December 31, 2015
December 31, 2015
Manny Pacquiao

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1990’s heavyweight contender Ike Ibeabuchi – who scored some very impressive victories in compiling a 20-0 (15) career before being incarcerated for sexual assault in July of 1999 – is a free man and is planning to return to the ring at age 43.

According to an exclusive by Kevin Iole of Yahoo! Sports, Ibeabuchi –  who was released by the Nevada prison system in February of 2014 and then, after being held by the U.S Immigration and Customs Enforcement, became a free man in November of this year – plans to fight on the undercard of the upcoming April 9 card set for Las Vegas (with Pacquiao boxing Tim Bradley a third time).

Ibeabuchi has hired Pacquiao’s advisor, Michael Koncz, to guide his comeback and Koncz told Iole that the heavyweight, who says he weighs 245-pounds today, deserves a second chance.

“[Ibeabuchi] has served his time and wants to improve himself and Manny feels that since he‘s served his term and is trying to turn his life around, he deserves a second chance,” Koncz said.

Having been inactive from the rigours of the ring for well over 16 years – last boxing in March of 1999 when he scored a chilling KO over the slick Chris Byrd – the odds are hugely stacked against Ibeabuchi and his chances of making a successful return. But, in also speaking with Iole, “The President,” as Ibeabuchi was known in the ’90s, insists he is in great shape.

“I am definitely in shape and I understand I would have to prove this,” he said over the Christmas period. “I need to fight for the heavyweight championship of the world and I understand that I will have to prove myself worthy. Any of the tests  that would be required of me, an EKG, an MRI, an EEG, those kind of tests, X-rays,  things that would be required to obtain a boxing license, were done while I was incarcerated. But I am willing to cooperate and do whatever so that I may obtain my boxing [license] and appear on this card in Las Vegas.”

But aside from Ibeabuchi’s physical condition there is also the matter of his mental condition. The well documented problems that proved to be his undoing in the 1990s were many and Ibeabuchi really did appear to have lost his mind. Will the Nigerian be able to find a commission willing to grant him a licence, especially as soon as this coming April?

In his day, however, Ibeabuchi seemingly had the tools and the talent needed to become a world title challenger. Who knows how his career would have wound up had he not had his many problems. A strong, well conditioned 235-pounder with genuine punching power and a solid chin, Ibeabuchi picked up a fine decision win over a then unbeaten David Tua, in what was one of 1997’s best fights. The win over Byrd, who was also unbeaten at the time, really got Ibeabuchi noticed. But he was then jailed and his promising career was over. Until now it seems.