His nickname is Mighty Mouse, which is a pretty nifty name for a guy who packs a punch and comes from Marysville, Ohio.
It’s a good nickname to have because just about everybody over the age of 20 knows who Mighty Mouse is.
They just don’t know who Eric Aiken is.
Not yet, anyway.
Why they don’t know him outside Marysville is easy to understand. He‘s like the second-string quarterback who comes from out of nowhere and throws the game-winning touchdown pass with five seconds left on the clock.
Maybe Aiken didn’t actually come from out of nowhere, but he knows the neighborhood. In the short span of six weeks, he won two big fights and a world title.
Rocky would have been proud.
Before Aiken’s resurrection, his career took him to some of boxing’s glamour spots, places like Tacoma, Columbus, Wheeling and the Murray Skating Rink in Yonkers, N.Y.
Last October, he lost a six-round, split decision to a guy who was 6-5-0. This past March, he lost to Johnnie Edwards – who was 5-) – in another six-rounder.
You don’t get too many world title shots when you’re still fighting six-rounders.
Before this past April, he’d lost three of his last six fights.
Mighty Mouse? How about Mickey Mouse.
But then something strange happened this spring. Aiken stopped featherweight contender Tim Austin in six rounds in Cleveland in April. Then he beat Valdemir Pereira on May 13 in Boston for the IBF featherweight title, winning in the eighth round when Pereira was disqualified for low blows.
Mighty Mouse was suddenly champion of the world.
So now he gets to be on TV and he gets a champion’s share of the purse, and if he defends his title and beats California’s Robert “The Ghost” Guerrero (18-1-1, 11 KOs) on Saturday night at the STAPLES Center in Los Angeles (SHOWTIME), he’ll be a pretty popular guy back in Marysville.
But I’m guessing they’ve already thrown him a parade down Main Street.
Asked on a recent conference call if he still has to pinch himself about suddenly being a world champion, Aiken (16-4, 12 KOs) said it’s still sinking in.
“It’s been a long time coming,” he said. “But sometimes I still just feel like a regular human being, which I am. You know, I am still humble, but I realize that every now and then, I am champion of the world and it’s surreal sometimes.”
He should cherish every moment he holds his title. Guerrero, a southpaw, has done pretty well himself in the fight game. He’s also a bigger name than Aiken, despite holding the NABF featherweight championship, a lesser title.
On top of everything else, both fighters are very religious, which means God might be a little hesitant to choose a corner.
“Eric Allen is a strong fighter who comes to fight,” Guerrero said. “But as he said, he has the Lord behind him. When you have the Lord behind you, most of the time you are unstoppable. When you have another guy that is backed by the Lord too, it’s just the two of you in there fighting.”
That’s way it should be.
The Ghost and Mighty Mouse.