Everyone laughed when former heavyweight world champion “Big” George Foreman made his comeback after being off for 10 years at age 37. He didn’t get a title fight until 4 years later losing to Evander Holyfield. Two years later another shot at title losing to Tommy Morrison. The following year after 7 years in comeback he defeats Michael Moorer for title at age 44. Foreman was an Olympic Gold medal winner in 1968.
Former world light heavyweight champion Henry Maske of Germany came back after retiring in 1996 losing his IBF title to Virgil Hill in Munich Germany by split decision.
It was the first loss for Maske after 30 wins and an Olympic Gold Medal in 1988. In 2007 at the same venue in Germany Maske defeated the then former WBA/IBF champion Hill and retired.
This Saturday at the Royale Nightclub, in Boston, Massachusetts, former 2000 National Golden Gloves champion Steve “The Gentle Giant” Vukosa, 8-0 (4), out of Quincy, Mass., fights against former 2004 Olympian Jason “Big Six” Estrada, 20-4 (6), of Providence, RI, over 8 rounds for the vacant USA New England heavyweight title.
Promoter and trainer of Estrada, his father Dr. Roland Estrada said “Jason is coming back after major knee surgery and an 18 month lay-off but has been training very hard and is back in great shape. Steve has been off for awhile but his southpaw and awkward style present a hurdle we will have to overcome. Many heavyweights in New England know Steve and have refused to fight him. Jason has the same problem so it seemed like a natural. We expect a great fight and are not taking Steve lightly”. Vukosa was to have fought in June but opponent fell out.
Vukosa moved from Boston to North Hollywood, CA, in 2001 under Freddie Roach for 2 years and was managed by Sam Simon the creator of the “Simpson’s” who managed of former WBO champion Lamon Brewster. “I was with Freddie (Roach) in Macau this week-end and his face lit up when I mentioned the guy (Vukosa). He said he’s a really nice guy,” said Bruce Trampler (Top Rank matchmaker).
“I had a torn cartridge in my left knee and arthritis in my hands. My heart was in it but my body wasn’t. I moved back to Quincy in 2002. I hated the way my career ended. I have a good job and don’t need the money. I never had the chance to meet someone known like Jason who I knew from the amateurs (Estrada 2001-2003 US Champion). I’m in good shape and should come in about 217 (he was 235 in his last fight). I’m looking to have 1 or 2 fights,” said Vukosa. Questioned about going 8 rounds for the first time he said it didn’t matter whether it was 8, 10 or 12. He is 6:05 to Estrada’s 6:01.
“Very funny guy, talented boxer…he was in camp with us in 2006, sparring with Clay-Bey. I was there when he beat Dominick Guinn in the amateurs,” said “Ice” John Scully. Vukosa was 65-5 as an amateur.
Vukosa trains at the Cyr Farrell Gym in Quincy under his amateur trainer Jimmy Farrell. He was 65-5 as an amateur under Farrell. His wife Shannon and he have a daughter Samantha 4½ and a son Tate 2½.
The question is can Vukosa duplicate what Foreman and Maske did after long lay-offs? Saturday night in Boston will tell when the “Gentle Giant” meets the “Big Six”!