Michael "The Real Life Russell Crowe" Katsidis
By Dimitrios Verteouris (March 26, 2008) Doghouse Boxing (Photo © German Villasenor)  
He has been known variously as "The Great" and “Rocky” for his whole career. But after Saturday night’s performance, Michael Katsidis should now don the name, "The Gladiator.”

For 10 rounds on Saturday night Katsidis, of Australia, did nothing else but push forward to fight and try to break Joel Casamyor down. At times it seemed as if it was working, even after being dropped two times in the opening round. Katsidis was able to bring the fight back to his comfort zone and was leading
on the scorecards as well. It seemed inevitable that he was going to eventually wear down and stop Casamayor in the middle to late rounds.

The 6th round was a preview of what many people thought was going to happen. With a nice body shot to the ribcage of Casamayor followed by a right hand, El Cepillo went flying down and through the ropes and onto the ring apron. Rules state you have 20 seconds to get back into the ring if you have fallen off the apron and completely off the ring. If you are through the ropes and on the apron you have 10 seconds to get back into the ring . As El Cepillo was trying to get back up I noticed someone part of the commission ‘assist’ Casamayor back into the ring. Another rule is in the event of such a thing happening NO ONE is allowed to assist the fighter in anyway shape or form back on his feet. In this case nothing was said and Joel was able to make it back in and survive. Maybe it didn't seem like a big deal then, but look now two days later and see what the outcome is. Katsidis goes back to Australia, beltless, defeated, and who knows where his credibility in the elite class of 135 division now stands.
One thing that is for sure is his stock has risen. The TV audience as well as live audience loved what Katsidis brought to the ring. He is a Greek Gladiator when he enters the ring, he a is a Greek Gladiator when he leaves the ring. From start to finish Katsidis gives you 1,000% of effort to please the fans. Not caring what shots he might get hit with, Mike comes to fight for all 12 rounds. He isn’t the most skilled boxer we have seen, but his craft isn’t in boxing circles around you; his craft is to make you see stars.

The nonstop pressure he applies is sure to make many opponents fold in a fight. Although he is flawed in many ways, Katsidis seems to have the love of many fans. Of course, he must be able to excite us and in addition actually win his fights from now on, but judging from his performance Saturday night many people will wonder, does he belong in the elite class at 135, or is he just a glorified club fighter who was built upon the excitement and action packed fights in Australia? One thing is for sure, his stock may have risen to the casual fans that want to see action packed rounds knockouts and blood, but to the promoters who invest their money in these prizefighters his stock may have dropped. Losing to a 36 year old past his prime Casamayor was not something that anyone really planned on seeing. He was supposed to KO the Cuban great and set himself up for a big fight down the road. It’s a huge step back for Katsidis, but boxing fans really would love to see this kid fight again. After all, you know your not going to get a boring fight no matter whom he fights. He is worthy of at least one more shot on HBO to redeem himself. If HBO wont take him back just yet, I wouldn't mind seeing him on Showtime or ESPN. Some advice to the networks, Katsidis is the type of fighter you want as a co-feature to a good main event on a sub par undercard.

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