Marali, Nzimande turn back hands of time

Bongani Magasela

Bongani Magasela

The shootout between Zolani Marali and Godfrey Nzimande on Tuesday night brings back memories of an electrifying battle between Arthur Mayisela and Brian Baronet, which took place at Sun City in November 1985.

Having defeated the best local junior welterweight campaigners, the conviction was that Baronet, who was pure poetry in motion, had run out of opposition.

He paved his way towards fighting for the WBA belt by winning the elimination fight against Juan Rondon on March 30 1985. That was Baronet's 28th victory, 17 of them short route stoppages, against a single defeat from a career that began on April 14 1980.

Plans were at an advanced stage for Baronet to fight for the WBA title.

On the other hand, an unknown Mayisela had emerged. "The Fighting Prince" from Meadowlands was an average fighter whose achievements were forged through hard work, hunger and determination.

He first defeated Nkosana "Happyboy" Mgxaji in a rematch for the national belt on February 25 1984, and later raised eyebrows by demanding a crack at Baronet to prove who was the best.

At first the idea seemed far-fetched, considering Baronet's successes, but after mounting pressure, it finally happened.

Psyched up for bloodshed by veteran mentor Richard Letsatsi, Mayisela destroyed Baronet over nine rounds and in the process ended Baronet's part-time modelling job.

Sadly, they both died without reaching their full potential.

Now Marali's promising career is being steered in the international direction. But the left-handed Eastern Cape WBF junior lightweight champion must first get past Nzimande, who intends to put paid to those plans.

The challenger from Limpopo, who holds the national belt, is guided by Paul Chabalala. The right-hander is a big-swinging slugger.

Marali's only defeat, against 18 wins, was against Thomas Mashaba (TKO 9) in 2004. Nzimande's only blemish in 19 wins was a second round TKO to Willie Mabasa in 2003.

They have both re-established themselves since those defeats.

Their showdown will take place at Emperors Palace. It will top Golden Gloves' "Lords of the Ring" six-bout card that will be bankrolled by Gree Air Conditioners.