I heard a chuckle from someone during a presser to hype the Saturday (tonight) “McMayhem in Midtown” card at the MSG Theater when they asked 30-year-old Gary O'Sullivan if indeed he'd called out Gennady Golovkin, regarded to be the best middleweight on the planet, and on a short list in the “baddest man in boxing” list.
I didn't chuckle, not after talking to the 19-1 (12 KOs) hitter from Cork, Ireland. He explained to me that people from Cork are known to be rebels, in a good way, usually, and I nodded as I checked out the shamrock shaved onto his head. He shook his head no at the sliders and boneless buffalo tenders—grr, I ate a few–and instead focused on why he was in America, while telling me some history of Corkers using pitchforks to take it to foes in days past.
First off, to win his fight on Saturday. O'Sullivan, who everyone, I mean everyone, knows as “Spike, meets 28-12 Milton Nunez, a 27-year-old Colombian, on the card promoted by Lou Dibella, which will also feature bouts pitting the FDNY Bravest Boxing team versus the Garda Siochana Boxing team of the Irish National Police Force.
Also slated to compete are: former world title challenger Patrick “The Punisher” Hyland (29-1, 13 Kos; he fights 21-15 Manny Herrera) as well as super middle contender-turned-New York firefighter Will “Power” Rosinsky (17-2, 9 KOs; he fights 7-5-1 Paul Gonsalves). DiBella told me he's pumped to have helped put together such a varied show.
“The return of Will Rosinsky (last fought Dec. 2012, has been on probation period with FDNY) is a good thing and Spike is an up and coming Irish star,” DiBella said. “I think Hyland is one of the best feathers in world, he gave Javier Fortuna hell in 2012, and we will get him active again. He jumped at the chance to headline this show, a really, really fun show. He jumped at the opportunity. We're also excited to have the FDNY fighting the Irish team! But I want people to pay attention to Patrick, he should get a a title shot by the end of 2015. And also, we want to alert the Irish fans, and get them to Barclays Center April 11 to watch Andy Lee!”
O'Sullivan first wanted to make it known that his favorite thing in the world are his three kids, and fighting comes in second. A pro since 2008, O'Sullivan is managed and trained by Paschal Collins, and promoted by Murphys Boxing (Ken Casey of The Dropkick Murphys rock band, and Sean Sullivan).
“Yeah, I want Golovkin,” O'Sullivan told me. Stylistically, I'd like to fight him.”
He told me he'd wanted a crack at Matt Macklin for a number of years, and that didn't come off. But the man who beat Macklin, Jorge Heiland, who was in the lead to glove up with Golovkin in Triple G's next tangle, in May, but lost out to Willie Monroe Jr.
O'Sullivan had been under the Frank Warren umbrella and is pleased to be out from under, he implied. He told me more than holds his own with the man rated No. 1 by the WBO, BJ Saunders, who I do believe will be fighting at Barclays Center April 11. “We're friends now,” he told me, of the man who handed him his first loss, UD12, in July of 2013. It didn't help that his eardrum was busted in round two of that one.
I saw some tape of O'Sullivan, in which he had his hands by his side. He looked to be clowning; he explained that came about because his foe on that night, Anthony Fitzgerald, had talked trash about him, and begged for the bout. So he clowned the kid some. Oh, and bolstered his purse, to boot, betting on himself to score a KO1. “He disrespected me,” O'Sullivan told me. “So I did that in Dublin, in his back-yard.” Got to like that attitude, I think I'd like to see if it emerged against HBO's smiling assassin Golovkin…
“I bet a hundred quid. Got 5 Gs back! And he went the distance with Andy Lee,” who holds a title and fights April 11 in Brooklyn. He also went the distance with Hassan N'Dam, slated to fight for the vacated IBF 160 crown against David Lemieux.
Spike, sorry, got to go with the informal name usage, he was so gracious and chill, will fight at 165 at MSG. He will win, he said, and then maybe down a pint of Guiness, just one, with pals to give a nod to St. Patrick's Day.
“It's gonna be a kayo,” he predicted. “My power is there. I sparred with Martin Murray ahead of his fight with Golovkin, that gave me confidence I can beat Golovkin!”
We talked some more, about his kids. Three daughters, Jacinta (11), Katie (7) and Ashley (3). I'm thinking Katie might be the most like dad, as he reports she is “the toughest.”
Spike explained that he's been doing lots of home duty, now fighting full time, and not working with sheet metal. Thus, she has picked up some of his traits, he said. “She's a warrior, like her dad.”
Lastly, I had to ask, who does call him Gary?
“Nobody,” he said. A grandma, now passed, did. All Garys are Spikes around his neck of the woods, and there was a push to put “Spike” on his birth-card, but that was a no go. So, Gary it is. But he's Spike to the world, a world which might get a bit bigger if he keeps winning, and the busy-body Golovkin, who fights four times a year, needs someone to step up.
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