Peltz: Amir Mansour trumps age with big punch
In his last fight in April, heavyweight Amir Mansour, 42, lost a brutally contested unanimous 10-round decision to former RING cruiserweight champion Steve Cunningham, whom Mansour outweighed, 222.5-to-206.
“Amir is an exciting fighter who has just got to get himself back into mix,” said promoter J Russell Peltz of Mansour, who dropped the 38-year-old Cunningham in the fifth only to be later out-hustled and floored in the 10th.
“He doesn’t seem to be discouraged by the fact that he’s 42 and that he hasn’t fought since April. That’s just where he stands. We just have to get Amir back into the ring and then he’s just got to get his name back out there by blowing somebody out of the water.”
Mansour (20-1, 15 knockouts) will attempt to do just when he returns to action on Nov. 8 at the Sands Casino Resort in Bethlehem, Pa., where he will again face a much younger fighter in Fred Kassi (18-2, 10 KOs) as part of NBC Sports Network’s “Fight Night” program that is being promoted by Main Events.
Kassi, 35, will be ending a 15-month ring absence, having stopped Shannon Caudle in the third round of his last fight in August 2013.
“This guy, Kassi is a boxer who likes to move around a lot and who only takes good fights when he can make good money. That’s why he hasn’t fought in the last year,” said Peltz of Kassi, who won his last three bouts, two by knockout.
“We’ve offered Kassi a couple of lesser fights in the past eight to 10 months but he didn’t take any of them because they either didn’t pay enough money or didn’t have enough meaning. So he’s looking for a breakout fight and he’s probably looking at a 42-year-old guy like Amir and he figures that he can probably win the fight.”
Prior to facing Cunningham, Mansour had won four of his previous five fights by stoppage and was last in the ring for December’s seventh round stoppage of Kelvin Price.
“Heavyweights are fighting later and later into their lives and they always did, especially when you look at guys like [Vitali and Wladimir Klitschko] and even Cunningham. Cunningham and Amir are coming off of a potential ‘Fight of the Year’ candidate. Amir is the kind of guy who will fight anybody, anywhere at any time,” said Peltz.
“But that’s not reciprocal. People are not exactly standing in line to fight Amir. They would much rather fight a guy like Cunningham because he doesn’t have as big of a punch. I don’t want to say that Amir is in a desperate situation because he’s a positive person who has a good head on his shoulders.”
Mansour-Kassi is being televised on the same evening as the light heavyweight unification bout between IBF and WBA titleholder Bernard Hopkins and WBO counterpart Sergey Kovalev on HBO from Boardwalk Hall in Atlantic City.
“Amir made a comment to me that he doesn’t care that he’s fighting on the same night as Bernard Hopkins because he feels like they’ll want to watch him more than Hopkins. Amir is an exciting fighter and everybody wants to see the big puncher,” said Peltz.
“I wouldn’t argue with him there except that Hopkins is fighting Kovalev. And just remember: Amir is younger than the other headliner who is going up against him that night with Bernard Hopkins. In fact, he’s seven years younger.”
TONY THOMPSON-ODLANIER SOLIS REMATCH POSTPONED
Another heavyweight southpaw, Tony Thompson (39-5, 26 KOs) was informed on Monday that his scheduled Oct. 18 rematch with Odlanier Solis (20-2, 13 KOs) has been postponed until a tentative date of Nov. 22 due an ankle injury suffered by Solis in training.
A 2004 Cuban Olympic gold medalist, Solis lost by split decision to the 6-foot-5 Thompson in March. Thompson, 42, is attempting to rebound from a unanimous decision loss to Carlos Takam in June.
“I just found out today. I was going to go over there on Sunday. I’m very disappointed,” said Thompson, who is trained by Troy Fox, father of undefeated junior middleweight contender Alantez Fox.
“But it’s not like they’ve canceled it. They’re just moving it to next month. I wanted to go while I felt like I was feeling my best. Now I’m going to sit down for a while and chill out. Come next month, I’ll be ready.”