Three years is a long time to be out of the combat sports game.
When kickboxing superstar Remy Bonjasky, who is set to face Tyrone Spong in the GLORY 5: "London" main event tomorrow (March 23, 2013) at ExCel Arena, London, England, retired at the end of 2009 because of an eye injury, he was 15-2 in his previous 17 fights. During that savage span he won his third K-1 World Grand Prix in 2008, beating the likes of Badr Hari, Melvin Manhoef, Gokhan Saki, Alistair Overeem and Errol Zimmerman, among others.
While he -- like the rest of the field -- could not stand up to the awesome power of the "Hightower," Semmy Schilt, he was indisputably one of the elite despite being in his mid-30s.
Fast-forward to Oct. 2012.
Bonjasky returned to action as part of the nascent GLORY promotion, taking on Anderson "Braddock" Silva in Brussels, Belgium. Silva, best known for giving Hari one hell of a scrap in the latter's own comeback, is noted for being durable and scrappy if not truly elite.
Bonjasky squeaked past him by the skin of his teeth.
In the promotion's year-end 16-man tournament, Germany's Filip Verlinden likewise gave the legendary Dutchman everything he can handle, falling by the narrowest of margins. Bonjansky had no such luck against Moroccan giant Jamal Ben Saddik, dropping a clear decision. Now he's facing a man 10 years his junior, a nearly unmatched technician coming into his prime and packing some real heat in his punches.
It's not going to end well.
For lack of a better word, the 37-year-old Bonjasky just looks old. His boxing -- historically the weakest part of his game -- shows no sign of improvement and his legendary kicks, which once shattered Gokhan Saki's ribs and put Manhoef and Vernon White to sleep, seem feeble by comparison.
Plus, as incredibly in-shape as he always looks, I'm not sold on his cardio.
If this fight happened three years ago, I'd be incredibly intrigued -- Spong's technical brilliance matched with Bonjasky's kicking prowess and flying onslaught would make for one hell of a scrap. But now, I can't see any outcome that isn't Spong chewing up Bonjansky.
The only question is whether the "Flying Gentleman" hears the final bell.
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