Here Comes the “Fright” Train: Katsidis vs. Casamayor

katsidis vs casamayor20.03.08 - By Ted Sares : It's amazing that humans can do this.
--Jim Lampley during Toney-Jirov

Australian Michael Katsidis is my kind of fighter. An all action fighter, he never stops coming at you. Ultra Exciting and ultra feared, his bout with Czar Amonsot, an equally fearless, albeit unknown warrior, was a stunningly competitive fight that left Katsidis‘s face looking like fresh road kill and the Filipino suffering a minor subdural hematoma (though it‘s hard to imagine that any subdural hematoma could be termed minor). To call their fight brutal is an understatement. Both guys left it all in the ring; they were simply gallant as they engage in a superhuman effort. It was one that will stay my memory bank as indelible.

Katsidis is the real McCoy. His very first professional fight was scheduled for ten and in just his second, he won a 12 round unanimous decision, beating James Swan for the Australian lightweight title.. Nineteen fights later, he stopped Graham Earl in seven for the interim WBO Lightweight Title in 2007 in London. The bout was pure savagery and was a prime candidate for fight of the year.

In 2006, he iced Columbian Guillermo La Pantera Mosquera, 38-6, and in 2004 stopped both Argentinean Sergio Rafael Liendo who was 62-20-3 coming in, and Thai Kongthawat Sorkitti, 42-18-1 at the time. Prior to his UD over the “Czar,” he had 13 straight stoppages.

“The Great” (as Katsidis is known) comes into this Saturday’s fight in Cabazon, CA (on HBO) with Joel Casamayor with a perfect 23-0 record and a KO percentage of 87%. El Cepillo sports a 35-3-1 mark but his best days are behind him. After a SD over Diego Corrales in2006, he fought a less than compelling fight against Jose Armando Santa Cruz in Novembers 2006 which everyone except judges Frank Lombardi and Ron McNair thought he lost convincingly. The two-time world champion lacked snap in his punches, threw no combinations, was slow afoot, and was even decked. Indeed, he was the antithesis of the old Casamayor who possessed a defensive style and a sharp uppercut that could give anyone trouble, including Katsidis.

But that was then and this is now--and now El Cepillo may be in over his head. If he fight like he did against Santa Cruz, he will be crushed by the Australian (via Greece) “Fright Train.” If he somehow reverts to the fighter he once was, he could give the incoming brawler some trouble. Even so, I can envision the Australian simply walking (maybe charging) through him and destroying him with non-stop heavy handed bombs and savage body shots.

Michael has been compared to Arturo Gatti and like Gatti, his blood and guts style is not well suited for a long ring career, but it is about as crowd pleasing as any fighter out there. Yes, he has glaring weaknesses and seemingly a total disdain for defense, but his old school proclivity to fight on regardless of his own well being and his propensity for mayhem, makes him extremely difficult with which to deal. He will keep coming and boring in and will never give up on his own. He is a real throwback.

I can’t wait for Saturday. Let’s get it on.

Article posted on 21.03.2008

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