He had it all figured out. He was planning to take his time, serenade him to a knockout.
But it all went out of the window when he received the first punch to the head. Rapper Ricardo “Priddy Ugly" Moloi was planning to exhaust Refiloe “Cassper Nyovest” Phoolo and then go for the jugular.
But then he heard the crowd cheering for his opponent, all he heard was Mufasa! Mufasa! and he lost focus. Priddy Ugly says he might have succumbed to the pressure of having an audience watch him fight.
“I’m used to working out in an enclosed space,” he says.
“The pressure of wanting to impress people kicked in. There’s a whole crowd and me wanting to hit this guy and then the game plans go out the way."
When he fell, he thought he was going to quickly get up, shake the blow and take him on.
“It doesn’t matter how focused you are, if the brain experiences trauma, you feel dizzy,” he says.
“They told us even before going into the fight that if they feel one of us was in trouble or hurt, they will end the fight, and there won’t be a countdown.”
He lasted one round, a total of two minutes and a few seconds instead of the five rounds.
“Outside of it being fair, the better man won. Had I been fighting someone my size, I might have lasted longer or even had a chance,” he says.
“In my training sessions, I was sparring ten rounds, four minutes a round, and still standing.”
He got punched once and he threw the game plan out of the window.
“I never stuck to the game plan. I did not listen to what my coaches told me to do. I went in there with guns blazing, trying to cause as much damage as possible instead. Then when I got hit, I wanted to teach him a lesson.”
Priddy Ugly’s wife Bontle Modiselle-Moloi and his father were in attendance and supported him throughout the training.
“My father said from the beginning that it was bound to happen. Not that he was being negative, or he undermines me but because of the weight difference and experience. He came and saw me lose, but he said I am still a champ,” he says.
“My wife has been so supportive from the beginning; she listened to my coaches tell her that this fight should not be happening. My coach Vusi Mtolo, who is a legend, was in training with me and he knew it was a mixed match from the beginning. Bontle will be disappointed because of social media, but we are a solid family base, and we have a solid family structure. There is nothing that is going to affect us.”
Priddy Ugly is no stranger to martial arts and combat sports, in 2010 until 2013, he tried kickboxing.
“Boxing is cleaner, whereas with kickboxing I can kick you in the face, hit you with my elbow, and headbutt you. Boxing is a gentleman’s sport. He knocked me down. I am still here with no bruises, and it just shows how cleaner boxing is. Combat sports is a lot of training and very intense.”
Before the fight, Priddy Ugly says his coaches took him through every step and he had a strategy in place.
“My coaches told me to stay back. First round, just move around, do not worry about trying to hit him, he must hit us and let him get tired. But then when the fight started, all I heard was the crowd cheering Mufasa Mufasa and I just wanted to finish the fight and hurt him.”
But Priddy Ugly is not beating himself up about the loss. Instead, he is proud of even attempting.
“I feel proud of my team and the support that people gave. Shoutout to Cassper for putting this together. I don’t want to make excuses; I think he won hands down. He was a more experienced fighter, and a heavier fighter,” he says.
“I feel good for everything that happened leading up to the fight. I grew so much as a man, spiritually, and in my discipline. I saw changes in my body that I hadn’t seen in years. Coming out of Covid-19, I had umkhaba (a big belly), and getting back into the boxing ring was good.”
Priddy Ugly has been active for most of his life as a dancer, athlete, footballer, and kickboxer.
“I didn’t start because of the fight but I started training already,” he says.
But he is disappointed that the fight ended in the first round.
“I’m not disappointed that we lost, but it ended so early,” he says.
“It ended before I broke a sweat. I had been training six times a week, six times a day for two minutes and some seconds. It makes it not worth the time and effort we put in,” he adds.
Since he agreed to take Cassper on, he was convinced by many people to pull out, due to the weight difference which was a disadvantage for him.
“Even my coaches and my boxing teammates for the last three months were telling me that this fight doesn’t make sense because of the weight difference. If we consider real boxing, heavy weights fight other heavyweights and same as lightweights,” he says.
“I weighed in as 68 kg the day before the fight and he was [almost] at 90kg. So that is almost 30kg of a weight difference and when someone that heavy hits you in the head, it doesn’t matter how good you are, you will be dizzy,” he adds.
“Ultimately Cassper was more prepared in terms of experience, it’s his third time. I can’t say he trained more because I trained very hard also. Ultimately, he was the better fighter. As a result, when he landed blows on me, it did affect me,” he says.
“I am blessed that I am not hurt, unconscious, and not in hospital bleeding.”
The critics have already started sharing memes, gifs, jokes, and videos of the fight.
“I lost fair and square. We can remove weight; a loss is a loss. But it's also a lesson to go back in there, work harder and what’s beneficial for me is that I have had critics my whole life, so all was practice for this moment. I know when I switch my phone back on, there will be memes, jokes, and people replaying the knockout,” he says.
“For some people, it should be embarrassing but it isn’t for me, I lost. The biggest teams in the world have also lost. Mike Tyson was the biggest, baddest guy in his time and he lost. Mohammed Ali has had losses. For me being a first-time fighter on a big platform such as this is a lesson."
Priddy Ugly plans to continue boxing.
“My coach was encouraging me not to stop. He said, take it by the chin, go back to the drawing board and get me to fight people my size. He said it would be unfair to judge me against a more experienced fighter with his weight.”