‘Everyone loves a puncher,’ Pat Magee smiles knowingly when asked why he elected to manage Philip Sutcliffe Jr.
However, while like most fans, Magee might be a sucker for a sucker puncher the Belfast manager/promoter is too smart to align himself with a fighter who packs a punch and no more.
The man who proved instrumental in former British,European and World Champion Brian Magee’s career is aware Sutcliffes heavy hands might attract fans and tv interest, but he knows it will take quality to get to the top
And when pressed further the Belfast man predicts the Dubliners talent will ensure a somewhat meteoric rise.
Magee plans to have the former senior champion and irish international fighting for European honours within 18 months.
Speaking to Irish at the National Elite Championships, the tournament where he first spotted the undefeated Dubliners talents, Magee said.
“I followed Philip’s amateur career closely and it is obvious to all he is a big puncher and that is a big thing in the pros. I always felt he had the attributes be a top pro. He has won his first five fights quite easily and I think within 18 months he could be a content for a Europe title.”
“I think he is that good. He will have his first fight at the be of May or early June and we will build from there. I am really excited about working with young Philip. I really think he is the business and he can go all the way.”
“I can get him through the next four or five fights and if he continues to show the punching power he has TV will be interested. Whether it is TV here or abroad remains to be seen. There is always room for a puncher.
Since turning pro Sutcliffe has displayed his ‘Succo punch’ twice in Belfast, twice in Dundalk and once in his home town of Dublin, but Magee would like to establish a fan base for the light welterweight in the capital.
“I would like to establish a base for him in Dublin and I think there is a case for that. With the Sutcliffe name and the reputation his father (Crumlin coach and former Olympian) has I think we can build a fan base here. You can’t get away the fact he is a puncher and everyone loves a big puncher. Bernardo Checa will also play a part in his training regime I am not going to change what is going on at the moment training wise, but Bernardo can bring experience in terms of world title fights at pro level and some world class knowledge.
Sutcliffe has had trouble with his hands over the years, but went under the surgeon’s knife to get it sorted recently. Magee claims the problems are healed but was keen to stress when your hands are heavy the are most likely going to hurt on occasion.
“All punchers have to take care of their hands. The problem has been fixed and we will manage the hands, that’s boxing if you hit hard you can get sore hands. It isn’t a major issue and are not going to hold him back that’s for sure.”