By Jake Donovan
If it were a farewell party, then Michael Katsidis could at say he went out with a win.
Alas, the badly faded former lightweight contender will likely fight on following Friday's victory, scoring a six-round unanimous decision win over Philippines' Rodynie Rafol.
Scores were 58-56 (twice) and 59-55 in what was a hard-fought affair—as if Katsidis ever knew any other way to ply his trade. The win is his firsr since last summer, when he had his hand raised for the second time in as many tries versus Graham Earl.
The decision win over Earl led Katsidis to believe he could compete on the regional title level . Instead, he was given harsh reminder of how far along he was in his career, suffering a 2nd round knockout at the hands of Tommy Coyle last October.
It was hoped that the night would be his last ever in a boxing ring, but the stubborn fighter (is there any other kind?) continues to fight on. The win over Rafol (12-7-2, 5KOs) was a confidence builder as he will next appear May 22, back the the Melbourne Pavilion against an opponent to be determined.
Kastidis is best remembered for being an integral part of the lightweight division in the late aughties. Unfortunately, he came up on the losing end of several of his biggest fights, including a Nov. '10 thriller with then lineal 135 lb. king Juan Manuel Marquez, and losing back-to-back fights to Joel Casamayor (also the reigning lightweight king at the time of their March '08 clash) and Juan Diaz while attempting to market his brand stateside.
Among his most thrilling wins was his first fight with Earl, surviving a brutal slugfest to stop the Brit in the 5th round of their Feb. '07 war. The bout led to his U.S. debut, throwing down with Czar Amonsot over 12 gory rounds in July '07, saving what was otherwise a train wreck of a Pay-Per-View show topped by Bernard Hopkins' 12-round stinker over a bloated Winky Wright.
The biggest win of his career came at the tail-end of a four fight unbeaten streak, upending previously unbeaten Kevin Mitchell inside of three rounds. The May '10 victory led to the shot at Marquez, though Katsidis hit high-profile opponent status soon thereafter, suffering letdowns at the hands of Robert Guerrero, Ricky Burns and a shocking points loss to unheralded Albert Menshah in suffering four losses over a five-fight stretch.
Katsidis, who turns 35 in August, has now won three of his last four starts, advancing to 31-7 (24KOs).
On the undercard, past Katsidis victim Amonsot (28-3-3, 17KOs) scored a six-round decison over Padjai Yongyuthgym. The Filipino is now unbeaten in his last 12 starts (10-0-2 over that stretch) since his war with Katsidis.
Amonsot was medically barred from the ring following the loss due to bleeding on the brain, but was cleared to fight again in 2009 and hasn't loss since.
Jake Donovan is the Managing Editor of BoxingScene.com. Twitter: @JakeNDaBox