Pro-boxing here in Ireland is a strange little world. Darren Sutherland takes his first baby steps into it tonight and you'd have to wonder just where the road's likely to take him (along with other Olympic medallists like Kenny Egan - who seems to be the new celeb du jour). Sutherland's a confident yet likeable character with the sort of back story and wit that sportswriters tend to love but that won't be much help when he steps into the pro ring for the first time at the age of 26.
For all the hype about Bernard Dunne, and by golly there is hype whenever the man struts into the ring, he's still making his way fighting mainly journeymen and no-hopers and there's something cringeworthy about it when we see Mick Dowling shifting uncomfortably on RTE every time he's asked to talk Dunne up after a fight. (For what it's worth, Jumpthefence rates Andy Lee as our one genuine world title hope at the moment.) Sutherland is heading into a dangerous enough division where he'll most likely have to face the likes of Lee or John Duddy before long if he's to make a name for himself. Jumpthefence hopes that Sutherland at least has a real go at the pro game and he doesn't find himself drifting around the scene trying to drum up a show for nothing fights a few years down the line.
Other bits of interest: So sad to see Evander Holyfield still in the ring - Tribune interview with him here