hit them again

A boxing tragic's look at the world of boxing. No hidden agendas, no cash for comment, just my opinion, for what it's worth, of the greatest sport there is. Oh yeah, and i can't fight for shit!

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Katsidis, Green and a real loss

Well the Katsidis/Casamayor fight was a corker wasn't it? Michael down twice in the first when he kept leading with his face, a great comeback and then Casamayor down and almost out in the sixth from that body shot and then that tenth round where Katsidis came out blazing, hurt the Cuban and then walked into a huge left hand and went down himself. It was definitely fight of the year material regardless of my disappointment at the Aussie losing. Katsidis certainly gave his all and he's sure to be offered more fights in the US based on that blue. And Casamayor was a surprise too considering how lack lustre his last bout was. He really came out firing himself and his jab in particular looked the strongest I've seen for a long time. He was obviously taking Katsidis seriously. A great bout and I'm sure Michael learnt more from this loss than any of the previous twenty three victories. He certainly hasn't lost any fans with the fight he put up.

Danny Green has retired! Where the hell did that come from? Seemingly in the midst of preparing himself for his first title defense and from all reports looking strong, he's suddenly upped and quit the game claiming he wants to spend time with his family and wants to go out on top. Something else has to be going on that we don't know about. You don't quit in the middle of preparations for a world title defense unless there's something seriously wrong somewhere - whether it's your own health, a family problem, illness... if he had been out of the game for a year ala Paul Briggs then I wouldn't be surprised at the announcement but this seems to have caught everyone (including his team) by surprise. We'll just have to wait and see. Until then I'd just like to say thanks Danny for giving us a true blue Aussie bloke to support, for the great bouts you put on (especially against Eric Lucas) and for never backing down from a fight. We can only wish you well in the future and hope everything is alright and that this is purely a man who just wants to be at home with his family.

RIP Joe Bridges - Amateur Boxing Icon and legend who passed away on Friday 22nd March aged 74 years old and just three days shy of his 75th birthday. I met Joe last year after a couple of phone calls to talk about boxing and the like and we discovered that he was from the same end of the world as me (only he'd been there thirty years longer) and in fact in my father's boxing collection we dug out the original Amateur Boxing mags that Joe and his wife Julie had put out back in 1978 from Millicent. The next time I saw Joe he dropped around some back issues of the new Amateur Boxing mag that he'd resurrected in 2003 and we talked a bit about a few of the old hands down in Millicent and what was happening around Adelaide. He then went off to the doc's to have a check up as he was in the midst of battling bowel cancer! A tough old bugger, he then organised to walk from Adelaide to Melbourne to raise money for cancer research. This he did last year and I was one of the few that showed up in Victoria Square to see him off. I'm not bragging here, I was there because well, I guess I was representing Millicent and my old man and Tony Campbell and the other friends that couldn't be there. Joe did that walk, though it took a lot out of him by all reports. That was the last time I actually talked to him, just before he headed off with a camera man following to get footage for the news. He was planning another walk this year from Melbourne to Sydney and i was meaning to catch up with him to see how the plans were going. i didn't get to it and now, well... anyway, it was good to know you Joe even if it was only briefly. One of my greatest writing moments was getting an article into The Fist a few years back about SA boxer Jamie Wallace. In the very next issue was a letter from Joe correcting a factual error! He also added that it was a great story. Mate, i don't think I told you but i was as proud as punch when you said that. I still am.

Monday, March 17, 2008

Michael Katsidis talks the talk.

While other fighters talk about facing the best Toowoomba boy and WBO Lightweight world champion Michael Katsidis is doing it. With a record of 23 wins, 20 kos and no losses, he was all set to take on WBO’s ‘other’ champ Juan Diaz when Don King scuttled the fight. Instead Michael, backed by Oscar De La Hoya’s Golden Boy Promotions, now finds himself facing Lightweight legend and Olympic Gold Medallist Joel Casamayor for the prestigious Ring Championship belt.

