As Sylvester Stallone gets back in the ring, Michael Mooney says: “I’m the new Rocky.”
Oscar-winners Stallone and Robert DeNiro star as creaky ring veterans in new film ‘The Grudge’ – and Mooney says he’s keeping the spirit of Hollywood’s best-loved boxer alive.
“I grew up watching the ‘Rocky’ films,” said the 28 year-old light-welterweight, “and for me, that’s what boxing is all about.
“It’s about going in there against the odds and steaming through people with sheer brute force !
“There are fighters out there who just want to beat up journeymen and look good in front of their mates.
“I never wanted that. I don’t want to be spoon fed opponents. I want to be chucked in at the deep end and no matter what the odds are, I give it my all.
“I’m not scared of anyone.”
True to his word, Mooney’s next four opponents – Eddie Doyle, Eren Arif, Ben Wager and Marcus Ffrench – have a combined record of 30-7-2.
Ffrench’s share of that is five wins and the prize for the winner of his six-round clash with Mooney in Birmingham on Saturday, March 22 will be a crack at Callum Cooper’s Midlands Area title.
Mooney says looking at Ffrench’s record puts the fire in his belly.
“Him being 5-0 doesn’t faze me,” he said.
“I’m told he’s a good stand-off boxer, but he likes to have a row. I’m ready to meet him in the middle of the ring – and I’m looking forward to it.
“I’m having three fights before then, so I should be sharp, fight fit and strong as an ox from my job as a hod carrier.”
The six-fight record (3-3) shows Mooney has wrecked an unbeaten record before.
Last July, he ploughed through Adam Kettleborough in the opening round, dropping him in a heap with a left hook.
The rematch was lined up for the British Masters Bronze belt, but Mooney suffered two cracked ribs in sparring.
He will get his chance to win a belt – and end years of hurt for Worcester boxers – if he beats Ffrench.
Not since Ervine Blake captured the Midlands Area super-featherweight title with a shock win over Carl Greaves in October, 1997 have the city’s fight fans had a professional champion to cheer.
Mooney accepts “there aren’t many opportunities for boxers here” and when he was an amateur his sparring partners included Ashley James, a super-heavyweight beaten in the 2011 ABA Novice final by Jon Joyce, currently Britain’s No 1 amateur at 91-plus kgs.
Mooney was happy to get in the ring with him – and anyone else for that matter.