Boxing Snippets

Phillip Ndou UD 12 Cassius Baloyi – 3 November 2001

There is an Afrikaans saying in South Africa, “Local is lekker,” and that turned out to be the case at Carnival City when two world class operators, Phillip “Time Bomb” Ndou and Cassius “Hitman” Baloyi stepped into the ring to produce an instant classic.

Ndou was defending the WBU junior lightweight belt that he won in his previous fight when he knocked out three-time world title challenger, Carlos Rios, in five rounds. The fact that Rios had previously gone the distance with Floyd Mayweather bore testimony to the crippling power of Ndou who had scored every single one of his 24 wins by knockout, having also won the South African featherweight title earlier in his career by dispatching  veteran, Jackie Gunguluza, in three rounds.

There was, however, a single TKO loss to unheralded journeyman, Anthony Campbell, in his eleventh pro bout that led many to question his chin. That question would be answered several times that night.

Cassius Baloyi was undefeated at 26-0 with 14 knockouts and considered the more seasoned fighter. He had won WBU belts at junior feather and featherweight and had made three and seven successful title defenses respectively,  scoring wins over future IBF featherweight world champion, Frankie Toledo, in the US, as well as impressive wins over former world champions Hector Lizarraga and Steve Robinson in the process.

Like Ndou, Baloyi was a tall, rangy fighter but he was considered more of a boxer whereas Ndou was the stalking knockout artist. Then there was the heated rivalry between the two camps. Baloyi was formerly trained my Nick Durandt but switched camps to Brian Mitchell, while Ndou was Durandt’s star fighter at the time. There was no love lost between the two trainers and in the pre-fight build-up they almost eclipsed the fighters with the verbal barbs they exchanged.

With contrasting fighting styles and an intriguing back story, the table was set for a fistic delight and the fighters did not disappoint.

After Ndou found that he could win the battle of the jabs, he became the boxer and decided to stick and move behind his jab, flurrying around the guard of Baloyi whenever he could. Baloyi, in turn, turned aggressor and went after Ndou, having some success on the inside.

Baloyi hurt Ndou with an uppercut in the seventh round but Ndou gathered himself and fought back furiously, the two slugging it out at the bell to the delight of the capacity crowd.

In the eighth Ndou also found a home for a thudding right hook to the body while staying on his bicycle, fighting from the outside. He could not keep Baloyi off him for long though, and by the end of the round it became a contest between the chopping right of Ndou and the left hook of Baloyi as they slugged it out, the crowd once again on their feet.

Baloyi knocked Ndou into the ropes with a left hook in the tenth round and just as it seemed that he fight was finally turning his way, Ndou came back with his own power shots, trapping Baloyi in the corner at the end of the round and teeing off on him.

In the eleventh round the two resembled Sugar Ray Leonard and Marvin Hagler, with Ndou moving around the ring and shoe shining Baloyi with fast, flashy combinations, while Baloyi kept chasing him, landing a hard right at the bell.

Ndou tried his best to close the show in the final round and did so in style, even though Baloyi kept himself in the fight by landing a hard power shot every so often.

When the decision was announced, Phillip Ndou was declared a unanimous winner, retaining his WBU junior lightweight title by two scores of 116-112 and a rather wide third card of 118-110.

Ndou would go on to challenge pound-for-pound star, Floyd Mayweather, for the WBC world lightweight title in 2003. He fought valiantly but the future great was just one mountain too big to climb and he was stopped in seven rounds.

After that fight he seemed to lose a step and lost a close decision to future IBF world welterweight champion, Isaac Hlatshwayo, for the latter’s South African lightweight title. He was diagnosed with a cyst on his brain shortly afterwards and retired.

He came back in 2009 with a clean bill of health, won a fight in France and dropped a competitive decision to former IBF world junior welterweight champion, namesake Lovemore Ndou. He fought on sporadically until 2016, retiring with a record of 37-5 with an incredible 34 knockouts.

Phillip Ndou will go down in South African boxing history as one of our most exciting, hard hitting fighters who probably would have won a major world title had he not been unfortunate to bump into a prime Floyd Mayweather.

The loser of the fight would, ironically, go on to have the more accomplished career. Cassius Baloyi did win a belt at junior lightweight in his next fight, stopping Tiger Ari in six rounds for the IBO title. He then defended it against former IBF bantamweight and featherweight champion, Mbulelo Botile in another local super fight but more about that later…

Related Articles

Leave a Reply

Back to top button