"Ice T" Looking To Mix At 168 lbs

by Vince Caruso

Manhood: It's an ingredient not every man has. While some are born with it, others must work at it's development. For NABF super middleweight champ Thomas Tate, his boxing career is a feeling of having achieved, lost, and regained.

Tate burst into boxing while his champion for a minute brother Frank was on the slide. He started his life as a professional fighter with 22 straight victories until being dealt a controversial decision loss to Percy Harris in Italy. Next up, Tate would engage WBC 160 lb. champ Julian Jackson in 1992. Going in, most thought Thomas would ground "The Hawk."

It didn't happen as Tate got the short end of a heartbreaking decision loss. The setback would make Tate almost totally void of motivation. And yet he kept fighting. But more importantly, "Ice T" was still winning.

He would get another shot at redemption when he challenged undefeated Roy Jones Jr. for Jones' IBF 160 lb. diadem. The pre-fight hype was all about Tate as he painted a picture of himself on HBO as being Jones' toughest test to date. After all Thomas felt he had more than enough speed and the power to see himself defeating the IBF boss.

That picture was water based and Jones packs a mean fire hose. Thomas was blown out by the Florida native in two ugly rounds. With three defeats now on his ledger, Thomas found himself looking up from the bottom of the 160 lb. weight class.

After a year off, he would come back as a super middleweight and shock previously undefeated prospect Joseph Kiwanuka. For Tate, he had regained his manhood. And in the business, "Ice T" was now more than just some veteran opponent.

That feeling didn't last long as Tate suffered a decision loss to toughman turned boxer Rocky Gannon, before losing to Italian Silvio Branco eight months later.

Like a car thief in the night, Tate's confidence, will to win, and pride were all stolen. That was until Philly promoter J. Russell Peltz came calling for Thomas to meet Kiwanuka in a return bout. This was seen by many as Kiwanuka's shot at redemption. Thomas had other plans.

Tate then went into Philadelphia's legendary Blue Horizon and did the unthinkable by knocking the Ugandan nearly dead. Ring center in the Blue Horizon stood "Ice T." He was coming off three straight loses and he had just drilled a guy who some thought was invincible. Yes. There would be another page to add to "Ice T's" book of victories.

At we sit, the 168 lb. division doesn't have the big names that carried it a year ago. Gone are Jones, Micahel Nunn and Vinny Pazienza. They've been replaced by Charles Brewer, Joe Calzaghe and Richie Woodhall. With high ranking contenders like ancient wonders Herol Graham and Thulane Malinga, the 168 lb. weight class for lack of a better word, sucks.

The time is perfect for Tate to make a move. If you couple his performance against Kiwanuka along with his skills, Tate could be the man who can mop up the super middleweigth division.

Light punching WBC guy Woodhall doesn't have the experience to handle "Ice T" while Brewer's chin can crack like china at anytime. As for, WBO beltbearer Joe Calzaghe. He won't come across the pond.

Say what you want about Thomas Tate's life as a fighter. You just can't ever count the man they call "Ice T" out.

Vince Caruso

The writer can be reached at surtom@aol.com

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