23 September 2009 – By Cormac Campbell
Becoming World Champion and staying World Champion are two entirely different things.
After all, the hardships and sacrifices that are needed to bring a boxer to the pinnacle of his sport no longer seem necessary when financial security has been assured and the life long ambition has been realised.
Before his monumental 11th round stoppage of WBA super bantamweight champion Ricardo Cordoba in March, Bernard Dunne told irish-boxing.com that there was nothing bigger than the task that lay ahead of him. He was right. The battle that ensued was bloody and brutal perhaps sheer will to win was the only factor that allowed the Dubliner to emerge victorious.
Having enjoyed a summer of rest and recuperation, Dunne returns with an equally daunting assignment vs Thailands Poonsawat Kratingdaenggym.
For Dunne there is no easy first defence only a WBA mandatory assignment (Poonsawat is the WBA’s interim champion) and once again there are many who believe the Irishman will be defeated.
Perhaps Dunne and his team could be forgiven for going a different route. To drop the WBA title and take on an easier opponent for an equally healthy pay packet. But one gets the feeling that Dunne is not in the sport for longevity. He wants the big fights thick and fast. He wants to take chances and he wants to discover just how good he can be. In most walks of life this would be foolhardy, in boxing, quite often it is the mark of a champion.
Undoubtedly the sores incurred by that surprise KO defeat at the hands of Kiko Martinez two summers ago have left our boy with the unshakable belief that he has something to prove. Dunnes resolve following that upset has proved to be further evidence that modern boxings obsession with maintaining the 0 of a prospect is a disservice to the fighters and fans who long for evenly matched competition.
After a crushing defeat those who were more hype than substance will simply fall by the wayside. The likes of Dunne go away, only to re-emerge as more complete beasts.
Bernard Dunne has already proven that he can come back from adversity on Saturday night we will see if he can come back from privilege.
Tickets for Dunne v Kratingdaenggym are available from ticketmaster.ie.