The fight of his life.
This was trainer Colin Nathan’s blunt assessment of what faces Hekkie Budler when he challenges IBF light-flyweight champion Milan Melindo in the Philippines on September 16.
Budler is 29 with a distinguished 10-year pro career, but hunger won’t be one of the issues when he squares off against the accomplished champion.
“This is what it comes down to. Everything Hekkie has been through, the successes, the adversity, it all comes down to this moment,” said Nathan. “All the hurdles and triumphs will culminate in victory; I’m convinced of it.”
Nathan says he has sensed a new-found energy and attitude in his fighter, an encouraging sign because he concedes that this will be the hardest fight of the acclaimed South African’s career.
“The odds are against us. But it was the same when Hekkie fought Nkosinathi Joyi. We won’t have it easy; we’re going into the lion’s den. We expect the champion to be on his A game, but all our bases will be covered.
“Hekkie must put in the performance of his life. We’re gearing up for that. I know Hekkie has been below-par for some fights, but he’s like a new fighter these days. He’s got tremendous hunger. The past is the past. This is a fresh and exciting challenge. Hekkie is determined to deliver. I believe he will.”