Early on Friday I noted that Melvin Manhoef prides himself on being a brawler when he steps into the ring, rather than a cerebral fighter with a game plan. So that makes it especially interesting to note that Manhoef's opponent in Saturday's K-1 World Grand Prix in Seoul, Remy Bonjasky, prides himself on being a cerebral fighter who protects himself from knockouts -- and from the long-term brain damage that he fears suffering in the ring.
"I'm a thinker," Bonjasky tells K-1 announcer Michael Schiavello in the above interview. "You have to win the fight. If you win by points, if you win by knockout, both are good. The thing is, I don't want to get knocked out. I have two sons. I want to teach them math when I'm 40 or 50 years old. This is a game that is hard and not completely good for your health. After this I want to do something else where I use my brain. Getting knocked out is not the thing for me. I don't want that to happen. That's why I keep my guard up at all times."
Some fans and other fighters criticize Bonjasky as a boring fighter -- or even a coward -- because of that attitude. But I actually find it refreshing that a fighter is willing to openly acknowledge that he's concerned about getting knocked out, both for his short-term interests in winning a fight, and for his long-term interests in having a healthy and happy life after he retires.
Bonjasky vs. Manhoef will air at 3:30 AM ET Saturday on HDNet.