LAS VEGAS – Jamal James stands 6-feet-2, unusually tall for a boxer in the 147-pound division.
The defending WBA world welterweight champion still came in nearly two full pounds underweight Friday for his fight against Radzhab Butaev on Saturday night. Minneapolis’ James (27-1, 12 KOs) stepped on the Nevada State Athletic Commission’s scale at 145.2 pounds, well below the maximum for the welterweight division.
Russia’s Butaev (13-0, 10 KOs, 1 NC) weighed a full pound more than Butaev, officially 146.2 pounds, for their “Showtime Championship Boxing” main event.
James, 33, will make the first defense of a WBA secondary title he won by out-pointing Thomas Dulorme unanimously in August 2020 at Microsoft Theater in Los Angeles. Butaev, 27, will fight for the WBA world title for the second time.
Fellow Russian Alexander Besputin beat Butaev by unanimous decision in November 2019 for a then-vacant WBA belt. Besputin tested positive for a banned substance after their fight, though, was stripped of that title and the result was changed to a no-contest.
Just before James and Butaev made weight, Jaron Ennis and Dulorme met their contractual obligations for their 10-round welterweight bout, the second of three fights Showtime will air.
Philadelphia’s Ennis officially weighed 146.6 pounds. Dulorme, a Las Vegas resident raised in Puerto Rico, came in at 146 pounds.
Ennis (27-0, 25 KOs, 1 NC) is listed by numerous online sportsbooks as at least a 45-1 favorite to defeat Dulorme (25-5-1, 16 KOs), the most tested opponent Ennis has been scheduled to fight during his five-year pro career.
Before Ennis and Dulorme stepped on the scale, Michel Rivera came in nearly three pounds heavier than Jose Matias Romero for their 10-round junior welterweight bout, the opener of Showtime’s three-bout broadcast (10 p.m. EDT; 7 p.m. PDT).
The Dominican Republic’s Rivera (21-0, 14 KOs) officially weighed 138 pounds, one less than the contracted maximum of 139. Argentina’s Matias Romero (24-1, 8 KOs) oddly weighed in at 135.4 pounds, approximately 3½ pounds less than what he was allowed.
The weights for the non-televised fights on the James-Butaev undercard are listed below.
Non-televised; 6 p.m. EDT; 3 p.m. PDT
Jean Carlos Torres (19-0, 15 KOs), Trujillo Alto, Puerto Rico, 142 pounds vs. Darwin Price (17-1, 10 KOs), Houston, 142.6 pounds, 10 rounds, welterweights.
Alberto Palmetta (16-1, 12 KOs), Buenos Aires, Argentina, 145 pounds vs. Yeis Gabriel Solano (15-1, 10 KOs), Monteria, Colombia, 143.2 pounds, 8 rounds, welterweights.
David Lopez (pro debut), Las Vegas, 140.8 pounds vs. Lazarus Velasquez (pro debut), McAllen, Texas, 141.8 pounds, 4 rounds, welterweights.
Jose Tito Sanchez (7-0, 5 KOs), Cathedral City, California, 123.4 pounds vs. Fernando Garcia (2-0, 1 KO), 123.2 pounds, Monterrey, Mexico, 4 rounds, featherweights.
Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.