LIMA — Marquis Valentine and Eddie Hines face big challenges that could alter their boxing careers when the two Lima-based boxers participate in “The Night of Champions 5” at the Seagate Center in Toledo beginning at 7:30 p.m. Saturday.
Valentine (5-1) will be in the main event bout against Cassius Anderson in a scheduled six-round affair that is being billed as the winner garnering the crown of “best heavyweight in Ohio.”
Anderson is coming off a loss where he was knocked out in the first round. Valentine is coming into the match after knocking out his opponent in the second round in March.
Lonnie Rettig, Valentine and Hines’ trainer, said Anderson has been ducking him but now needs him after Anderson was defeated.
“He (Anderson) lost his last fight on the same card they fought on,” Rettig said. “There is some animosity here and now it comes to the point where he (Anderson) needs to beat Marquis. Their records are pretty similar.”
If Valentine can get a win, which he is confident he can do, it will take him to a new level in his career and opens doors for possible national fights.
“This fight coming up is one of those bookmark fights and things can go very far upward from here,” Valentine said.
Rettig said this is a major step for Valentine who continues to develop as a boxer.
“A lot of things have changed this past year after he lost that fight in Columbus about a year ago,” Rettig said. “That was a big wake-up call. At first he was walking through these guys but since his loss he has stepped it up a lot.”
To help with his training and nutrition, Valentine hired Lacy Green, owner and coach of C323, as his fitness coach.
“With her, she gave him a whole other way of thinking of how to use food, how to use training to get the most out of his body,” Rettig said. “When he wins we can chalk it up to his training and nutrition.”
Valentine is excited about the bout and the challenges a new opponent brings as far as strategy and training go.
“I‘m very confident in our game plan and I have a lot of years of experience on him so it is going to be pretty fun with a lot of fireworks.” Valentine said. “I am trying to take this as far as possible. I’m seriously wanting to take a world championship.”
Rettig said Anderson, who has never boxed past the second round, is a strong, powerful puncher, but one dimensional and Valentine, who can move, will provide the pain and look to extend the fight. In other terms, Rettig wants Valentine to take him to the “deep waters” or third or fourth round by hitting and moving and then unload.
“He likes to get hit so we are going to give that to him,” Rettig said. “We are going to give him what he wants and not get hit ourselves. Marquis can move. He can move like a 100-pounder.”
While Valentine’s bout has much more on the line, Hines’ fight is just as important to the hard-punching pugilist who is engaging in his second bout as a pro. As one of the undercard fights, Hines will be fighting Drew Colbert in the lightweight division.
Still in the “paying your dues” stage, Hines understands that it is a slow, arduous process, but one that he is committed to at this point. Because he is a late bloomer relative to the boxing world, Hines, 25, has a lot of factors against him but he is confident he can accomplish his goal of moving up the ladder.
“This is another stepping stone in my career,” Hines said. “Once I win this I can get on another card that is bigger and move on. I want to be a household name. I just want to establish my name in the boxing ring.”
Rettig describes Hines situation as unique in the sense that he is older and has not been through the mill but at the same time he is a “fresh professional.”
“He is basically going to have to go through the backdoor,” Rettig said. “He is going to have to do some tough fights and be the b-side but like we have done before we are going to do it the right way and that should not be a problem.”
Rettig added that because he does not have a prestigious pedigree in the ring and does not have a manager or promoter or sponsor, that Hines will have to fight for peanuts and prove his worth in hopes of attracting sponsors and better fights.
Hines battled in his first pro fight last July and Rettig said that was a big eye opener as far as his preparation and training.
“He won that fight but it was a tough fight,” Rettig said. “He didn’t train hard enough and he wasn’t in the best shape. He took it for granted because it was in Lima and could have gone either way. It wasn’t his best performance and he had a lot to think about but now he has really stepped it up.”
Rettig added that Hines also learned to take the initiative in and out of the ring.
Rettig said Hines is smart in the ring and packs a strong power punch and has the reach advantage over Colbert.
I have been really working, getting myself together and making sure everything is sharp,” Hines said. “I’ve been working on my conditioning. I am getting ready so I don’t have to get ready.”