By Anthony McClean, Editor In Chief Emeritus NEW HAVEN (BASN) —...
‘USS’ Cunningham, ‘Hardcore’ Mansour meet in a Philly WAR!
The night of Saturday, April 4, will change the careers of either Steve ‘USS’ Cunningham (26-6, 12 KOs) or Amir ‘Hardcore’ Mansour (20-0, 15 KOs). The two will collide in a highly anticipated bout in Cunningham’s hometown of Philadelphia, PA in a scheduled 10-round attraction at the Liacours Center on the campus of Temple University. The bout is the main event of an NBCSN Fight Night broadcast beginning at 10 pm ET/7 pm PT.
Cunningham, a former two-time IBF cruiserweight champion, is in desperate need of a signature victory as a heavyweight. In 2 ½ years, Cunningham has dropped four of his last six fights (2-4) that included losing the cruiserweight world title, and a pair of heavyweight title-eliminators. His rematch with Tomas Adamek ended in a disputed decision loss, and his fight with the mammoth Tyson Fury at Madison Square Garden ended in a knockout defeat.
“I’m not going to talk this to death,” Cunningham said. “I’m very focused and taking this seriously. “This time I’m fighting in my backyard and I want to give my fans a spectacular performance. It’s time to fight.”
Cunningham is going to need all of the momentum that he can muster because, his career as a top-tier level fighter is on the line. Cunningham, a veteran of eight world title fights that include wins over current WBO cruiserweight champion Marco Huck and current WBC cruiserweight champion Krzysztof Wlodarczyk, will be fighting to remain relevant in a crowded heavyweight class.
A loss to Mansour may fade away any dreams of Cunningham possibly fighting Wladimir Klitschko for the world heavyweight championship.
Mansour, a hard-hitting southpaw from Wilmington, DE, is fighting hard to make up lost time. Mansour lost nine years of his professional career having served time in the Schuylkill Federal Correctional Institution in Minersville, PA for drug possession. Mansour, who holds key wins against Maurice Harris and Kelvin Price, needs a significant victory that will have people talking about him.
“I’m looking forward to this fight more than any other fight in the past,” Mansour said. “I’m gonna train for Steve as if my life depends on the win. I greatly respect Steve, but on April 4th I’m gonna speak to the boxing world, using my hands. I will not be denied.”
Although Cunningham is 6’ 3,” Mansour, at 6’ 1,” is expected to have a 20-pound weight advantage. Mansour has knocked out 12 of his last 14 opponents, but Cunningham is the very best that Mansour has fought in his career that dates back to 1997. Mansour was inactive from 2001-2010 and he hasn’t skipped a beat.
At 6’1″ and with an expected 20 pound weight advantage, Mansour will not be intimidated by Cunningham’s 6’3″ stature. But with a lighter weight comes quickness and boxing fans are wondering how Mansour will be able to handle Cunningham’s speed and agility.
Main Events CEO Kathy Duva said: “I’m really looking forward to this fight. It has everything we want on this series -heavyweights in an evenly matched crossroads bout at a great venue in a location that really adds something to the match. You can’t ask for more!”
Co-promoter, J Russell Peltz added: “This is not an appearance fight. Instead, this is one of the most intriguing heavyweight fights in recent years. I’m talking about Adamek-Arreola and a slew of heavyweight fights on NBC such as Jennings-Liakhovich, Adamek-Cunningham and the upcoming Adamek-Glazkov match. This one fits right in. Cunningham has to win this fight to remain viable in the heavyweight division. Mansour needs to win to prove to people that despite beating the second tier of heavyweights en route to his 20-0 record he is capable of taking the next step.”
Tickets will be on sale soon for this event.
Photo Credit: Larry Levanti/ Main Events for Cunningham, Rich Graessle/Main Events for Mansour