The fight SA never got to see

2012-01-28 16:18

Brian Mitchell says he should have met Dingaan Thobela in the ring

The world is eagerly anticipating the clash between Floyd Mayweather and Manny Pacquiao.

The good news is that the super-fight between the best pound-for-pound fighters in the world is likely to take place in May.

Locally, South Africa’s version of Pacquiao vs Mayweather will remain the heartbreak of a shattered dream.

Why? Brian “Mince Machine” Mitchell has courageously taken responsibility for not stepping up to the plate by taking on Dingaan “The Rose of Soweto” Thobela.

“In hindsight I realise that I should have taken the fight, proving once and for all who was the best,” Mitchell says.

The local fight fraternity accused Mitchell of experiencing a chill down his spine at the thought of facing Thobela.

“Contrary to popular belief, my reason for not fighting Thobela was because he would not have made the junior lightweight division,” retorts Mitchell.

“In addition to that, I was concentrating on defending my title and would not fight Thobela in a meaningless 10-rounder.”

Thobelacountered: “Mitchell is aware that even though I fought as a lightweight, I was naturally a junior lightweight.

“I campaigned in the lightweight class because opportunities to fight for world title fights presented themselves.”

Thobela also pointed out that he destroyed the opportunity to face Mitchell and instead helped him in sparring when he (Mitchell) prepared for world title fights.

“I outboxed Mitchell in sparring and that made him realise that I would beat him,” argues Thobela.

Mitchell, who had an incredible work rate, thriving in exerting pressure on adversaries, dismisses his counterpart with contempt.

Mitchell initially won the World Boxing Association (WBA) junior lightweight crown.

He became the first local to retain a world title 12 times and subsequently seized the International Boxing Federation junior lightweight title.

Mitchell is South Africa’s only boxer who is an inductee into the Hall of Fame.

Thobela is the only one to win three credible world titles.

They are World Boxing Organisation (WBO), WBA lightweight and World Boxing Council super-middleweight crowns.

The fighter and his mentor Norman Hlabane were so frustrated that their target was avoiding him that they focused on facing fighters who faced Mitchell.

“I wanted to prove that I could beat Mitchell’s previous victims better than he did,” said Thobela.

They include Tony Lopez, Antonio Rivera, Felipe Orozco, Danilo Cabrera and Daniel Londas.

Of these men, only Lopez beat Thobela, in a WBA hostility, and the South African later avenged his defeat by dethroning the American.

Mitchell (50) and Thobela (45) have buried the hatchet and are now friends.

However, the question remains: who would have won the fight?

A remorseful Mitchell robbed boxing lovers of an answer.

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