With Glen Johnson retiring, it may well be time for boxing to bestow the "Road Warrior" nickname on another pug. Middleweight Giovanni Lorenzo, the Dominican-born hitter who lives in Yonkers, should merit consideration. He's gloving up against Sam Soliman, an Aussie, in Geelong, Victoria, Australia, on Friday night in an IBF eliminator. The winner of that scrap is in line to fight the winner of the Sept. 1 Felix Sturm-Daniel Geale fight, in Germany.
The Germany-based Sturm holds the WBA crown currently, while Geale, also an Aussie, holds the IBF version.
This will be the fourth time in three years that Lorenzo, age 31, has traveled overseas for a meaningful bout. In September 2009, he lost a SD12 to Germany's Sebastian Sylvester in Germany for the vacant IBF belt. The following year, he went back to Germany to fight Sturm, and lost a UD to that beltholder. His next fight, seven months later, he went to France to fight France-based Cameroonian Hassan N'Dam N'Jikam, who at the time held the WBA interim world middleweight title. Lorenzo's luck stayed the same; he lost a UD12 in that scrap.
I asked Lorenzo about his travelin' blues. "I have lost some big fights on the road," he said. "Those losses were painful, but I realize now that was the best thing that could have ever happened to me, from those disappointments grew a more dedicated, more determined, hungrier fighter. I know realize I can't box and win on the road, I have to destroy. I have all the respect in the world for Sam, he is a great fighter and a gentleman, he will not quit, he is going to be a tough out. I have to be an assassin, you will see that all come out Friday night or I will retire from boxing."
This opportunity came about, according to manager Rich Ryan, because the IBF No. 2 Soliman had a hard time getting anyone to meet him on his home turf. That's no hurdle for Gio, rated No. 6 by the IBF.
"The Soliman-Lorenzo fight is going to be a real barn-burner based on styles," Ryan told NYFightBlog.
Gio and Ryan are in Australia, and report that Team Soliman has treated them royally. "He took our team out for an Australian Rules football game last week," Ryan said. "He is a class act."