Ask super middleweight champ and undefeated pound-for-pound star Andre Ward who gave him his toughest fight. He'll tell you it was Sakio Bika.
Australia's Bika, who won "The Contender" reality series tournament in 2007, is as rugged as they come. Even though he lost a lopsided decision in a world title fight against Ward in November 2010, Bika was very physical and came to fight, as always.
Bika, however, has been chronically inactive and has had just one fight since facing Ward -- a third-round knockout of sub-.500 Alfredo Contreras in a December walkover.
But Bika (29-5-2, 20 KOs), 33, is coming back in an interesting fight against Dyah Davis (21-2-1, 9 KOs), 30, of Coconut Creek, Fla., on June 2. Davis is the son of 1976 U.S. Olympian Howard Davis Jr. and is experienced.
The fight will take place at the Home Depot Center in Carson, Calif., on the undercard of a Showtime quadrupleheader headlined by former light heavyweight champ Antonio Tarver against Lateef Kayode in a cruiserweight bout. The rest of the card includes middleweight Winky Wright against "Kid Chocolate" Peter Quillin, junior middleweight titlist Austin Trout in a defense against Delvin Rodriguez, and Leo Santa Cruz and Vusi Malinga vying for a vacant bantamweight title.
That means Bika-Davis will be part of the Showtime Extreme coverage of preliminary bouts that precedes the Showtime broadcast.
Bika has been in St. Louis for nearly six weeks working with new trainer Kevin Cunningham to get ready for the fight.
"He's a pleasure to work with," Cunningham said of Bika on Thursday when we were catching up on the phone. "He works hard. He's strong. He's in tremendous shape. And he listens."
Cunningham said he is working with Bika specifically to tighten his defense "a little more, get him a little sharper. But he's so strong. He's ready to go. He'll be pressing Davis from the opening bell. He's prepared to go 10 rounds, a hard 10 rounds."
Cunningham trains and manages Devon Alexander, a former junior welterweight titlist and now a welterweight contender. Cunningham recently brought in Al Haymon as an adviser to help him work on Alexander's career. Haymon, also Bika's adviser, put Bika and Cunningham together.
"We just hit it off from the time I picked him up at the airport," Cunningham said of Bika. "Devon and Sakio hit it off really well in the gym also, because Devon has been in there doing some light work."