IT was far removed from the epic war they endured seven years earlier.
But as many expected, Australia’s Michael Katsidis was the bigger, stronger and clearly fresher man overnight, easily outpointing the fleshy remains of former English and Commonwealth champion Graham Earl in a twelve round rematch from Rumours International in Toowoomba.
Katsidis and Earl gave each other all they could handle in 2007 at the infamous Wembley Arena in a fight that was globally renowned as one of the best from that year. However, on a hot Queensland night, they met again in a fight that garnered a lot less hype and a tonne of controversy.
Simply put, regardless of how it was sold, this was in no way an in-demand rematch, if anything, it was a clear step back in quality for Katsidis, who has almost exclusively fought elite level operators since defending his WBO title in his US debut against Czar Amonsot, also back in 2007.
On the line was the lightly regarded, if ever acknowledged vacant WBU light welterweight title, a tedious belt that serves zero relevance in any boxing landscape. Regardless of the circumstances, which included Earl weighing over the contracted light welterweight limit – the fight went ahead.
Katsidis, 33, a former Olympian and two-time interim WBO lightweight titlist, had very little trouble with his faded foe, as he bullied a courageous Earl around the small ring for twelve relatively lacklustre rounds. In reality and unlike their initial knockdown-filled war – this time around – neither brought the best out of each other.
After twelve relatively uneventful rounds, Katsidis was announced a winner by an unanimous verdict, winning a shutout by margins of 120-109, 120-108 and 119-109.
It appears likely that Earl (now 26-5, 12 KOs), 35, will return to retirement, while Katsidis (30-6, 22 KOs) will look for more meaningful fights in the future as he continues down the road for lightweight legitimacy.
For both Katsidis and Earl, it is now time to move forward with their respective careers as their shared chapter appears to have now reached a definitive end.
Photo: Will Hart