Friday 24 January 2020

'Spike' hoping to upset superstar Munguia

A quarter of a century after he attended his first stadium fight in his native Cork, Gary ‘Spike’ O’Sullivan takes centre stage in early hours of tomorrow morning when he challenges unbeaten Mexican Jaime Munguia in the Alamodome in San Antonio, Texas. (stock photo)
A quarter of a century after he attended his first stadium fight in his native Cork, Gary ‘Spike’ O’Sullivan takes centre stage in early hours of tomorrow morning when he challenges unbeaten Mexican Jaime Munguia in the Alamodome in San Antonio, Texas. (stock photo)

Seán McGoldrick

A quarter of a century after he attended his first stadium fight in his native Cork, Gary 'Spike' O'Sullivan takes centre stage in early hours of tomorrow morning when he challenges unbeaten Mexican Jaime Munguia in the Alamodome in San Antonio, Texas.

O'Sullivan's father Denis brought Gary and two of his brothers to Páirc Uí Chaoimh in September 1995 to see Steve Collins retain his WBO super middleweight title against Chris Eubank.

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O'Sullivan, then aged 11, was probably the only Irish fan in the stadium shouting for Eubank. "I had watched all his fights on TV and was a huge fan."

His father and brothers had to intervene. "They came close to getting a hiding because of me," he recalls with a chuckle. The irony, of course, is that O'Sullivan ended up being coached by Collins' younger brother Paschal.

He will be in his corner in Texas when he faces another hostile reception as thousands of Mexican fans will be in the Alamodome to support their fellow countryman.

The odds are stacked against the 35-year-old Irish fighter who returns to fight as a middleweight for the first time since his devastating first round loss to David Lemieux in Las Vegas in September 2018.

After struggling in the light middleweight division in 2019, Munguia (23) is moving up to the 160lb division. His backers see the Irishman as the ideal opponent. They will not anticipate Spike posing any major threat to Munguia who is being touted as the next superstar in the middleweight division once the Canelo Alvarez era is over.

But if O'Sullivan could upset the odds it will put him in the frame to secure a World title fight against Alvarez, which financially would set up the Mahon pugilist up for life regardless of the result.

"I will have to knock him (Munguia) out to get the verdict and that's the reality. He is a Mexican and we saw that happened with Dennis Hogan," said Spike.

In April of last year Hogan matched Munguia for 12 rounds - but the Mexican still got the verdict on a majority 2-0 decision.

O'Sullivan's fight was upgraded to a clash for the WBO Inter-Continental title last night.

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