THE Samson Mahlangu story could easily have been a movie script.
A promising boxer who took the fight up a notch by enlisting as a freedom fighter, Mahlangu is today a confirmed armed robber who could spend an awfully long time in jail.
The Johannesburg high court was today expected to sentence Mahlangu and seven other accused who robbed a First National Bank depot of R46million.
Mahlangu, 42, who was on bail at the time he took part in the robbery, is already serving a five-year jail term for theft.
It was not the first time that he found himself on the wrong side of the law, having been convicted for being in possession of a firearm and ammunition.
These convictions, in 2001 and 2006, were long after the struggle had ended.
He and late heist kingpin Colin Chauke went into exile to Zambia but returned after training as MK cadres.
They used their skills to pull off some of the biggest heists in the country.
Veteran boxing administrator Stanley Sono, who was in charge of the amateur ranks more than a decade ago, said Mahlangu wasted his best years in the amateur ranks.
"He turned professional too late, otherwise he would have been something," Sono said.
Mahlangu, a southpaw, comes from a boxing family.
His elder brother Job Mahlangu was a professional fighter and later a trainer, and Isaac, the youngest of the Mahlangu boys in Winterveldt, kept the family name in the sweet science.
Mahlangu made his professional debut in May 1987, defeating Jan Horn on points over four rounds.
Shortly after that fight, the politics bug hit him and he left to join uMkhonto we Sizwe.
With a ring record of eight wins, nine losses, the court is set to add to the the seven knockouts he suffered as a pugilist.