‘Hitman’ fights on against the odds

2011-01-22 18:12

Multiple world champion Cassius “The Hitman” ­Baloyi is enmeshed in a suicidal escapade.

In significant battles the pencil-trim fighter has been virtually swept away with contemptuous ease.

Most have seemed ­almost like one-sided brawls.

Regardless of the writing on the wall, Baloyi (36) continues to self-destructively take on young, hungry fighters.

Why? He faces the Dominican Republic’s competitive Argenis Mendez at Carnival City on Saturday in an International Boxing Federation (IBF) junior lightweight ­title eliminator.

Baloyi’s four previous battles against distinguished foes indicate that he could be an earthquake waiting to happen.

Phillip Ndou, Isaac Hlatshwayo, Malcolm Klassen and Mzonke Fana oozed menace when tearing Baloyi to shreds.

Baloyi’s performances, particularly in his last fight against Fana, gave the impression that he is probably worn out and should take a permanent rest.

There are, however, almost no boxers who quit the ring at the right time.

Retirement is a word that stings fighters more than the snappiest of jabs, and this could explain why South Africa’s one-time polished boxer is still hanging around.

Branco “Baby” Milenkovic, Baloyi’s promoter, says the decision for boxers to retire is in the hands of the fighters, not the promoters.

“I agree; Baloyi took a pounding in his last fight against Fana. However, the man has bounced back before, beating veteran Manuel Medina for the IBF title.

Don’t prejudge – you will look stupid,” says Milenkovic.

Baloyi is a veteran of 37 wars, 31 victories, 19 knockouts, five defeats and one draw.

He has the distinction of being the only fighter in South Africa to win seven world titles.

The only credible crown he has won, however, is the IBF one: the rest are mediocre.

His 24-year-old foe, Mendez, lists 17 fights, 16 victories, seven knockouts and one defeat.

The foreigner has been engaging Baloyi in a series of psychological games,

He initially insisted on wearing Grant’s boxing gloves, snubbing the ones that were provided by Milenkovic.

Mendez went on to remonstrate, saying that he wanted neutral officials for the battle even though the IBF had already appointed officials from South Africa, Switzerland and the US.

He even gave the impression that he might pull out of the fight.

Then suddenly, on Monday, the foreigner arrived unexpectedly in South Africa.

It has to be seen whether these shenanigans will have any effect on Baloyi, who will get a crack at compatriot and old
rival Fana’s title should he win.

Is Baloyi’s career headed for an inglorious, blood-spattered finish?

It would be pathetic for South Africa’s great and only seven-times world champion to just fade away into the Limpopo sunset.

In another confrontation, unbeaten Nkosinathi Joyi defends the IBF mini-flyweight title against Japan’s Katsunari Takayama.

The Japanese fighter is so confident of victory, he will be accompanied by an entourage of nine people.

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