|Leo "The Italian Lionheart" Loaicono Eyeing Return to the Boxing Ring
By Danny Serratelli, BrickCity Boxing (Aug 7, 2008) Doghouse Boxing
Leo Loiacono was a very popular heavyweight in the late 90's who knocked out 13 of his 16 victims and compiled a record of 16-4, 13 KO's. After packing the house consistently and knocking out most of his opponents for a few years, Leo's best shot at contention was a shot at top heavyweight Ray Mercer who was fresh off of a fight in which many people feel he was robbed against Lennox Lewis and a win over Tim Witherspoon.
Leo admits that he was not mature enough as a fighter at that time to seize the opportunity and he was stopped by Mercer. However, Mercer would later state that Leo was one of the hardest punchers he ever faced; putting Leo up there with guys like Tommy Morrison, Bert Cooper, despite the fact that Mercer had also fought Lennox Lewis, Evander Holyfield, and Wladamir Klitschko.
(Courtesy of, Benny Henderson Interview with Ray Mercer, Doghouseboxing.com.) Benny Henderson: You have fought some big punchers in your time and have taken some tremendous shots. Out of all the fighters you have faced which three would you say hit the hardest?
Ray Mercer: Bert Cooper by far, whooooo, could he hit, Tommy hit pretty hard as well, there was a fighter that I fought his name was Leo Loiacono (a big Italian white boy) he hit real hard as well.
Leo has been back in the gym training with top Brick City area trainers, Angel Conception and Danny Serratelli and has been feeling good in camp and getting his rhythm back in sparring. In the past Leo has been chief sparring partner for former heavyweight champ, Bruce Seldon and has worked with many top heavyweights including Evander Holyfield, Shannon Briggs, and Bobby Czyz.
Leo has stated, "I missed out on things for several years and the desire to get back in the ring has been like a fire inside of me. I have been in the gym all along, but started to really train for a comeback early this year. I feel I have progressed to a point the where I am much better than I was earlier in my career. I still have the power and the toughness, but I have matured as a fighter and now possess the ring intelligence and experience to compete with the best in the division, especially now. The division isn't as good as when I retired before."
"At 39 I can make 1 more run for it. People still beg to see me fight wherever I go. Often people ask for autographs and pictures mistaking me for the wrestler Batista." Leo recently appeared in a movie with Tony Danza called "The Nail" that was recently released into theaters. It is of course the story of a boxer, and Leo plays the main characters primary sparring partner.
"I have not been away from boxing all this time, because I have never been out of shape in my life." I tried out for "The Contender" when they were planning to do heavyweights a few years back and actually got to bang a little in the tryouts with Vinny Madalone, but unfortunately, they ended up deciding against doing the show with heavyweights. The way the division is now, I know I can give it one more run, have some fun and make some money to support my daughters. Despite what some of the haters may say, when Leo fights he always comes to fight 110%. As attested to by Ray Mercer, he punched as hard as anyone in the division 10 years ago, and Leo feels as if he is only stronger and smarter this time around.
He has a very solid team in place that he knows will provide him with the support he needs to succeed in a division he sees as wide open. Keep an eye out for Loaicono, as he has his comeback bout tentatively scheduled for September.
He has also picked up a very valuable friend, ally and sponsor in Gerard Dante who will be sponsoring with his top of the line health and fitness supplements the MHP brand.
Stay tuned for more to come!
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