Sharpe as a Razor

ADAM WAZNY, STAFF REPORTER

, Last Updated: 10:31 AM ET

His craft is being pushed into the shadows, making way for the mixed martial artists, but there is no question where the likable Larry Sharpe stands with the pugilistic public in this town.

'Razor' is still the attraction. He's the guy everyone roots for. He commands the most attention and is the one fighter who pulls the increasingly educated MMA viewing audience away from their spirited conversations and draws focus to the ring.

The response he receives -- this time at the Winnipeg Convention Centre for the multi-faceted card of Colosseum IV -- shows his popularity in this community is widespread.

At 32, the Pine Falls family man's profile is about to grow again.

Sharpe has signed on to face Bryon Mackie at the Shaw Festival on April 18 in Toronto, fighting the Orangeville, Ont., native for the WBA Intercontinental belt and a Top 10 ranking in the middleweight division.

DESERVED BETTER

Sharpe lost a split decision to Mackie back in November, a ruling he had a problem with.

So did the Toronto-based promoters, who thought Sharpe deserved a better outcome and signed the local lefty up.

Originally slated to box a Venezuelan fighter, a series of events landed Sharpe back in the ring with Mackie -- a rematch the former kickboxing champ wanted.

"I guess I wasn't the only one that thought I won that fight," the 163-pounder said prior to his sixth round TKO over Minnesota's Chris Holt in the boxing main event last night. "I thought I beat Mackie last time and I'm going to train even harder, because I want to get that fight back."

The problem Sharpe has now is the timing of the April bout.

After the necessary recovery time from the Holt fight, there will be about 12-13 weeks until the Mackie bout, a difficult stretch of days to manage for a boxer.

He could try to squeeze in another opponent, something manager John Vernaus wants to explore, but Sharpe has other ideas. He doesn't want to risk not being 100% ready for Mackie.

"I could get cut or hurt," said the patient Sharpe, who is 17-4 with six knockouts. "Realistically, I don't think there will be another fight (before April 18). If I take more time and focus on a longer training camp, it will benefit me more than getting in the ring right away."

And tough training is something Sharpe is really enjoying these days. Having just returned from a two-week sparring stint in Montreal, as a part of the Lucien Bute (super welterweight) camp, the local fighter figures he can find just as many positives training with a world class specimen like Bute.

"Just training with him has made me that much better," Sharpe said. "The quickness, the combinations ... some days, it was rougher than some of the fights I've had."

FACE TIME: Colosseum IV was live to tape last night and will be available across North America at a future date. John Vernaus, the man behind Friday's King John promotion, used that as a carrot for the fighters at the weigh-in Thursday night. Only the best, most competitive battles would be a part of the show.


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