Manny Pacquiao is one of many champion fighters who once fought as a featherweight.
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Boxers who compete in the sport's featherweight division might not have the instant name recognition of such past heavyweight champions as Muhammad Ali and Mike Tyson. It's a mistake, however, to discount the fast, furious action you'll encounter when watching this weight class. Featherweight fighters are among the sport's lightest, but throughout history, some of boxing's most dynamic fighters have belonged to this class.
Professional boxers in the featherweight division aren't technically as light as a feather, but this weight class encompasses fighters who are generally slight in stature. Boxing has several governing bodies, but for organizations such as the International Boxing Organization, World Boxing Federation and World Boxing Organization, featherweight fighters must weigh no more than 126 pounds and no less than 122 pounds. A fighter who cannot meet this weight range must compete in a different class.
Historic Featherweight Boxers
In the low and middle weight classes of the sport, few fighters maintain the same weight throughout their careers. Over the history of the featherweight division, a significant number of notable fighters have competed for the division's crown. International Boxing Hall of Fame member Henry Armstrong, commonly regarded as one of the sport's greatest fighters, competed as a featherweight during a stretch of his early career. Other renowned fighters to spend time in the featherweight division include Marco Antonio Barrera, Naseem Hamed and Manny Pacquiao.
Featherweight Boxing Training
Regardless of the weight class in which a boxer competes, the training regimen is typically the same. Featherweights train for upcoming bouts through a combination of such drills as hitting the heavy bag, speed bag and double-end bag, sparring and hitting a trainer's focus pads. Featherweight fighters must be vigilant about their weight, as losing or gaining just a couple of pounds can be enough to move them to a new weight class.
In the Olympics
Professional boxing's weight classes aren't identical to the amateur classes at the Summer Olympics. At this level, the featherweight class doesn't exist; the closest weight division to the featherweight class at the Olympics is bantamweight, in which fighters must weigh no more than 123.5 pounds. At the 2012 Games in London, England's Luke Campbell won the gold medal. Ireland's John Joe Nevin won silver, and Satoshi Shimizu of Japan and Lazaro Jorge Alvarez Estrada of Cuba tied for bronze.