Has Klassen thrown away advantage?

IBF JUNIOR lightweight king Malcolm Klassen has been thrown into the lion's den.

IBF JUNIOR lightweight king Malcolm Klassen has been thrown into the lion's den.

Some local fight fundis say the Toekomsrus warrior should not have agreed to defend against Robert Guerrero in his American backyard.

They point out that the promoter of the bout, former fight great Oscar de la Hoya, has far more to gain from a Guerrero victory because he is his fighter.

Klassen's first title defence is scheduled for the Toyota Centre in Houston, Texas, on Sunday morning.

The fight will be televised live on Home Box Office, America's biggest cable network. Klassen fights under Branco Milenkovic's Branco Sports Productions.

Dingaan Thobela is among those who voiced their concerns regarding the arrangement.

"He (Klassen) may suffer an away decision unless he stops Guerrero. Malcolm cannot rely on winning by points because Oscar is doing this fight in the best interest of Guerrero," reasoned the "Rose of Soweto", who lost the WBC super middleweight belt in Canada to that country's fighter Dave Hilton in 2000.

"By right I should have defended here but I was taken to Canada where I suffered an away decision. But maybe Branco agreed because they (Milenkovic, Klassen and trainer Nick Durandt) will get more money since the fight will be televised on pay-per-view."

But Jan "Kid Gavilan" Bergman, who is Klassen's homeboy, thought otherwise.

"This will bring the best out of Malcolm. Same talk was said when I went abroad to fight Kosta Tszyu and Zab Judah.

"I showed the world that South Africa has talent although I lost in those fights," Bergman said.

He was stopped in six rounds by Tszyu and four by Judah for the IBF junior welterweight belt in 1996 and 2000.

"Our fighters have to go away and fight the best in order to be the greatest. Sugarboy Malinga, Dingaan Thobela, Brian Mitchell, Welcome Ncita, Vuyani Bungu and Jacob Matlala did it away and that is why they are known all over the world."

Milenkovic said: "The world will be his oyster if he beats Guerrero."