By Chris McKenna, courtesy of The Daily Star
IT is not the first time there has been plenty of fowl play in boxing.
But this week could see a fighter called ‘Five-Star Grilled Chicken’ eclipse Floyd Mayweather.
Last weekend, Billy Joe Saunders was chucking cooked poultry at Deontay Wilder in Nandos.
On Tuesday, Thailand’s Wanheng Menayothin can better Mayweather’s 50-0 professional record which will no doubt generate far fewer headlines than a ruck in a chicken restaurant.
The WBC minimumweight champion heads into a title defence against Filipino puncher Pedro Taduran looking for his 51st victory in a so-far unblemished career.
If he continues his unbeaten run then he will take the crown of the best unbeaten record in the sport – just 12 months and two days after Mayweather set the benchmark.
Mayweather returned to the ring last year for a money-mad monstrosity against MMA fighter Conor McGregor.
It was a walkover for the American pound-for-pound great against a boxing debutant in a fight that was about cash instead of class as he surpassed Rocky Marciano’s 49-0 milestone.
So while the man who nicknamed himself ‘Money’ signed off with more millions, the fighter called ‘Five-Star Grilled Chicken’ kept pecking away at his record.
Menayothin – whose real name is Chayaphon Moonsri – follows the tradition of some Thai boxers and Muay Thai fighters in having a number of aliases for various reasons.
He has taken the name of his gym, Menayothin, but also fights under the moniker ‘Kaiyanghada’ which translates as ‘Five-Star Grilled Chicken’ as part of a sponsorship deal.
Thailand’s WBA minimumweight champion Thammanoon Niyomtrong is known as Knockout CP Freshmart for the same reason.
The 32-year-old may be a world away from Mayweather’s millions, but he has one thing in common and that is he has never fought outside of his home country as a professional.
This week’s potentially record-breaking fight will take place in the Nakhon Sawan, a city in Thailand with the population of just 114,000 – a far cry from the glitz and glamour of Las Vegas.
Menayothin, who is also nicknamed “Dwarf Giant”, has 18 knockouts from his 50 wins so far but standing at 5ft 2in is big enough to move up in weight.
He has also never had a unification fight as he seems content defending the WBC title he won in 2014.
That means he does not appear on many pound-for-pound lists when critics and fans are compiling their lists for the best in the world.
But that won’t stop Menayothin from writing his name in the history books if he beats Taduran on Tuesday.