(Washed-up) celebrity deathmatch
In an odd pairing in the ring, the two former professional athletes will meet at "War at the Shore," a celebrity boxing match at the 5,500-seat Bernie Robbins Stadium in Atlantic City.
Approximately 4,000 fans are expected to show, bolstered by an undercard featuring actual pro fights. Cruiserweight
Sikahema, who played in the National Football League for eight years, will take on the nickname "Tongan Terror." Now a sports anchor for NBC-10 in Philadelphia, Sikahema stands only 5-foot-9 and weighs roughly 205 pounds -- more than 20 pounds heavier than his NFL weight.
But in the ring on Saturday, the 45-year-old faces an opponent with a nasty reputation and also a bigger body.
The 44-year-old Canseco owns a six-inch height advantage and is hoping to weigh in at 245 (though many agreed he appeared closer to 270 a month ago). In short, he's now a mini-blimp -- with a tan -- in comparison to the chiseled, supposed 240-pound juiced machine he was during his 17-year MLB career.
The pair will brawl bare-chested in three, two-minute rounds, wearing head gear and 14-ounce gloves. But the real curiosity of this strange event will be to see if Sikahema, someone with an actual boxing background (he had 80 amateur fights and fought in the Golden Gloves between from age 7 to 15), can knock out the bad boy of baseball. Canseco, Mr. 462 Home runs, claims he has a martial-arts background and is a black belt. He also claims he'll enter the ring clean Saturday and has been off steroids for some time.
The underlying "good guy vs. bad guy" theme for the matchup is obvious.
"Hey, I don't mind being the bad guy, I know there are a lot of people in baseball who'd like to see me get my ass kicked," said Canseco,
Even with the will and eagerness to prove himself -- with his words
"I have over six inches in height and more than 50 pounds on Sikahema," said Canseco. "I'm very strong and I'm still fast. He's going to be in trouble. I'm doing some sparring and stretching. I don't want to go in there and embarrass myself or get myself hurt. I've sparred and did stuff in the ring for a while. I'm taking this with some seriousness."
Sikahema, to the contrary, is taking it very seriously.
In preparation, the former running back/kick returner was running six to eight miles a day and sparring with
Though a two-time Pro Bowler, Sikahema is remembered by most sports fans as the Philadelphia Eagle who treated the Giants Stadium goal post as a punching bag after his 87-yard punt return for a touchdown in 1992. The Eagles won that game 47-34 on New York's turf.
"I'm not doing this to get embarrassed, either," Sikahema said. "I played pro football for close to a decade and I respect the fight game. I'll tell you the truth about Jose: He's a big guy who's never been in a fight before in his life. I grew up scrapping. I know what it's like to taste my own blood. He thinks he's tough? We'll see if he's tough, but tough without conditioning.
"A lot of people will be paying attention to this. This guy is a pariah of the sports world. If this guy thinks I've been sitting in a newsroom for the last 10 years and that I'm soft, while he's out there doing reality TV shows and writing books, he has another thing coming. There's ego here and pride. I have a job to come back to on Monday and he doesn't. How am I going to explain it to my viewers if I come back with a black-eye and didn't take care of business?"
Both Canseco and Sikahema will donate their purses to charity. Sources close to the event say that Sikahema will receive $25,000 for the fight, with $5,000 of it going to the family of fallen Philadelphia police officer
Canseco, who is in debt following two divorces, is rumored to be receiving $50,000 for the event.
Feldman tried to find a media buyer for bout, but turned down a myriad of offers. An Internet site offered to show the fight, but the promoter and the site failed to reach an agreement.
"It's not about the money," Canseco said. "I'm OK financially. This is all for charity. But I'm curious to see how this goes. If [all] goes well, maybe there'll be other opportunities and I'll continue doing it. But as for this fight, I'll win this easily."