Pine Falls boxer Larry (Razor) Sharpe suffered his third consecutive loss in the ring on Thursday in Toronto, and it could signal the end of his career.
Sharpe lost by TKO in the 12th and final round against Colombia's Oney Valdez. The fight, which was the main event at the 24th annual Shaw Festival at the Royal York Hotel, was for the WBA Fedecentro light middleweight belt.
"It was a really close fight. It was a hell of a fight," John Vernaus, Sharpe's trainer and manager, said yesterday. "Larry did good, and the other guy came to win, I'll tell you. He was tough.
"... Larry did Winnipeg proud. The people loved the fight. They love Larry out there. A lot of people are disappointed, but that's the way she goes."
Sharpe won the Fedecentro belt at last year's Shaw Festival and owned it until October, when Valdez took it away after a split-decision victory at the Winnipeg Convention Centre.
Sharpe was hoping a victory in the rematch would lead to bigger pay days, but now he's left to ponder his future.
"A rough fight, a rough loss," Sharpe told Sun Media immediately after the bout. "I'm turning 35 next month, so this might be my last fight. I'm a father of three, my wife and I are both school teachers.
"I don't need this. It's something I do to test myself. If this is the end of the road, it's a little bit sad."
DOESN'T HAVE THE EDGE
Sharpe stayed behind in Ontario yesterday and couldn't be reached for further comment, but Vernaus expects him to continue his career.
The only difference is Sharpe will likely go back to being a 160-pound middleweight instead of a 154-pound light middleweight.
"He just doesn't have the edge anymore, because he's struggling to make that 154," Vernaus said. "He can't do it anymore. He's just getting a little too long in the tooth for that.
"It just zaps energy out of him. He's just not the same guy he used to be a couple years ago at that weight."
Weight has always played a significant role in Sharpe's life. He once tipped the scales at 246 pounds before taking up kickboxing and getting into shape.
When he switched to boxing in 2002, he was 190 pounds for his first fight. He trimmed 30 more pounds and won the Canadian middleweight crown in 2004.
Sharpe's first venture into light middleweight territory happened two years ago at the Shaw Festival, when he beat Bryon Mackie to capture the WBA North American Boxing Association belt in the weight class.
In the last year, however, Sharpe, who normally weighs between 168 and 172 pounds, noticed that it was getting more difficult to get down to 154. He and Vernaus actually talked about moving back to the middleweight division before Thursday's bout, so it's all but certain that will happen -- if he continues his career.
"I think he still wants to do it," Vernaus said. "He's gonna take some time off. He's suspended for 60 days, so he'll have a good long time to think about it."