Blood & Guts Warrior Katsidis Goes Out Fighting In War With Casamayor!

Michael Katsidis24.03.08 - By Tony Nobbs: Michael Katsidis may have lost his unbeaten record and WBO interim lightweight title to veteran great Joel Casamayor at the Morongo Casino Resort & Spa in Cabazan, California today but he lost none of the adulation his “blood & guts” warrior tag has earned him ion his last few outings on the international front.

The fight could not have got off to a more famous beginning for Cuban Casamayor, as he scored two knock downs – the second the more telling – in the opening minute, courtesy of timed left hands from his southpaw stance. Defense has never been Australian – Greek Katsidis' forte and it cost him, as he was in a huge hole after three minutes. He did well to brawl his way back in to the fight and eventually pull ahead, putting the Olympic Gold Medalist through the ropes in the sixth round. In a back and forth middle part of the classic encounter, the Aussie battler looked just one punch away from what would have been the most dramatic of his career.

Noticeably cut and marked by the end of the third, 27 year old Katsidis' right hands and body attack had the 36 year old legs of the defending Ring Magazine champion (Katsidis rated six by the Bible of Boxing) a little weary as he spent a lot of time on or near the ropes and it was a win that looking back on his career in future years that Joel might say he “pulled out of his ass”.Going into the fateful tenth, there was confusing in Katsidis' corner with Mick telling trainer Brendan Smith and corner man Lupe Aquino, the ex junior middle champ, that eleven rounds had been fought (Katsidis employed top notch Miguel Diaz as cut man).

Mick jumped on him and got home a right hand before Casamayor spun of landing a power laden left hook that Katsidis came in to. Katsidis went down hard and immediately but was up just as quickly. The writing was on the wall and referee John Schorle did the correct thing waving it off at the 30 seconds off round ten as Casamayor blazed away. At the end, Katsidis was up by one point on two cards, and down by three on the third. There were some un queensbury action by both guys, Cassamayor being deducted a point for a low blow in round nine and could have received warnings for use of the head. Mick was no angel either, but then this ain't tennis. Casamayor, a long time great who has fought the elite including two wins in a trilogy with Diego Corrales takes his record to 33, 22 knockouts while Katsidis slips to 23-1, 20 KO's.

Casamayor later dismissed new IBF champ Nate Campbell, who he edged back in 2003, suggesting he wants Manny Pac or another super fighter. Also, a little birdy told me today that Ismael Salas Cuban trainer of WBA 175 lb boss Danny Green will be a part of Casamayor's team for his next fight. While he could've been fortunate to get by J.A Santa Cruz in November, El Cepillo is still number one at 135 and will remain so until beaten.

As for Katsidis, Arturo Gatti had his defeats – to Angel Manfredy, Ivan Robinson, Micky Ward - lesser guys than Casamayor - but still secured a legacy that will survive time. Whether Katsidis can do the same or not only time will answer but there is no doubt, he will still be a product people will pay to watch.

Expect an interview with Katsidis or Brendan Smith in the coming days.

In an under card bout that was a little sloppy at times Billy The Kid Dib carried the Aussie Flag proudly as he sneaked by Edgar Vasquez via split dime. Showman Dib is booked to challenge Jorge Linares for the WBC 126 lb championship on the De La Hoya – Forbes card on May 8 but looks as if he needs more seasoning as he looks ragged when pressured. Remember, Vargas was 11 and 3 with only one KO going in. Dib is now 18-0, 9 KO's. He is rated number 17 by the 'BC with the IBF listing him at 12. 22 year old Dib was looked after by the under rated Brian Wilmott, trainer of former WBC light heavyweight champ Jeff Harding and a Jeff Fenech corner man and assisted by Peter Mitrevski jnr, a handy Sydney fighter.

Article posted on 24.03.2008

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