Will Rush Hour re­deem him­self?

CityPress - - Sport - PULE MOKHINE pmokhine@city­press.co.za

Ali “Rush Hour” Funeka will be out to re­store his im­age when he chal­lenges Cana­dian Samuel Var­gas for the World Box­ing As­so­ci­a­tion-North Amer­i­can Box­ing As­so­ci­a­tion wel­ter­weight ti­tle at the Pow­er­ade Cen­tre in Bramp­ton, On­tario, on Satur­day.

The 39-year-old vet­eran fighter gets back into ac­tion eighth months af­ter suf­fer­ing an ig­no­min­ious sixth-round stop­page against Aus­tralian Jeff Horn for the World Box­ing Or­gan­i­sa­tion (WBO) in­ter­con­ti­nen­tal crown in New Zealand in De­cem­ber.

Horn sub­se­quently de­throned Manny “Pac­man” Pac­quiao by a unan­i­mous points de­ci­sion for the WBO ti­tle at the Sun­corp Sta­dium in Bris­bane, Aus­tralia, last month.

Rush Hour was com­pletely out­classed by Horn, who pum­melled him with two-fisted vol­leys from the open­ing round, be­fore a clash of heads com­bined with a body shot re­sulted in a flash knock­down and count from the ref­eree.

Now Funeka will get a chance to prove that he still has enough firepower to win a ti­tle, de­spite be­ing in the twi­light of his ca­reer.

Hav­ing pre­vi­ously held the WBO crown, Funeka wants to prove him­self by re­liev­ing Var­gas of the cham­pi­onship belt.

A look at the fight­ers’ cre­den­tials shows that they have sim­i­lar fight­ing styles. The big dif­fer­ence, how­ever, is their 11-year age gap (see graphic).

Var­gas has won 14 of his bouts by way of knock­out, while Rush Hour has forced 31 of his foes to fail to go the full dis­tance.

The pair share a sim­i­lar statis­tic of hav­ing suf­fered two of their losses by way of a knock­out.

But Funeka – the country’s sec­ond-old­est ac­tive pro­fes­sional fighter af­ter Mzonke “Rose of Khayelit­sha” Fana (43) – will prove the point that he is not as washed up as many crit­ics think he is. How­ever, de­feat could well spell the end of the road for his box­ing ca­reer.

The Cana­dian will be de­fend­ing the cham­pi­onship belt he won in 2015 for the third time.

With the fight­ers re­ly­ing mostly on knock­outs, it will be in­ter­est­ing to see how the clash goes, but Var­gas may stand a chance of be­ing vic­to­ri­ous con­sid­er­ing the fact that he will be slug­ging it out in front of his home crowd.

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