Katsidis The Fighter…

Michael-Katsidis-Joel-Casamayor

 

 

 

 

The most nervous I’ve felt before watching a professional prize fight were the moments before Michael Katsidis challenged Joel Casamayor for the Ring Magazine lightweight belt in March 2008.

I remember sitting in my boss’s living room above the reception of the seedy hotel we managed in Katherine, a ghetto on the edge of the desert in the Northern Territory. We locked the office door and let business go to hell as Katsidis and Casamayor faced off. I was guzzling beer, my hands were shaking and my head was spinning. It was 10.30am.

The chaotic nature of the fight and the shocking turn of events in Round 10, when Katsidis cracked under pressure, lost his mind and got TKO’d while leading, sent me on a day long bender spilling out over the side to anyone who’d listen.

For the next few years I followed MK’s career, at times obsessively (I flew to Houston for the Juan Diaz fight) and sometimes affably (I skipped the Lozado fight).

It’s in the affable sense I regard his appointment with Tommy Coyle this weekend. Katsidis has fallen from grace in and out of the ring. If his war with Juan Manuel Marquez was a monument to his dedication to the sport, and a tribute to his lost brother, getting busted for burglary in September past indicates the fall-out of his fearless brawling style. A brief union with the legendary Johnny Lewis ultimately came to nothing. His life-long friend and trainer Brendan Smith cut him loose after the burglary bust. What’s left is a career on the UK circuit. Not a bad fall-back.

An online definition of ‘watershed’ comes up with ‘an event or period marking a turning point in a situation’. MK’s life seems an endless series of watersheds played out publicly and privately.

The Sydney Olympian spent six months in a maximum security prison long before fight fans saw the first fight with Graham Earl. He fought for free as the chief support on the Mundine-Kessler card. His criminal record delayed his American debut, but his incredible war with Graham Earl in 2007 accelerated his career with help from Youtube.

The brutal war with Czar Amonsot was another watershed moment, as was the brain-snap against Casamayor, the brutal pummelling of Kevin Mitchell, the drug death of his brother, the decision to fight Juan Manuel Marquez in his brother’s memory, the critical instant when he had Marquez down and dazed but (like with Casamayor) couldn’t finish the job. An outwardly sensitive man, one imagines the seedy nature of Stathi’s death took a toll on MK. How could it not?

So Katsidis returns this weekend against the Englishman Tommy Coyle. Eddie Hearn is putting the show on. A recent interview suggested this is the first of a 4-fight deal with Matchroom.

It’s probably the best move Katsidis can make. He’s washed up (for now) in the States. And after the burglary bust in September, it’s all gone to crap (again) in Australia.

Time is just about up in this caper for Michael Alan Katsidis. It’s last drinks – after-hours with bar staff – at the Last Chance Saloon. This is really it.

He should beat Coyle. He really effin should. Tommy Coyle has decent boxing smarts and a lot of courage. In February he picked himself up four times to stop the light-punching Argentine nobody Daniel Brizuela in the 12th of a wild fight. He was knocked out late by Derry Mathews, a blood’ n guts fighter not unlike Katsidis.

Their sham-like natures aside, MK’s comeback fights this year revealed a new wrinkle on the landscape. He employed an in and out style indicative of a new ring mindset. It was different to the born-to-brawl attitude of years past, and worked a treat against Eddy Comaro and Graham Earl – two guys with no business in professional prize-fighting.

Katsidis-Earl II was unwatchable. The footage took months to appear online for download. Whether or not the new style has any currency with boxing fans, judges or MK himself is one of the factors making the Coyle fight interesting. The more defensively responsible style is almost certainly a by-product of the CT scan which wrongly diagnosed scarring on the brain. At 34, a physically exhausting stylistic makeover is a brave move. It might come and go as quickly as retirement gave way to comeback.

