The Kat’s 10th Life

By Robert Ecksel on December 30, 2012
The Kat’s 10th Life
"I really feel like I’m back," said Katsidis, "like I’m entering the final phase of my career."

In an ideal world, no one would force anyone to do anything. But ours is not an ideal world. Force is the name of the game, whether it’s blunt force, brute force, or the forceful art of persuasion.

Under the circumstances, 32-year-old Michael Katsidis, who has thrilled fight fans since his pro debut in 2001, should consider retiring before it’s too late. The hard-hitting Katsidis has always been a great competitor, but has never been a stylistic paragon. In addition to a reported brain bleed and countless stitches, he has lost four of his last five fights, six of his last eleven, and looks to be fighting on memory alone.

But instead of retiring, Katsidis (28-6, 23 KOs) is convinced that this is going to be his year. He is leaving Las Vegas, where he had been living, and is returning to his beloved Australia. He assures us that the change of scene will resuscitate his flagging career.

“I really feel like I’m back, like I’m entering the final phase of my career,” he told The Sunday Telegraph. “And it’s all because that weight I carried for two years, it’s been lifted.”

The weight of which Katsidis speaks was the sudden death of his older brother Stathi in 2010, at the age of 31. Stathi Katsidis was a star jockey with a history of drug and alcohol-related problems. In 2008, when he was busted for drunk driving, his blood alcohol reading was more than three times the legal limit. Two months after that he tested positive for ecstasy prior to a race, for which he was suspended for nine months.

Stathi had been in and out of rehab, with the usual repentance and subsequent fanfare. But as history has shown, not all demons can be talked away. The night before his death he reportedly collapsed at a Metallica concert from having ingested too many drugs. He was found dead the next morning, face down on the floor of his rented Brisbane home.

The death hit Michael Katsidis hard.

“When Stathi died of drugs, I refused to accept it. I went almost 18 months without even shedding a tear for my best mate. I simply refused to concede he’d gone out that way.

“There are days where I’m still angry with him. Where I’ll say, ‘Stathi you dickhead, what did you do it for?’ But at least now I understand that, while he made mistakes, my brother still died a legend. Still has so many people who remember him as a great jockey, a lovable larrikin, a wonderful mate. Stathi went out having created his legacy. And really…what else has a bloke got?”

Michael gives Stathi credit for his having learned how to fight.

Katsidis proudly displayed the scars, and described the events leading up to the scars, that Stathi’s high jinks left behind.

There was the time Stathi stabbed him with a cooking fork.

A few months later, Stathi stabbed Michael with a kitchen knife.

Michael recalled Stathi biting off his toenail in a fight.

In another skirmish, Stathi stabbed Michael in the foot with a dart.

“Stathi was so strong that when he latched, there was no getting him off. It’s actually why I took up boxing at 14. I learned to jab and move for the sole purpose of keeping my brother off me.”

Michael was asked which injury was the most serious. “Have to be when I copped a metal pole here,” he laughed while pointing to a scar above his eye. “I was 10, my brother split me and it’s been opening up ever since. Bloody Stathi…”

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  1. paul 05:55am, 01/01/2013

    He has taken all manner of abuse in his boxing career.
    But to be fair, having read the original article, it states Kat hasn’t fought since finally confronting the videotape of his brother’s funeral, 2 years after his death, he’s moved back to Australia, secured his finances, and - most importantly - says he wants to actually try and box a little! That would be wise if he really wants to continue his career as a boxer.

  2. the thresher 07:27am, 12/30/2012

    I suspect they got it mixed up with Czar Amonstart (spelling) who did get a brain bleed when he fought The Kat. But having had one 3 years ago, I became somewhat of a forced expert on subdural hematomas and, based on what I learned through my ordeal, any boxer who fights after having suffered one is playing Russian Roulette with six bullets. Joe Mesi was lucky he got out when he did. The Czar is still fighting.

    Some day I may write on the subject of subdural hemotomas that result in blood clots ans/or bleeding that then result in a coma and eventually death. This is the classic sequence for a boxer’s fatality or disability caused by blunt trauma. Every time I see the words “Brain Bleed,’ it gives me the Willies.

    This all said, the Kat is a likely candidate for this to happen. He needs to get out now.

  3. Robert Ecksel 07:18am, 12/30/2012

    I read it in an Aussie newspaper. That doesn’t make it true. In fact, it’s just as likely to be false.

  4. the thresher 07:10am, 12/30/2012

    What brain bleed? I was not aware of that. If he had one, he should never, ever be allowed in a ring again.

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