By Alexey Sukachev
With the rapidly looming fight between multi-title middleweight champion Gennady Golovkin and WBA regular 160lb titlist Daniel Jacobs, news came from Russia of their common opponent – a real one (for Jacobs) and a virtual one (for Golovkin).
Former WBO middleweight champion Dmitry Pirog, who was recognized as one of the most intelligent Russian fighters both in and outside the ring, launched his political career to join Russia’s first every heavyweight champion Nikolay Valuev as a member of the State Duma.
The State Duma is the lower house of the Federal Assembly of Russia (legislature), the upper house being the Federation Council of Russia. Pirog will represent the United Russia, the main party in Russia.
Pirog, 36 and nicknamed the Grandmaster, has never been elected but got his access due to his fellow local native Alexander Metkin choosing to concentrate on his business and also due to his poor attendance at the State Duma sessions. Pirog is a native of the Temryuk, Krasnodar Region, but lives in the nearby city of Gelendzhik.
Pirog turned pro in July 2005 and won a national title in his only fourth fight, beating 25-5 fringe contender Sergey Tatevosyan. In the next four years he has been steadily approaching a world title opportunity, beating (among others) local stars Alexey Chirkov and Aslanbek Kodzoev, Uzbek veteran Kuvanych Toygonbayev, American veteran Eric Mitchell and former world title challenger Kofi Jantuah.
Still he was a prohibitive underdog against rising star Daniel Jacobs, when he entered the ring in Las Vegas on July 31, 2010. Less than five rounds later a star was born, and Pirog was crowned a new WBO champion after knocking out Jacobs with a huge right hand.
Unfortunately, Pirog’s title run was inconclusive. He defended his title thrice – against Argentinean JC Maciel, his countryman Gennady Martirosyan and Japanese boxer Nobuhiro Ishida.
But Pirog never got the major fight he was gunning for, being dismissed by Sergio Gabriel Martinez and falling out with back injury from an HBO televised fight with Golovkin in 2012. Golovkin had been mentioned as a possible opponent for Pirog for as long as nine years.
Pirog virtually retired in 2013, although never announcing it officially, due to a string of bad back injuries. His final score as a pro is 20-0, with 15 KOs, and he is one of a select group of fighters to retire as an undefeated champion.
Outside the ring, Pirog has been different from many other fighters. His own business intact, the Russian has obtained two higher educations having graduated (both times with red diplomas) from the Sports Academy and from the Faculty of public administration of the Kuban State University. An avid chess player, he was also awarded with a silver medal while finishing his middle education at the school. His unusual boxing style and smart approach to both training and performing further underlined the unusual nature of this pugilist. He might be a good addition to the Duma.