What happened to the real Malcolm Klassen?- by Ron Jackson

Malcolm Klassen lost his IBF junior lightweight belt when Robert Guerrero beat him on points in Houston, Texas on August 22.

The former two-time featherweight champion won by scores of 117-112, 116-113 and 116-112 after the South African put up a brave defence during the later rounds.

The southpaw Guerrero was cut over one of his eyes but it did not stop him from winning the belt. A good start enabled him to take a lead and Klassen played catch-up for the rest of the fight. Guerro used the uppercut to good effect and in the sixth round he dislodged Klassen’s mouthpiece.

There was a clash of heads in the next round that opened up the cut near the left eye of Guerrero, who had moved up a division to challenge for Klassen’s belt. The new champion improved his record to 25-1-1; 17 and Klassen dropped to 24-5-2; 14.

Klassen, 28, was making his first defence of the belt that he won when he stopped Cassius Baloyi in April.

Guerrero, nicknamed “The Ghost”, had been under stress before, watching his wife battle leukaemia for the past two years.

Guerrero a two-time IBF featherweight champion gave up his belt last year to move up in weight. Klassen also entered the ring as a two-time champion, having lost just once since 2001.

Klassen was fighting outside South Africa for only the second time in his career
and for the first time in the United States.

On reflection one is inclined to say that Klassen gave the belt away as Guerrero is
nothing really special.

Where was the Klassen of the Baloyi fight when he fought with intensity working
on the inside and scoring with right hands to the head with tremendous hand
speed as he slowed down Baloyi.

He tended to follow Guerrero around the ring and there were only flashes of
his hand speed and power that was not enough to trouble the new champion.

One must also question why his management took a fight against the number
one contender for a reported poor purse when he could have had a voluntary defence and then face Guerrero.