Hoping to go out a winner

KIRK PENTON -- Sun Media

, Last Updated: 7:28 AM ET

Duke Roufus is about to become a full-time coach, so he would love nothing more than to deliver one final beating for the road.

The 37-year-old Milwaukee native will meet Brazilian beast Eduardo Maiorino de Morais in the main event of tomorrow's Colosseum V card at Winnipeg Convention Centre.

The fifth installment of King John Boxing's fight-night extravaganza, which features boxing, mixed martial arts, Muay Thai kickboxing and a tag-team pillow fight, begins at 7 p.m.

Roufus' three-round Muay Thai battle will be the final fight of his illustrious career, so he plans to make it a memorable one.

'HAD TO DO'

"It's one of those things that I just had to do," Roufus, a four-time world champ, said yesterday. "My last fight I won, but I didn't go out in the style and fashion I wanted to go.

"I just really want to put on an impressive performance -- definitely win, but I want to win in grand fashion, explosive, give the fans what they want."

Roufus has never fought in Winnipeg, but his connection to River City is that he trains local Muay Thai fighter Giuseppe DeNatale. Roufus said he's practically part of the DeNatale family, so he is "honoured" that his farewell fight is taking place in the 'Peg.

"I'm excited," he said. "There's a lot of great talent on the card, and there's going to be a lot of pageantry. I've been doing this a long time, so it's exciting when it becomes an event and not just a match."

Roufus, however, better keep at least one eye on his opponent, who was Brazil's K-1 champ in 2004, and is 10 years younger, two inches taller and six pounds heavier.

"I know I've got my work cut out, but that's why they put you in the hot seat," said Roufus, who will work the corner for Alan Belcher in Saturday night's UFC 71 card in Las Vegas. "The big fights don't happen if you don't fight anybody. It takes two guys to make a fight, and I want a true gladiator. That's what it's all about."

Tomorrow night's card is the last opportunity for Manitobans to see Joe (El Dirte) Doerksen fight at home, as the mixed martial artist from New Bothwell is preparing to compete exclusively on the UFC and PRIDE circuits.

Other local talent scheduled to step into the ring tomorrow night are Larry Sharpe, John McLean, Brooke Wellby, Codey Hanna and Billy Arnott (boxing), Eric Perez, Serge Rochon, Chris Fontaine and Rodrigo Munduruca (MMA), and Dave Zuniga (Muay Thai).

Official weigh-ins will take place tonight at Alive nightclub at 7 o'clock.


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