With today’s announcement of an Anthony Bonsante-Andy Kolle matchup planned for March 27, it’s time to consider the bout’s ramifications for the Minnesota boxing scene.
It has been asserted here and generally affirmed elsewhere that the most loaded division in Minnesota boxing is middleweight. And it’s generally agreed that the top fighters in this division are Tony Bonsante, Andy Kolle, Matt Vanda, and Kenny Kost.
With his win against Vanda back in 2007 Bonsante earned recognition as the middleweight champion of Minnesota. Vanda, for his part, has fought the other three men in this group and lost to them all, though he remains eager for rematches with all of them. And of the other three men (those who are not named Vanda), none of them have fought each other. So the hierarchy of Minnesota middleweights currently looks something like this: (1)Bonsante, (2-tied)Kolle and Kost, and (4)Vanda. This is the backdrop against which Bonsante defends his state middleweight title versus Kolle.
What will this fight mean to the fighters involved?
If Kolle wins, it probably signals the beginning of the end of Bonsante’s significance on the Minnesota boxing scene, and it buys Kolle some hard-earned credibility. This is important because, despite what some of his fans believe, Kolle’s biggest wins happened in obscurity (untelevised bouts against Vanda and Jonathan Reid) while his two TV fights resulted in losses – a referee stoppage and a TKO. That isn’t to say that Kolle isn’t a good fighter, because he really is. But circumstances are what they are, and Kolle is a man in need of a good win to improve his image and bolster his resume.
Unlike Kolle, Bonsante isn’t trying to accumulate credibility as a pro boxer – he has a whole career of big accomplishments and limelight moments behind him. But he does need to revalidate his credentials; as an athlete ages, that’s something he constantly has to do. If Bonsante wins, it reinforces the status quo. It means that the 38-year old man is still the best middleweight in Minnesota, and it puts Bonsante in a good position to get at least one more big payday before hanging up the gloves.
What does this fight mean to the fighters who are not involved?
Kost tried last year to get a match with Bonsante, but he received the big-brother brushoff. Bonsante said at the time that Kost lacked the resumé and the ranking to challenge him. Nevertheless, the public cry for Kost to get a fight with Bonsante has grown. Recently the cry has been for Kost and Kolle to meet. Whoever wins, we can rest assured that Kost will remain in the wings, waiting for his opportunity.
Vanda is a different story. He has international name recognition that our other local fighters can only envy, and he has travelled more to fight more high profile opponents than anyone else in the division. So while he has taken the public position that he wants to avenge his local losses, Vanda needs not feel compelled to pursue the rematches.
What does this fight mean to Minnesota boxing fans?
Ultimately, this fight means something more important to the Minnesota boxing scene. It’s a moment of electrifying excitement that has the potential to remind casual fans and the sporting public at large that there’s no game more exciting than boxing. And it should make for a heck of a fun evening at ringside. Tell a friend!