WORLD title contender Gary 'Spike' O’Sullivan had an operation for two busted eardrums following January’s fight with Mexican warlord Jaime Munguia in Texas.
The Leesider admitted that after the ether wore off from the operation that he was in excruciating pain.
But the 35-year-old insists his dream of becoming a world champion is still on track and reckons he can bring the big one back to the Rebel County.
O’Sullivan, who had Pakie Collins and Conal Thomas in his corner, lost his world title eliminator with Munguia in San Antonio after being stopped in the 11th round.
Unbeaten, Munguia, a former world light middle titlist who had moved up to middle for the first time for the O’Sullivan dust-up, repeatedly hit the Corkman below the belt in Lone Star State but was only shown boxing’s equivalent of a yellow card once.
The 23-year-old improved to 35 wins after the TKO, an impressive career stat for a fighter so young. But it wasn’t all way one traffic in San Antonio.
O’Sullivan returned enough fire in the middle rounds to trouble the heralded Tijuana native.
One hook from O’Sullivan rattled his opponent whose panicked corner had the look of a man who’d won the lotto only to discover that his ticket was in his jeans with the washing machine on full cycle.
O’Sullivan, who has only been beaten by current or former world champions in his career, dropped to 30 wins from 34 outings after the reversal.
His next stop could be on the Gennady Golovkin versus Saul Alveraz Canelo undercard in a world title eliminator later this year.
But with boxing scheduling on the ropes because of the coronavirus, it remains to be seen when where Golovkin and Alvarez will face off in the final instalment of their trilogy.
Both men have interim fights before they renew acquaintances, with Golovkin down to face Kamil Szeremata and Alvarez due to meet Billy Joe Saunders, who has beaten O’Sullivan in the past, in interim outings this summer.
But if those bouts are cancelled because of the coronavirus, they’ll go straight into their third showdown.
Alvarez drew with and beat the Kazakh who beat O’Sullivan’s fellow Munster fighter Andy Lee en route to gold at the 2003 World Amateur Elite Championships in Thailand.
The Covid-19 restrictions on gatherings are impacting on O’Sullivan.
But he’s staying in shape and keeping an eye on the scales.
“All the gyms are closed,” he said.
“I have the key to the boxing club, and I train by myself a couple of times a week.
“I bought a gym bike for the house.
“I usually wouldn’t work out in the house, but in the present circumstances, I thought, because of this, I bought the bike.
“I wasn’t doing too much training since the last fight. I had two-busted eardrums, and I had to take a break because of that. I was putting on a bit of weight.
“I went to New York for the screening of my film (Prizefighter).
“That was about two weeks ago. I was indulging in pizza and burgers, and all types of shite over there. I was putting on a bit of weight, and I had to get a grip and knuckle down.
“I train by myself in the boxing club, pretty much so. It’s the only option the way things are.
“You can’t do pads. You work the bags and do the weights, and when I get home, I get on the exercise bike and do some running.”
Meanwhile, British promoter Eddie Hearn has cancelled all of his shows for April, and May is also in doubt.
If the fight between Alvarez and Saunders doesn’t go ahead, the Mexican could cut straight to the chase and fight Golovkin in September.
“I think it (his next fight) could be in September, and it could be in the undercard of Triple G (Golovkin) and Canelo.
“I believe that is going to happen,” predicted O’Sullivan. “I’ll be aiming for that. This is Canelo versus Triple G three.
“That would be a massive fight for me, a world title eliminator or possibly a world title shot.
“For the first time, both of them were busted,” added O’Sullivan, reflecting on the operation on his eardrums and its painful aftermath.
“It was very painful, unbelievable. When I came back after the fight, about ten days later, I had to get an operation on both ears. When the anaesthetic wore off the pain was excruciating.”
O’Sullivan reminded us of what is missing because of the lockdown on sport; the banter between rival fans.
The Manchester United supporting puncher said, tongue in cheek, that he’d like to see the Premier League season shelved, to see the look on the faces of Liverpool fans.
“I hope the Premier League is cancelled this season,” laughed the Mahon orthodox.
“I have great banter with the Liverpool fans when I meet them about that, unbelievable,” he continued before adding that he’s a big fan of Anfield boss Jurgen Klopp.
“Liverpool has a fantastic side, and with Klopp, I believe they could dominate for the next few years.”
From improvised training and banter to boxing and football titles in the time of Covid-19.
O’Sullivan is very much in the mix ahead of the pursuit of a world title will continue in 2020 for the man who learned his trade as a stand out amateur at the Loughmahon BC.
He’s going to get the call for the big one again this year and he’ll be locked and loaded.
“I’ll be ready, no doubt about that,” he said.