JOHANNESBURG – It is perhaps apt that one ‘rose’ tells the other ‘rose’ that it has wilted.
Dingaan “The Rose of Soweto” Thobela this week called on Mzonke “The Rose of Khayelitsha” Fana to seriously consider hanging up his boxing gloves.
“Boxing is a sport. But I know that we as boxers take boxing as a business and that is why it is hard for us to quit,” said the man who also somewhat overstayed and endured seven losses in his last seven fights.
And so when he speaks about overstaying being wrong, it is perhaps prudent on the one advised to take heed.
“I think Mzonke must start considering to leave boxing because I foresee danger for him. He has lost some fights badly and we will sit down with him and make him realise that it is important for him to consider his well-being.”
Thobela’s concern comes in the wake of Fana suffering yet another defeat this past weekend, a points loss to Thompson Mokwana during their SA Lightweight title bout in Turfontein.
The defeat for the 43-year-old former IBF Lightweight king comes shortly after he fell unconscious following his defeat to Ghanaian Emmanuel Tagoe in their vacant IBO lightweight title clash in December.
Before that Fana also lost to Terry Flanagan and Howik Bebraham, defeats that see his record now showing13 losses.
Thobela said it was painful to see Fana taking punishment at the weekend.
“It was really not a good sight seeing Mzonke stumbling across the ring and punches raining on his head. Of course at the end of the day, the decision to quit lies with him and his managers, but I’d advise him to introspect. Surely when you lose four fights in a row like he has, even with your ambition and perhaps your history as a good fighter, logic must dictate that you reconsider.”
Thobela did exactly that. Having been a superstar as a younger fighter he found himself drawn back into the ring after a two-year absence only to see father time make it impossible for him to answer the bell for a tenth round of a fight.
“The thing is we all have ambitions, but it is wise to listen to the advice of the fans and the boxing commentators who are watching objectively and can see when you are no longer cut out for it.
"Of course some of the greatest fighters we know – like Muhammad Ali and Marvin Hagler – made comebacks after retiring motivated by the love of the sport and incentives. But what happened to them? My advice to Mzonke would really be that he stops before he suffers serious damage.”
The Rose has spoken. Will the other Rose listen?