What Man, What Beast—Katsidis

By Michael Schmidt on April 10, 2012
What Man, What Beast—Katsidis
There is nothing in Katsidis’ recent performances to suggest he is not a top level fighter

The great philosophers speak of life cycles, of places, things and beings to hold on to, to give a person an anchor along the journey…

“Duel in the Desert” is what the promotion is called for this Friday’s Hard Rock Hotel and Casino, Las Vegas event where Michael Katsidis, 31 years of age, 33 fights, will once more go to the well of internal fortitude and bring his brand of willpower pressure brand of fighting to one Mr. Albert Mensah. What man, this Katsidis of Greek Macedonian background, what beast, this boxing? Down the road, over on the Strip, the next night to much greater fanfare, one Brandon Rios will exert his own version of pressure mayhem, his own version of what man, what beast. A younger version!

The great philosophers speak of life cycles, of places, things and beings to hold on to, to give a person an anchor along the journey. A certain pattern of life, be it work, art, a friend, a spouse, something that brings a single-mindedness of purpose, perhaps if one is lucky, and perhaps, in the same breath, if one is unlucky. I have just put down the finishing read to “Beloved Warrior: The Rise and Fall of Alexis Arguello” by “Hands of Stone” author Christian Giudice and I am ever so mindful, having read this great book,  of this single-mindedness in the context of Arguello and boxers in general. This beast, this boxing. The depth of punishment to achieve the championship reward level is hard to fathom and the hard withdrawal transition of after-boxing life, so, so very hard. For the average individual banging about, moving about in a world less single-minded in utter devotion probably not so difficult. But in this world, this beast, boxing, well that of course is a different but often unsettling end story. What man, what beast, this Katsidis boxing.

Michael Katsidis won his first 23 fights with 20 by knockout—this after a highly decorated 75 wins, six loss amateur career. Incredibly in his second pro fight he went 12 rounds to win the Australian Lightweight title. He would go on to win a WBO title. There were memorable wars, short and long, the likes of his fights with Graham Earl and with Amonsot where both fighters ended up being hospitalized. Katsidis is an exciting fighter of the Ray Mancini type; willing to take and absorb extreme punishment and the ability to land the big punch. Katsidis last 10 fights, moving up in quality the past three years, show a record of five wins and five losses with two by stoppage. Included in that list of matches are the likes of names such as Casamayor, Diaz, Guerrero, Marquez and Ricky Burns. They were all tough, tough fights. The Marquez fight was particularly hard to digest from a human perspective even if you were a Marquez fan. Katsidis had Marquez down, hard, in the third round from a wicked left hook, but faded late in taking a stoppage beating. More to the point, Katsidis was fighting a few weeks after the death of his brother Stathi and the post-fight interview in the ring, and the emotions that Katsidis wore on his proverbial sleeve, said it all.

“Dual in the Desert” it shall be and it shall be without Katsidis’ longstanding trainer of the past 20 years. It will be that single-minded purpose, as if one has never been away from the action. How long do the Michael Katsidises of the boxing world continue? What man this Katsidis? We have seen the answer to that question time and time again. His skill set may not be on that upper tier but his heart and courage certainly is. What beast, this boxing? It takes hold and it does not let go. Such is the nature of the commitment it demands. If that left hook had been an inch over this way or that, perhaps Michael Katsidis would be over at Mandalay Bay Saturday night. Perhaps he still will be. At what cost? Who is to say? His style, that of his Greek ancestors, of universal conquest forward marching. There is not one thing to not like about the Michael Katsidises of this boxing world. There is a whole lot to worry about of the Michael Katsidises of this boxing beast world. Am I offering unsolicited idealistic advice? No, certainly not. There is nothing in Katsidis’ recent performances to suggest he is not a top level fighter. What man, what beast…

Follow us on Twitter@boxing_com to continue the discussion

Michael Katsidis vs Ricky Burns - Part 1 of 4

Michael Katsidis vs Ricky Burns - Part 2 of 4

Michael Katsidis vs Ricky Burns - Part 3 of 4

Michael Katsidis vs Ricky Burns - Part 4 of 4

HBO Boxing: Juan Manuel Marquez vs. Michael Katsidis Highlights (HBO)

Michael Katsidis vs Graham Earl, Round of the Year?

Bunce's Boxing Hour: Michael Katsidis Interview 1/2

Bunce's Boxing Hour: Michael Katsidis Interview 2/2

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  1. FrankinDallas 01:19pm, 04/13/2012

    I haven’t watched Katsidis in a while…I refuse to enable him, his team and his family in trying their best to damage this young man’s health. Too many tough fights, too much punishment. He is already most likely damaged goods. I will not watch his fight tonite, and that’s saying something as FNF is a tradition in my house.

  2. the thresher 10:24am, 04/11/2012

    The Kat is a Gatti after Gatti.

    Even looks a tad like him.

  3. mike schmidt 10:11am, 04/11/2012

    To Mike C. and Thresh—both of you of course right on the target. You have to love the young man’s fighting spirit—tough to self examine when you lay it all out on the line like he does

  4. the thresher 07:32am, 04/11/2012

    Along with Vivian Harris, Joel Casamayor, Jones, Toney, Enzo, SSM, and Margarito,

  5. the thresher 07:29am, 04/11/2012

    If he loses this one, he needs to retire.

  6. mikecasey 06:32am, 04/11/2012

    That Earl fight was incredible, Schmidty, but then I’ve never known Michael to be boring. I don’t think he even knows what that means. I just hope the kid walks away with his marbles intact at the end of it all.

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