Home Boxing News Katsidis vs. Earl – Dangerous Redoux

Katsidis vs. Earl – Dangerous Redoux

Katsidis vs. Earl-Dangerous Redoux

There will be no trilogy—Michel Katsidis

“Ever since our last fight together I was promised a rematch and the chance to get my revenge,”— Graham Earle

AS painful as the sound of the final bell has been, boxer Michael Katsidis is fully aware he has dodged a dementia-tipped bullet– Source: the Courier-Mail. February 21, 2013.

As the saying goes, be careful what you wish for and now it appears Earle will get his wish

Michael “The Great” (27-4) came back after 2 years and  MRI CAT SCAN results (that he had scarring of the brain)  to stop Eddy Comaro in March 2014. Now he is scheduled to fight Graham “The Duke” Earl in a rematch on July 4 this time in Toowoomba, Australia. The Duke last duked in 2009 when he beat (but struggled some) the very beatable Karl Taylor (16-125-7). This came after having been waxed three times in a row including once by Katsidis in London in 2007 in what was a true rock and sock em classic. After losing to Amir Khan, the Duke seemed listless in his demeanor.

This is a dangerous fight and should not be made. There are comebacks and there are comebacks, but this one is different.

Most comebacks end up being an exercise in embarrassment and even ignominy. Most are ill-advised. This one will be no exception, but not for the all-out violence that is Katsidis whose entertaining style is to  “take a punch to land a punch.” The danger here, given the style-matchup and recent hsitory, rests with Team Earl—unless Earl can counterpunch and use uppercuts which have always troubled The Great. The more underlying danger is that if Katsidis wins in convincing manner (and I believe he will), he will continue to fight. This could be a lose-lose.

Unlike political comebacks that are launched to restore disproportionate ego needs and recapture power and influence, the incentive in boxing is almost always a financial one. An exception was Henry Maske’s single comeback fight after an eleven year layoff. Henry simply had something to prove about losing for the first time in his career and against all odds and advice, he set out to do just that.
Henry Maske (2007)

“In the early 1900s, James J. Jeffries looked good physically when he got into the ring against Jack Johnson after six years’ inactivity but could offer only gameness in a mismatch. Joe Louis, after a two-year absence, moved like an old man at the age of 35 when Ezzard Charles outboxed him. More recently Axel Schulz looked dreadful when, after a seven-year retirement, he was beaten up by Brian Minto. Now it is Maske’s turn. He says he wants to avenge the only loss he ever suffered.”—Graham Houston

Henry Maske lost a SD to Virgil Hill (42-1) in 1996. Though he was only 33 years old at the time, Maske called it a career with a 30-1 record rather than seek a rematch. Maske, stayed retired for 11 years, but in late 2006 he announced that he would go into training for another go at Hill. Many Maske fans feared at the time that “The Gentleman” would ruin his status as a German sports idol by risking a one-sided beating at the hands of Hill, a future Hall of Famer who owned five titles.

The cruiserweight fight was held on March 31, 2007, in Munich, Germany and Maske shocked the boxing world by doing the improbable, if not the impossible, and winning a solid 12-round unanimous decision. This amazing achievement solidified

Henry’s standing as one of Germany’s most popular sports figures. But make no mistake; what Henry Maske did was not the norm.
Other notable comebacks

Relatively few boxers make successful comebacks. Exceptions that quickly come to mind are those launched by Vitali Klitschko, George Foreman, and Carlos Palomino.

Muhammad Ali rebuilt his career after being stripped of his titles over draft issues related to the war in Vietnam. That he virtually picked up in 1970 where he left off in 1967 was remarkable. Later, however, he would launch a poorly conceived comeback against Larry Holmes in 1980 and paid a terrible price.

Eder Jofre lost to Fighting Harada in 1966. Jofre returned in 1969 and proceeded to win his next 25 fights in a row and retired with a 72-2-4 record.

After an unsuccessful three-year spell as a dancer, Sugar Ray Robinson returned to the boxing ring where his dancing ability was more appreciated and quickly won a middleweight title.
Ill-Advised Comebacks

“A boxing ring is no place to grow old. It is no place to chase after faded glory, either. Nearly everyone who ever tried ends up either on their back, in the hospital or, as was the case with Jeff Fenech and Azumah Nelson, being booed for their incompetence at a sport they once mastered.”—Ron Borges (The Sweet Science 6-25-08)

Samuel Peter (214)

Last time I looked Peter was knocked into another solar system by Robert Helenius in 2011 in Germany. Now he is coming back against the dreaded TBA in June 2014. Not a good idea.

James “Buddy McGirt, Jr, (2014)

After being stopped by Edwin Rodriguez in 2010, Junior bounced back to KO a designated loser by the name of Larry Smith. This comeback will not be a successful one.

Shannon “Th e “Cannon” Briggs (2014)

The Cannon is back with two quick KO’s over human punching bags  in April after having been slaughtered by Vitali Klitschko in 2010. This is all about getting one last payday and one last beating.

Victor Ortiz (2014)

Vicious Victor is no longer vicious and lost to Louis Collazo in January 2014 and that should just about end his career.

Juan Diaz (2013)

The baby Bull came back after retiring in 2010 and has one 4 in a row, He is taking a measured and cautionary way back. So far, so good.

Bert Cooper (2013)

By his own admission, Smokin’ Bert Cooper needs money and returned to the ring after eight years. Bert won his first two before losing his next three. Bert was scheduled to fight Wes Taylor but fortunately, it never happened.

David Tua (2013)

David Tua embarked on a second comeback and because he picked a 6-foot-8-inch, 300-pound Russian/Belarusian monster with a 28-1 record by the name of Alexander “The Great” Ustinov instead of the usual fodder, this one was a disaster. Of course, the need for money is a great motivator.

