TRAINER Neil Fannan today insisted he was not throwing David Dolan into a British championship hiding.
Dolan is challenging Jon Lewis Dickinson for the cruiserweight title at Houghton on Friday, February 15.
Some boxing observers predict it will be a one-sided fight – Dickinson already boasts a Northern Area belt win over his Sunderland challenger in the summer of 2011.
And pundits are not shy to point out that Dickinson is now even better while Dolan is now 33 and past his prime.
But Fannan said: “I wouldn’t have accepted the fight if I didn’t think he could acquit himself fully.
“There is nothing in it for me financially and I wouldn’t embarrass either myself or Dave by agreeing to it if I didn’t think he couldn’t win.”
It would be a major shock if Dolan were to overturn the odds against Birtley’s Dickinson, who lifted the title last October with a landslide points success against Shane McPhilbin.
Fannan is honest enough to admit the former Commonwealth Games gold medallist is the outsider but believes Dolan will “give it everything he’s got”.
The trainer said: “It is Dave’s last fight unless he does something special. It is all down to one question: ‘has Dave got anything left?’.
“A few people have said that Dave has already lost to him, and Jon Lewis is a better boxer now.
“I would have to agree. But we were offered the fight, what do you do? Wait? Take a six rounder and bow out that way?
“Me and Dave Dolan have been at this a long time and we are realistic – he has an outside chance.
“Every trainer would tell you that they prefer their man to be the underdog because no one gives them a chance – Dave is the underdog.
“He did not perform well against Jon Lewis when they fought for the Northern Area belt.
“I am honest and I would have to say it looked like an up-and-coming boxer beating a shot fighter.
“Dave says he thought he won that contest, but I say he didn’t.
“He says ‘I’ve watched the DVD and I thought I’d done enough’ but he won’t include me in those conversations.
“Dave knows my view and that’s Jon Lewis controlled the fight and deserved his victory.
“I won’t alter my opinion just because they are fighting now. I am not going to start talking it up as being dead close, I’ll answer all the stuff honestly.
“I know Dave’s ready to give it everything he’s got.”
I was at Fannan’s Hartlepool gym to see Dolan being put through a punishing schedule.
And there is no lack of effort being put in by the boxer, who has won two four rounders in Hartlepool and Sunderland since the Dickinson defeat.
“I think the rest has done him good,
he’s looked fresh,” said Fannan. “He’s shaved times off his sprints and he’s working his guts out in the gym.
“I can’t ask any more of him.”