Omar Sheika has been a player in the Super Middleweight division for the better part of the millennium. Sheika’s resume is unmatched by any of his contemporaries, he challenged Super Middleweight King Joe Calzaghe, he engaged in one of the more entertaining bouts of 2004 against former IBF world champion Jeff “Left Hook” Lacey, and also most recently in September of 2005 he dropped a decision to current WBC Supper Middleweight Champion Markus Beyer in Germany. Eric Lucas and Thomas Tate are also on the lengthy list of notable opponents. Within Sheika’s respectable 26-8 record he hold’s a victory over former Light Heavyweight Champion Glen “The Road Warrior” Johnson. Sheika throughout his profession has also been a television darling. His two bout series against Scott Pemberton are amongst ESPN’s most memorable fights. Now after two straight losses he sees his career at the often-used cliché in boxing known as a crossroads.
However the 29-year-old Sheika feels that he could be a win or two from putting himself back in title contention. One more shot at a world title is definitely in Sheika’s heart, but he has eyes currently set on a “Contender.” To be more specific Sheika is calling out reality television star Peter Manfredo Jr.
Manfredo has been campaigning at the 168-pound weight division in 2006. This has not gone unnoticed by Sheika. Neither was the Pride of Providence’s destruction over former Sheika rival Scott Pemberton, back in February.
“He says he wants to fight a real fighter, well fight me,” said Sheika.
Sheika feels that Manfredo is a product of television and smart match making. Sheika is also quick to point out that his recent win over Pemberton was hollow at best.
“Anyone who knows anything about boxing knows that he did not fight the real Pemberton. He fought a shot fighter. He fought a washed up Pemberton. The Pemberton he fought was 39 years old and Scott just got knocked out by Jeff Lacey,” said Sheika.
According to Sheika he had a verbal agreement with promoter Jimmy Burchfield two months ago to meet Manfredo. The date according to Sheika was to have been June 16th and the venue was the Mohegan Sun. Sheika now says that Manfredo is backing out of their spoken commitment.
“I thought me and him had this fight. Now he is talking about a fight with this Spino (Joey Spina) guy. Who is this Spino? Stop picking on Spino. We had a verbal agreement and now he is backing out. It looks to me like he is just looking for easy money and an easy fight. A win over an unknown guy proves nothing to me or to anyone else”, stated Sheika.
Sheika was referring to another Providence, Rhode Island based fighter Joey Spina. Spina who is undefeated at 18-0, is fresh off a knockout victory over another Contender star Jesse Brinkley earlier in the month. Spina and Manfredo have been rumored future opponents. Sheika feels that a fight between him and Manfredo is a more viable and lucrative fight given Sheika’s track record and name recognition. In fact Sheika feels that Spina has little or no credibility at all.
“I’d fight both of them on the same night in Providence and knock both of them out. No one knows who Spina is outside of Rhode Island. People know who I am. I’ve fought in peoples back yards and never ducked anyone”, said Sheika.
Sheika thinks that despite Spina and Manfredo being both from Rhode Island that it is a fight with no substance. Sheika admits that he is no longer in the top ten in any of the governing bodies of boxing, but he says it’s just a matter of time and opportunity before that happens again.
“The media tries to portray Manfredo like he is some tough guy or some throw back type of fighter. Please, whom has he fought? Who has he beaten? He is ducking me. In my eyes he’s a got no heart and he’s a punk,” said Sheika.
The 25 year old Manfredo who owns a record of 25-3 is currently ranked 14th by the WBC and is the number 15th rated super middleweight by the IBF. The Patterson, New Jersey based veteran, Sheika would probably present the stiffest challenge to Manfredo. If not for the fact of Sheika’s experience and multiple world title challenges but simply for the fact that he has fought at Super Middleweight his whole career. Manfredo after his stint on the Contender television show jumped from middleweight to super middleweight virtually over night. A win for Manfredo over a lightly regarded and untested Spina may not make die hard boxing fans consider Manfredo a serious or legitimate threat to Calzaaghe or Lacey. However on the business side of low risk and high monetary gain it may be the right move. It would no doubt also provide significant fodder for the ESPN 2 studio talking heads to over hype.
“Don’t talk the talk if you can’t walk the walk. You talk about seeing guys like Calzaghe, Lacey and you do interviews talking tough. You even mentioned my name in an interview. Don’t mention my name and then turn deaf when I respond. I guess you should stick to fighting at home and fighting guys that you know you can beat,” said Sheika.
“To all boxing fans I had something set for June 16 against a guy named Manfredo. If he’s a man enough than that will be my next fight. I was training hard like always and was ready for June 16 to whip his ass,” said Sheika.
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