By Peter Lim
Fighting for the first time outside his native South Africa, Malcolm Klassen defends his IBF super featherweight belt against Robert “The Ghost” Guerrero, (24-1-1, 17 KOs) this Saturday at the Toyota Center in Houston. The fight, staged by Golden Boy Promtions, will be aired on HBO. Klassen, (24-4-2, 15 KOs), dethroned Gairy St. Clair via split decision for the title in 2006 but lost it against Mzonke Fana, also by split decision, in his first defense. Klassen regained the belt by stopping fellow-South African Cassius Baloyi in April via seventh round TKO.
Photos: Peter Lim
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What should fans outside of South Africa know about Malcolm Klassen?
First of all, I don’t need to trash talk or anything but (Guerrero) is not in my class, if you know what I’m saying. For me to come to Houston from South Africa and leave my title here is not going to happen. That will never happen.
Can you describe your fighting style to the fans who have never seen you fight.
I am the whole package. I am Mayweather, I am Marco Antonio Barrera. I can move and I can fight. That’s what you can expect – the whole package. I’ve got speed and I’ve got power. They say speed is power and I’ve got everything together.
How have you fared against southpaws in the past?
I fought a few southpaws early in my career and I have been sparring with some of the best southpaws in South Africa which has been very, very good for me. So I’m not going to have a problem with that. (Klassen’s trainer Nick Durandt points out that Klassen has never lost to a southpaw before.)
Do you have more to lose in this fight than he does?
Definitely, because I’m not fighting just for me. I’m fighting for the whole of South Africa, I’m fighting for my family and for the guys at the gym who’ve helped me out. So I’ve got a lot to lose.
Nick Durandt: Guerrero’s going to be knocked out. Guerrero’s not going to see six rounds.