Michael Katsidis brought over as Tommy Coyle cannon fodder

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The announcement was made yesterday that Michael Katsidis, the ex-WBO lightweight champion, would return to these shores to face Hull’s Tommy Coyle on October 25.

Coyle’s IBF international lightweight title will be on the line as the Australian, now severely deteriorated at the age of 34, attempts to re-climb the rankings and re-live former world title glories.

But what looks like a strong opponent on paper could be an accident waiting to happen.

Katsidis comeback

On his last visit to these shores, it was evident ‘The Great’ was already in decline. A majority decision loss to Ricky Burns followed defeats to Robert Guerrero and Juan Manuel Marquez in the USA, confirming the Aussie was no longer an elite level fighter.

Katsidis stumbled on, outpointing another overmatched opponent but didn’t appear again for another two years.

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After an extended hiatus outside the ring he came back in March this year, stopping a journeyman opponent, before renewing rivalries with another Brit well past his best, Graham Earl.

In a predictably dull affair, the ex-world champion comfortably outpointed his British foe, who was returning for apparent financial reasons after five years out of the ring. It was nowhere near as exciting as their 2007 fight, when Earl retired after five rounds, but confirmed that Katsidis fully intended to come back for good.

Brain scarring hampers return

His two year break from the squared circle was triggered by a brain injury. A scheduled bout was cancelled on medical advice after a CAT scan showed irregularities and just a week later, it was confirmed Katsidis had scarring on the brain.

After digesting the information, Katsidis decided to retire; although the scarring would not lead to lasting injuries, continuing to box would harm the recovery and deepen his chances of long-term damage.

But little over a year after an emotional retirement decision, he was back. Only he will know whether his body is up to the task or it’s purely for monetary purposes, but there seems to be a disregard for his previous brain injuries. Without being a specialist, surely being struck on the head a multitude of times can only make a precarious situation worse?

Does Coyle gain anything?

Clearly Matchroom supremo Eddie Hearn has targeted Katsidis as a ‘scalp’ for Coyle, but does a win really represent a significant achievement?

A victory would secure another win on the ledger against an ex-world champion. Casual fans see this as a huge win, even an upset in some quarters, further raising the profile of Hull’s up-and-coming fighter.

In reality, many will disregard the Australian’s condition, age and lack of rounds over the last three years. Katsidis should be destroyed by any half-decent opponent – and Hearn knows this.

Worse still, the 36-fight veteran could stun Coyle in his own back yard. Katsidis was known for punching power and although he survived a war against Daniel Brizuela in February, the 24-year-old suffered a one-punch knockout against Derry Matthews.

‘Nothing ventured, nothing gained’ is a true statement, but Coyle’s camp are not venturing and won’t gain anything, no matter the result. Those in boxing should encourage legends and has-beens to retire, not offer them business to carry on.

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