of 136 pounds. However, Davis' team proposed a rehydration clause allowing for only 10 pounds to be added back on after the official weigh-ins, thus limiting both men to weighing only 146 pounds on fight night.

Other well-known boxing fights with rehydration clause

Davis vs. Garcia isn't the only big boxing fight to have used the rehydration clause. Several fights featured Saul 'Canelo' Alvarez also have seen this clause in action.

Canelo vs. Sergey Kovalev had the rehydration clause in their contracts. The bout took place in 2019 and the stipulation stated that none of the fighters could weigh more than 185 pounds. The two fighters were to submit a weight check on the Saturday morning before their fight.

Severe financially implications are imposed on fighters that don't adhere to the rehydration clause. Daniel Jacobs was unable to to stick to the 170-pound mark and had to forfeit $1million to Canelo.

The Jake Paul vs. Hasim Rahman Jr. fight also featured a rehydration clause and so did the Davis vs. Mario Barrios bout.

Quick Links

App download animated image Get the free App now