Klassen puts boxing gloves back on again
There is a race that must still be run and victories still to be won, so quitting is not an option.
This is what Malcolm "The Stone" Klassen - former three times world boxing junior lightweight champion - said about his future in the fistic sport which he has served with distinction for 19 years.
Klassen is the only remaining coloured boxer from Toekomsrus which is known for producing dogs of war including SA lightweight champion Aladin "Mean Machine" Stevens and SA junior welterweight and WBU welterweight champion Jan "Kid Gavilan" Bergman.
The former South African featherweight title - who went on to become the IBF, WBF and IBO junior lightweight titleholder - told Sunday World two days after being stopped by Azinga "Golden Boy" Fuzile in a bout that was staged by promoter Thembalethu "Terries" Ntuthu in East London in October that he was done with boxing. "When names of South African boxing legends are mentioned, mine will also be there," he said with pride.
But Klassen - who ended the illustrious career of the country's only six times two weight division world champion Cassius "Shy Guy" Baloyi in 2012 - told a different story altogether this week.
"I am not quitting; instead I will move up to the lightweight division," he said. "There are titles still to be won at lightweight. I have been a junior lightweight fighter for a long time. That took a toll on me. I might be short but am big.
"People can say what they like and I don't care."
He said it was natural for boxers to outgrow their natural weight divisions .
"Dingaan Thobela started as a junior lightweight; went on to fight at junior welterweights and ended up winning the WBC title in the super middleweight division. Some may say at 37 what am I still doing in boxing but my response is Bra Jake Matlala went on to become the greatest when he was well over 37 years," said Klassen who looks a million dollars on a good night.
But what Klassen - who has over 40 fights - did against 10-fight Fuzile is unforgivable. He held up his hands and quit 51 seconds into the fourth round.
"I will get my spark back," he said. "I spoke to my trainer Bernie Pailman and he agreed that I still have fire in me. And also I still look the same way I was 15 years back. I do not know the pain of being knocked clean cold. Yes I have two stoppages on my record. Watch the space."