Oleg Maskaev (2013)

The Big O came back and beat a shot Danny Williams over 10 dreary rounds. He needs to abort this comeback before his unreliable chin s once again exposed.

Fitz Vanderpool (2013)

The 45 year-old “Whip” came back in September 2012 after seven years and won two UDs, but then he met undefeated Brandon Cook this past June and was stopped in the first round. The affable Fitz has been in with the best, but no one as tough as Father Time.

Ricky Hatton (2012)

The Hitman waited more than three years to see if he still had it and for most of the fight against Vyacheslav Senchenko in November2012 in Manchester, it appeared that he did. But then it all ended in the ninth round when Ricky went down from a left to the body and that was that. However, this time Ricky was emotionally prepared to deal with it and moved on.

Boone Pultz (2006)

This former Cruiserweight champion of the world came back in 2006 after a long 11 year hiatus. In his prime, he was one of the most popular boxers to ever represent the Beltway.  However, he promptly found out his comeback was a mistake, as the 50-year-old lost his last fight by early stoppage to Maurice Winslow (1-7-1) in 2008 (I was ringside for this one).
Greg Page (2001)

“It was a fight Greg Page never should have fought, in a broken-down nightclub somebody probably should have closed. The hot air stank. Blood smears stained the floor of the ring.”—Jim Adams (Louisville Courier-Journal)
Badly in need of money, Greg came back in 1996 after having lost badly to Bruce Seldon in 1993. With few safety precautions present, he fought and was knocked out by Dale Crowe in Erlanger, Kentucky in March 2001. He was 42 years old at the time.

The collateral damage, implications, and tragic results of that fight have been vetted and need minimal elaboration here. Suffice it to say that Page filed a lawsuit against the state of Kentucky and settled for $1.2 million in 2007. As part of the settlement, boxing safety regulations the state earlier and promptly enacted were named the “Greg Page Safety Initiative.” Unfortunately, Greg passed away in March 2009 at age 50 after a long and gallant, albeit painful, fight against the many complications resulting from the Crowe fight. His wife and loving caregiver, Patricia, passed at age 50 in 2011. Alli n all, a tragic story.

Sugar Ray Leonard (1997)

“A fighter never knows when it’s the last bell. He doesn’t want to face that.”—Sugar Ray Leonard

One of the most notorious comeback decisions involved none other than Sugar Ray Leonard when he somehow reasoned that he could reproduce enough ring magic (after a six-year ring absence) to beat Hector Camacho (62-3-1). Witnessing the boisterous “Macho Man” destroy an immobile Ray with head-snapping shots was nothing less than distressing. It was like helplessly watching a close friend or family member taking a bad beating. It was the first time  Ray had ever been stopped, as Camacho made sure there would be no Hagler-like controversy.

Alexis Arguello (1995), was a shell of his former self when on January 21, 1995, he lost a UD to the late feather-fisted Elvis-like Scott “The Pink Cat” Walker. It was painful to witness this once very noble and universally respected warrior with the classic power-laden long right lose to the Cat, but then, most boxing comebacks are painful to witness.

Earnie Shavers (1995) after a 4-year layoff,  the “Acorn” returned on May 16, 1987 to beat Larry Sims (3-18-3).  He waited another eight long years before coming back to outpoint the very forgettable Brian Morgan (4-20-1). Two months later, Earnie was summarily waxed by Brian “The Beast” Yates who would go on to end his long career with a dismal 13-86-3 record.

Danny Lopez (1992)

After “ Little Red”  lost the second of his two grueling fights with the legendary Salvador Sanchez (both in 1980), he retired and should have remained so, but some 12 years later he came back to get KOd in the second round by dreadful Californian Jorge Rodriguez (10-26-2). Rodriguez would lose his next 10 fights and finish with a 10-36-2 slate. But he would be able to tell his grandchildren that he once knocked out Hall of Fame legend Danny “Little Red” Lopez at the 0.37 second mark of the second round on a cool winter evening at the Marriot Hotel in Irvine, California and nothing in the world can change that.

Gerry Cooney (1990)

The hard-hitting and popular Gerry Cooney was far past his prime when he made the mistake of coming back against former world heavyweight and world light heavyweight champion Michael Spinks in 1987. Spinks perpetrated a brutal beating on Gerry before stopping him in round 5. Cooney’s was then knocked cold by former world champion George Foreman. Big George simply could not miss with his thunderous power shots in the second round. After his first knockdown of Gerry, Foreman drilled the big Irishman with a short left/ right cross combination that finished the 6’6” Long Islander. As for Big George, the Cooney fight marked the point where henceforth he would be taken very seriously in his own highly successful comeback

There is no end to the number of failed comebacks and the above represent just a sampling. Maybe you can cite a few. However, for every Przemysław Saleta,  Paul Spadafora,  Herbie Hide, Irish Micky Ward or Curtis Stevens, there is a Brian Nielsen , Kevin McBride, Andrew Golota, Jameel McCline, Maurice Harris, Christy Martin, Shannon Briggs, Brian Nielsen, Corrie Sanders, Gaetan Hart,  Frans Botha, Courtney Burton, Riddick Bowe, Israel Cardona,  Lamar Murphy, Axel Schulz, Gerrie Coetzee, Donald Curry, Joe Frazier, Saoul Mamby, and far too many others.

The message here is manifest  and harsh; most comebacks end up being an exercise in embarrassment and even ignominy. And this will be the case for the loser in the dangerous Katsidis and Earle rematch. Let’s hope it is nothing worse.