Let’s start with a two part question. (1) Is this fight for any of the belts? Since I know there were threats of Casamayor’s WBC belt being taken away and your WBO interim belt maybe being upgraded.

The WBO and The Ring Magazine Belt

And (2) do you think all the sanctioning and different bodies helps or hinders the sport sometimes. Do you sometimes just want to fight the best and say bugger the titles and belts.

I don't believe I am one to say what is or isn't best for the sport. I think it is my position to demonstrate what is best for the sport and that is to fight the best and be the best. This can only be measured in time and by my performance. Come 22nd of March I would have prepared a lot of my life just for this one day in the office to prove my self. The A, B, C's in belts and titles will soon be unified, there will be one champion. Until then every fight is the fight of my life regardless of what its for. I cannot treat any battle any different to another.

A lot of fighters talk the talk but fail to walk the walk. By taking on Casamayor you’ve really stepped up. I mean he has fought some of the best. I know this sounds daft but are you ready for him? And vice versa I guess, do you think he realizes what he’s got himself in to?

We are not measured in this life by what we say but by what we do. I can only promise to give my very best and do myself my family and heritage proud. I can't remember when an Australian has ever beaten a Gold medalist at the Olympic games. Casamayor is one of Cuba's finest and an all time great. What he says doesn't mean anything. He has done enough in his career to prove where he stands in the sport. He now holds what is regarded as the supremacy of al belts. The Ring Belt.

Diaz has once again avoided you, this time it appears to be Don King who’s crashed the party. Will you get a chance to take him on? Is that fight still on your agenda?

Whilst all the papers and press were rolling with the highs and lows of the Don King saga Christmas time drew near. Brendon Smith and myself sacrificed our time to be with our families to do the work that needed to be done. There can only be so many moves a fighters management can make and although it appears Don King has more moves then a rattle snake, time will soon answer your questions. Either way my job is to fight and not involve in the political side of the sport.

Having Golden Boy on your side, obviously will raise your profile in America but do you think that it adds pressure? Everyone expecting you (and Billy Dib too) to perform, to win and win well because De La Hoya and co are backing you.

I carry no exra weight on shoulders aside from the weight I put on my self (; The rest doesn't matter.

And what is it like to have the likes of Oscar and Bernard around? Are they friendly or is it all business? Do you even see them?

I don't see Bernard that often though occasionally at the fights. I had a great time in Puerto Rico with Oscar at the WBO convention. Knowing Oscar on a personal level from fighter to fighter is a great boost. Each time we do business the whole Golden Boy team treat Brendon and I like family. I would love to bring the whole Golden Boy team to Australia some day for a Super-Fight. I believe the Australian public would take very kindly to the likes of Oscar De La Hoya making a visit

Lets talk about the fight itself. Where do you see you winning this bout? What have you got that others have lacked when facing Casamayor? Obviously power has to be a factor but do you worry about his experience, the fact that he’s faced stronger opponents perhaps than you have?

I like to keep all cards close to my chest on these issues. You'll be able to find out for yourself in your own home come Easter Sunday 23rd march. (Main Event) All I can tell you is that I'll be very weary of the Rabbit punch.

You’ve put in a couple of real fight of the year type bouts – do you see this being one of those battles or will Joel try and outbox you rather than brawl?

The plot has certainly thickened. It is renown I'm never in a dull fight. I bring out the bet in every opponent as like me they are fighting for their lives. Each fight is the fight of my life. My fight records suggests this.

I read that you got Sportsperson of the Year in your home town Toowoomba. That must have been a buzz, knowing that they’ve recognised you and your sporting achievements.

I never forget where I come from and what made me who I am today. I have my family and Australia, Toowoomba to thank for that. It's been a great honour coming from where I'm from and making a statement to the world. I've shown anyone can become a warrior if it's alive inside of them. I'm a very proud person and getting that award has meant more then just any title. Since I was a little kid I've wanted to win that award.

The Katsidis Vs Casamayor fight is being screened on Main Event on Sunday 23rd March - check guides for details. Billy Dib is on the undercard.

An edited interview is in this week's People magazine. buy it and keep me in a job!