Photos by Sumio Yamada
VICTOR FONSECA vs AL SEEGER
Former world title challenger Al Seeger, whose last fight ended in tragedy, returns to the ring in the ShoBox co-feature against Puerto Rican Victor Fonseca on Friday.
In Seegers last fight, his opponent, Benjamin Flores, died from a brain injury five days after being stopped in the eighth round by Seeger in their NABF super bantam title bout in Dallas last April. Seeger defends the 122-pound title on Friday.
I feel absolutely horrible, Seeger told the Savannah Morning Post after Floress death had been announced. Its really taken all the juice out of boxing for me.
Seeger is aware that what occurred was one of those terrible accidents that happen in boxing from time to time, and, like other fighters who have been involved in ring tragedies, he is fighting on.
It seems that Seeger had been boxing the best he has done for some time when he fought Flores, but although he was dominating the fight this was apparently not a case of the losing boxer being excessively punished. Referee Laurence Cole intervened with Flores on the ropes and Seeger throwing a series of punches. It was the sort of finish one sees all the time in boxing, but, instead of recovering quickly, Flores collapsed.
Seeger, 29, now has to put this behind him as best he can and focus on his career. He has a difficult fight in Fridays scheduled 10-rounder because Fonseca is an unbeaten southpaw who will be eager to make a big impression in his U.S. TV debut.
Fonseca outpointed Venezuelan Olympic representative Alexander Espinoza in his last fight. He holds a third-round knockout win over former world title challenger Reynaldo Lopez and he easily outpointed Mauricio Pastrana, a former 105-pound champ, but these were fights that Fonseca was expected to win against veterans whose careers were in decline. Fonsecas best win was his unanimous decision over Jose Nieves, a fellow-Puerto Rican southpaw who was unbeaten at the time, in March 2008. It sounded like a rousing contest, with Fonseca getting off the canvas to floor his opponent three times.
It is clear that Fonseca knows how to fight. So does Seeger, but I think everyone is wondering how the tragedy will affect Seegers performance on Friday. No one can be really sure until the fight starts.
If I or any fighter said something like that doesn't play on your mind, or doesnt take a toll on you, itd be a lie, Seeger said this week in quotes released by Showtime.
I have not said a prayer since that fight that doesnt include me praying for the entire Flores family. I will always pray for them, just like I pray for my family.
"I cant say if it will make me less a fighter, although I dont think it will, but what I do know, for sure, is that it has made me a better man.
Seeger has speed and skill, and he is a sharp hitter. His first-round knockout defeat against Yuriorkis Gamboa was something that could have happened to anyone ask Amir Khan or Jorge Linares.
Under normal circumstances I would have made Fonseca only a slight favourite. Seeger has greater experience against a higher standard of opponent than Fonseca has faced. However, there is obviously doubt over how well Seeger will perform in his first fight since Floress passing. Fonseca seems to be talented and ambitious, and he looks like a fighter who is on his way to bigger things the WBC, WBA and IBF all have him rated in their super bantam top 10 rankings. Im expecting a Foneseca win, most likely on points.