Tuesday, August 9, 2011

The Re-match: Chaz Mulkey vs. Remy Bonnel

On August 20th Chaz Mulkey and Remy Bonnel will meet in a re-match of their August 2010 fight which Bonnel won by unanimous decision after five hard fought rounds. The second time round the stakes are raised as their fight is for the interim WBC Muay Thai middleweight international title at Lion Fight Promotions "Battle in the Desert 3" in Primm, NV. Both Mulkey and Bonnel are excited about the re-match, but not because they are fighting one another again. It is the fact that they are fighting for the interim WBC Muay Thai international title.

"My first thought about the fight wasn't the rematch against Chaz, but the opportunity to fight for the belt. I beat 8 worlds champions in my career and none of them put there title on the line, always telling me "the next time, or it's not the same federation, etc.." always excuses." said Bonnel. "Now, I don't want think about the last fight with Chaz, because I know it's another day, another fight, things evolved you know."

Mulkey's sentiments were on par with Bonnel's as he too is not thinking about the re-match, but more about improving his position in Muay Thai.

"Importance of avenging a loss isn't as great as it is to get a second chance to beat someone who is ranked higher in the world than me, that's what drives me more than avenging the loss." said Mulkey. 
"Remy is a great fighter and if I lose to a great fighter I'm not upset about it. I've always said that if I'm not fighting people that can potentially beat me then I'm not fighting the right people. I lost a 5 round decision last time to Remy who is ranked 18th in the world by the WBC, I don't think that's anything to be ashamed or sad about. I went out fought as hard as I could and came up short, it happens sometimes."

The first fight was closely contested. Mulkey was looking to add the biggest name to his win column, while Bonnel was looking to return to action after a two year layoff. Neither fighter expects to meet the same man they faced last August, an entire year has passed since that time and a good fighter continues to develop. With both fighters jockeying for positioning in their weight classes, both have improved their skill set.

"Well the first fight against Chaz, I came back from 2 years off. The rust was the problem, but I'm a gym rat, I train all the time so I managed to find a solution to the problems he put in front of me." said Bonnel. "He threw me a lot, but it's not a judo competition you know. I adjust to the problem, I don't get stuck with one strategy."

Mulkey doesn't see many holes in Bonnel's game and feels that he just needs to find the few holes he does have and exploit them. Trying to come up with a specific game plan isn't a strategy for Mulkey because no fight will ever be exactly the same.

"As far as game plans go I really don't get too caught up in them because no fight is going to be the exact same as your opponents previous fights. I will look at a couple of their fights an get an idea of what they like to do so I can get an idea of what I should be looking to do, but I don't get caught up in long drawn out game plans or the if he does this move I'm gonna do this move because it doesn't work for me." said Mulkey. "I just look at what I should do more of like clinch more if they are not strong in the clinch or leg kick more because they don't defend well. With Remy its tough because his mistakes and weakness' are few and far between."

It is fairly clear no fighter is really thinking about a re-match, but more about the title at stake. With both fighters knowing that title shots don't come along often the opportunity for both is huge. They each want to claim the international belt, but neither feels any added pressure due to the title being on the line. If anything it is a reminder to them both as to the direction their careers are heading. Mulkey feels that winning the international title is more of a reminder of being on the right track. If he wins the belt Mulkey still recognizes that there are still guys out there that are ranked higher.

"Yes of course to have the international belt would be an amazing moment and a great piece to hang on the wall, but unless you have the world belt you haven't reached the top and the international belt is more of a reminder that you're on the right path. With that said I don't feel pressure or like I must win this particular belt. I look at it like this, if I win the international title it still doesn't mean I'm no.1 or no. 2 or even no. 10 in the world. Yes it's a great achievement and I'm so grateful for the opportunity, but what about all the other guys in the world that are ranked higher than me?" said Mulkey. "If I had this belt they would still have more recognition on paper than me. Now obviously promoters and the WBC do the best they can with the situations they have at hand and there is no way to make everything perfect and have it to where this guy should have this belt and this guy should have that belt, but for me I will always have it in the back of my mind that if I had this great and highly respected belt there are still people out there that are higher up than me until I get that world belt, however, I do still want to win that belt."

Bonnel's response to feeling pressure is a lot more simple than Mulkey's. He doesn't feel any pressure because he thinks that the title shot is long overdue for him.

"The WBC title does not add pressure, it adds motivation to me. I want this belt, it's well overdue and Chaz or John or Smith or whoever in the ring is just someone between me and the food." was Bonnel's response.

Since their first bout Mulkey has been the more active fighter, he has fought four times. In the same time span Bonnel has only competed once. Mulkey has gone 3-1 in that time frame winning his last three fights all by (T)KO. Bonnel's only fight in that time since their last fight was also a (T)KO victory, but having fought only once since their first fight means nothing to Bonnel because as he put it "I'm for quality not quanitity". It is pretty clear that the veteran is not worried about not having enough in ring action since they last competed when he steps into the ring with Mulkey on August 20th.

" Ok he fought 4 times, lose one, but I'm for the quality not quantity. I fought a real Thai fighter not him. Who was the Canadian guy? And Edwards looked scared the entire fight, then the fight in Thailand was against a European guy I believe and not the best one. I think if you want evolve a bit you need to get out of your comfort zone right? Chaz can do it, he has the talent, he should fought some real Thai guy, in the Radja, Lumpini or Onoi stadium when he was there." said Bonnel. "I don't think taking those fights he did really helped him. I fought this Thai, Singsiri and I didn't prepare as good as this fight. I'm 6'2", I came in at 153 pounds, I was tired after the 2 rounds, I made some mistakes in my preparation, peoples were telling me that i can't beat this guy. That he has too much experience, but I found a way to TKO him. they said the same thing about my first fight with Chaz, that I was too old, the 2 years off etc..but i found a way. I guess the biggest mistake they do is to underestimate me."

Two things are apparent from hearing both fighters speak. The first is that they both want the WBC Muay Thai international title and the second is that to both the re-match between them isn't as important as the belt. They could be facing someone they have never heard of on August 20th, but as long as the green WBC belt is on the line it will hold their attention. At this level you shouldn't be receiving free passes when it comes to earning title and it just happens that they have come full circle to face one another again with something extra (WBC title) for the winner. Mulkey summed it up best when he basically stated that only a fool would take his opponent lightly at this level. The exact and of course more entertaining Mulkey quote is the following.

"Like I said a fights a fight they're all difficult to prepare for. but for me there is nothing different, I'm still gonna train as hard as I can and fight as hard as I can. Anyone at this level who takes their opponent lightly and says they're not gonna train as hard as they normally do because they don't need to is either a dumb ass, a lazy piece of shit that doesn't care about his performance, or the fight is so miss matched that it shouldn't be taking place anyway." said Mulkey. "Every fight I train hard...now I'm not gonna lie and say that there aren't times when I've had camps where I'm more motivated than others or my output isn't as high as camps that I've had before. but I always give the most at my camps that my mind and body will let me."

It is safe to assume this was probably one of Mulkey's better camps as he has had his eye on a WBC Muay Thai green belts for quite some time, but even if he does win he likely wont be satisfied because the world title will still be out there.

With both fighter hungry it is safe to assume that nothing but their best performances will be displayed when they clash. With their first fight being a closely contested fight, this could be a potential chess match. Will one fighter be able to dispatch of the other in impressive fashion? Will it be a repeat of the first fight? Who is walking out of Primm, NV with the WBC Muay Thai international belt? You will find out August 20th at Lion Fight Promotions "Battle in the Desert 3".
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