Kassim Ouma - Can "The Dream" Get Past "K-9?"

by James Slater: Fight fans should already know the amazing life story of Ugandan-born light-middleweight Kassim "The Dream" Ouma. How he was born into poverty and then kidnapped and forced to carry a gun in the national resistance army of his troubled country. How Ouma's siblings were killed and how he himself fled to the United states to continue a promising boxing career that had began at amateur level in Uganda.. And how, ironically after having dodged bullets in warfare in his home country, Ouma was severely wounded when shot in the abdomen in Florida in December of 2002 (amazingly, Ouma was back in training just three months after surgery!).

Finally, after all he'd been through, southpaw Kassim made his life-long dream a reality. He became champion of the world with a points win over Verno Phillips in an IBF 154 pound title bout. A successful points win over Kofi Jantuah of Ghana followed, before Ouma lost his belt, via decision, to Roman Karmazin.

Moving up to middleweight for a shot at the unbeaten Jermain Taylor's crown in December of 2006, Ouma acquitted himself extremely well against the naturally bigger man. Forcing the action throughout, and taking some big shots from Taylor while doing so, Ouma had the crowd very firmly on his side. A points loss later, however, Ouma moved back down to his natural weight class - after a layoff of almost a year, anyway. What happened in his last fight, against Saul Roman, was not expected. Losing a close decision in a fight that should really have been nothing much more than a tune-up bout, Ouma now finds himself at the crossroads point in his career. Next up, on March 28th, Ouma, now 29-years-old and with a record of 25-4-1(15) meets Contender standout Cornelius "K-9" Bundrage in New York. A loss to Bundrage and Ouma's incredible story may well come to an end.

The question is, can Ouma defeat Bundrage? "K-9" is no slouch, yet he is also far from unbeatable. Nor is he anywhere near the best fighter Ouma will have boxed. But with everything to fight for (Bundrage was a loser in his last-but-one fight - by 8th round TKO to Joel Julio) anything could happen. "K-9" is now 34-years-of-age, and with his own career pretty much over should he lose and him knowing it, the Detroit fighter could well be dangerous. A more than reasonable puncher, the 27-3(16) Bundrage is entering the Ouma fight coming off a stoppage win (over the little known Nelson Manchengo) and will surely give it his all come fight time. The 34-year-old has also fought and seen off southpaws in the past, so should have no great problems with Ouma's stance.

Ouma is tough, but he can be hurt and even stopped. Of his 4 losses, only one has come inside the distance ( a first round TKO loss to Agustin Silva, in 1999) but "The Dream" has been stunned in fights before now. Confidence, too, could possibly be a problem. With only one win in the last 19 months, Ouma's unshakable belief in himself might just have taken a bit of a pummelling of late. Basically, what we have on March 28th is a genuine crossroads match - with virtually no where to go for the loser. We will either see the incredible Kassim Ouma story enter its next chapter, or we will see one of The Contender's T.V stars make it into genuine world class.

Ouma should win. He is of a far higher overall pedigree, has fought and defeated much better opposition, is younger, and is proven at the highest level. Bundrage, on the other hand, though undeniably gutsy and skilled, has lost the biggest fights in his career. Nor has "K-9" done anything like gone a full 12 rounds with a man who was then the finest middleweight in the world - as Ouma did when he met Jermain Taylor in '06.

Bundrage may go the distance with Ouma on March 28th, but he will not win. It's Ouma by comprehensive UD for this writer.

Article posted on 07.02.2008

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