Ouma's Dream Doctored

03.06.04 - Kassim "the Dream" Ouma's well documented life has been filled with strange twists, gigantic ups and mind numbing downs, you just knew that Saturday's hard earned, top of the bill, "Showtime" world light middleweight title fight was not going to be straight forward.

Kassim Ouma had kept pushing forward towards his dream of boxing success, knowing he needs the world title and the accompanying financial reward if he is to reunite his Ugandan family here in America. Then, just when all seemed brightly in focus, with the world title fight just four days away, it was devastation for the exciting young southpaw. He awoke on Tuesday morning only able to breathe with great difficulty and much pain.
"I was hurting Monday and had to miss my gym workout, figuring if I rested up that I would be okay Tuesday, but I woke up and I couldn't breathe," Ouma said. "I was devastated. I cried because I didn't know what was wrong. I was scared. I couldn't even walk right. It felt like someone was hanging on my back. I was worried so much. I knew I had to get to the doctor's. My fight style is all out action so having my wind is everything. I knew I was in trouble."

For Ouma, the difficult part will be watching two fighters he's beaten, Verno Phillips and Carlos Bojorquez, challenge for the IBF title.

"There is no way that two guys that got beat by me can be champion without beating me. I'm glad that they can fill in for me let's see who is the best on Saturday. I'm always gonna fight the best," Ouma said. "I wish them both well. I hope it's a great fight, but I want the winner to know he's only holding my belt. He's borrowing my title. The only way they can be a true world champion is by beating me and they know they can't beat me."

"Verno Phillips is a great fighter. I have much respect for my man Phillips, but I know like he knows what would have happened if we had been in opposite corners on Saturday night. It would have been a tremendous fight and I would have stopped him."

Ouma spent six-weeks in the Pocono Mountains of Pennsylvania, working with trainer Tim Witherspoon to prepare for Phillips. "I worked so hard in camp. I knew I was ready. The world title would be mine. I trained so hard these last weeks. Sunday was my last day boxing and I felt great," Ouma said. "Then by Tuesday, I couldn't even walk good , it was crushing. For the fight to be taken away by an X-ray telling me I couldn't box or train is difficult to take. This is my first real boxing injury. With the title right there, it was like when I got shot. I was so worried. But I feel much better already. I'll be ready to fight in two weeks, just as soon as the doctors say I can train.

"Whoever wants me, let's go. I want to fight the best. Vernon Forrest, Fernando Vargas, the champion himself, Mr. Winky Wright, but will they fight me? Bring it on. I'd like something soon. Please God next week I'll be back in the gym getting ready.

"All I can do is get better, get back in the gym and be ready. I have a hard time being patient, but I wish both fighters the best and sit and suffer as they fight for the title my whole life is dedicated to winning ."

The medical prognosis "Sprain of his thoracic spine with muscle spasm, which prevents deep breathing and has caused mild atelectesis," fluid build-up in the lung. He's expected to be out at least a week, but the hard-working Ouma is ready for the gym on Monday, doctors' permitting.

"They might have to hold me back. I feel good enough now to start working right away. But the doctor has warned me to start back slowly. But he promised I'd be my old self in two weeks."

Article posted on 03.06.2004

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