Prime MK would destroy Tommy Coyle in a few short rounds. However Katsidis hasn’t won a significant fight since 2010. He seems driven equal parts by desperation and delusion (it reads 3X World Champ on his Twitter profile). One senses a grim fatalism about him, be it his fearless style, his Greek warrior persona, and all the grandeur and waste it implies.

Upon retiring, Katsidis was lauded as the toughest Australian fighter of his generation. He is one hard man, and the chip on his shoulder is as large as ever. It's hard not to imagine drama and emotion when he steps into the ring one more time in Hull this Saturday night.

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Comment on this article

COMMENTS

-Kid Blast :

Danger lurks for The Greta every time he fights. The worse thing that can happen is that he beats Tommy Coyle today.Like Jermaine Taylor, the worst thing that could happen is that Michael wins and then fights someone who is higher tier? the underlying danger being that if Katsidis (or Taylor) wins in a convincing manner, he will continue to fight-on. But if he could not floor a totally shot Graham Earl, how will he do against a warrior who is Michael?s mirror image in his prime?


-Kid Blast :

Nice story by the way


-Kid Blast :

Coyle is a heavy load who can duke.


-Skibbz :

He got flattened. I hate to say it but if you were privy and watched him spar Paul Butler then you would see he's a mere shadow of his former self. Great timing and accuracy by coyle, katsidis had no chance of making a recovery. Fair stoppage and great fight whilst it lasted.


-Kid Blast :

In a way, Tommy is the new Katsidis.


-The Commish :

He got flattened. I hate to say it but if you were privy and watched him spar Paul Butler then you would see he's a mere shadow of his former self. Great timing and accuracy by coyle, katsidis had no chance of making a recovery. Fair stoppage and great fight whilst it lasted.
I hear MK had Coyle against the ropes, dropped his right and got caught with a powerful left hook to the chin. He dropped onto his back and made it to his feet at the count of six. But he was unsteady, and the referee stopped the fight. For Coyle, the win was his 20th in 22 fights, along with his 9th knockout. For Katsidis, the loss was his sixth in 36 outings, but it just may be the one which forces him to hang up the gloves for good. His reflexes are slow and dull, and his ability to take a solid punch is not there. There is no point in continuing as an active fighter any longer. In the main event on the card, which took place in the Hull Arena in Yorkshire, the U.K., Gavid McDonnell won the vacant WBO International Super Bantamweight Title with a 12-round unanimous decision over Vusi Malinga. For McDonnell, the victory upped his record to 12-0-2 (4), while Malinga dropped to 21-6-1 with 12 stoppages. -Randy G.


-brownsugar :

Danger lurks for The Greta every time he fights. The worse thing that can happen is that he beats Tommy Coyle today.Like Jermaine Taylor, the worst thing that could happen is that Michael wins and then fights someone who is higher tier– the underlying danger being that if Katsidis (or Taylor) wins in a convincing manner, he will continue to fight-on. But if he could not floor a totally shot Graham Earl, how will he do against a warrior who is Michael’s mirror image in his prime?
Agreed, the loss was more beneficial to Mk's career than a win. MK is all used up like you said. Hopefully some sanity and a new plan for life will find MK before its too late.


-stormcentre :

Katsidis, bless his soul, has, for a while now, seen better times a top level prizefighter. You can't learn defence that can be implemented at the top level of the boxing game when you're in the twilight of your career and never given it much thought to start with. Still, it was fun whilst it lasted. His best moment was - in my opinion - when he dropped Marquez.


-The Commish :

Katsidis, bless his soul, has, for a while now, seen better times a top level prizefighter. You can't learn defence that can be implemented at the top level of the boxing game when you're in the twilight of your career and never given it much thought to start with. Still, it was fun whilst it lasted. His best moment was - in my opinion - when he dropped Marquez.
Thanks for that vid, storm. Yeh, MK is trying to learn things now when he is far past his prime. As Gerry Cooney says time and again on the show, "It's just awful to see so many of these guys fighting way too long, with nobody there to tell them to stop." For his own good, I am sure we all wish MK would call it a career. -Randy G.