Battle-scarred fighter wants to go out with a bang, not a whimper

Bongani Magasela

The evergreen Mpush Makambi admitted yesterday that time is no longer on his side.

The battle-scarred 39-year-old warrior, a former Azanian People's Liberation Army (Apla) cadre, has come to grips with the fact that his legendary career is heading for a cul-de-sac.

But the never-say-die boxing stalwart intends giving his not so cordial international sojourn the last dance.

The left-handed former South African junior middle, middle, and IBO middleweight champion believes that winning the IBO intercontinental belt from Peter Mashamaite next month will swing things in his favour.

"It should help me cross bridges," said Makambi, who challenges Mashamaite for the super middleweight belt at Emperors Palace on February 3.

Makambi, who boasts a victory over Mashamaite, has no doubt he will repeat what he did to the Limpopo fighter on October 15 2004.

"There is no doubt about victory," he said before adding that Mashamaite's former trainer, Manny Fernandez, will mastermind his demise.

Mashamaite made his professional debut in 2002 under Fernandez.

He left him for Peter Chabalala in 2004 but he bolted from Chabalala's stable after failing to unseat Makambi as the national middleweight king.

Mashamaite teamed up with Nick Durandt, who has helped him to win seven of his eight fights.

Makambi, who is known as "Lion King", abdicated the South African middleweight throne he defended four times last year to pursue the international route.

But he was stopped in the ninth round by Peter Kariuki Ngateri for the WBA Pan African super middleweight belt in New Zealand last September.