In what’s sure to ruffle feathers, Rodney Berman has pitched an extraordinary local fight – stablemate against stablemate.
He wants IBO champion Simpiwe Konkco to fight WBC International minimumweight champion DeeJay Kriel. It has the makings of a fascinating bout, but the obvious hurdle at this point is that they are friends, sparring partners and share a gym under the tutelage of trainer Colin Nathan.
It’s a match-up that would see Konkco’s ring smarts up against Kriel’s youth and energy, a likely classic action-fest that would excite fans.
The Golden Gloves boss knows it’s a long shot, but there is a curious precedent. Almost 10 years ago Nick Durandt was forced to choose between stablemates Malcolm Klassen and Cassius Baloyi whose corner he’d work for the IBF title clash. In the event, he went with Baloyi, reasoning that it was a “business decision”.
The boxers understood and there were no hard feelings as Klassen wore Baloyi down in seven rounds.
Asked his thoughts on the dream match, Nathan was torn: “I love them, they’re both my babies,” he said of Konkco and Kriel. “It would be very difficult. For now, DeeJay against Xolisa Magusha is a great fight and Konkco is number two in the WBA, waiting for his shot.”
It would be fiendishly difficult to work it out, although if he was forced, Nathan would surely have to go with the boxer he has worked with longest (Kriel) with his assistant presumably working with Konkco. Feelings would have to be put aside for the sake of business with both boxers sure to earn a handsome purse.
“Let’s see,” said Berman. “All I can do is pitch the idea to them. They might not like it, but the fans surely would.”