MICHAEL Hunter will be putting more than his body on the line when he returns to the ring at his beloved Borough Hall on Sunday.
He will be putting his reputation, possibly even his legacy, on the line when he fights durable veteran campaigner Sid Razak.
Hunter is the greatest boxer to come from Hartlepool – losing only twice in a glittering 32-fight career.
His two defeats have come at the highest level – his IBF world super-bantamweight challenge to the brilliant Steve Molitor was the last pro fight to take place at the famous Headland auditorium in November 2006.
Hunter’s career since has been stop-start. More stop than start and a fifth-round retirement against Jason Booth for the British and Commonwealth super-bantamweight belts was his final appearance in November 2009.
Now he is back and performing at his second home for the seventh time, though hopefully not the last.
A shock defeat or a poor performance could tarnish the image he built of being one of Britain’s most exciting fighters – even the “Hitman” Ricky Hatton was a fan.
“I wouldn’t be coming back if I thought I couldn’t perform,” Hunter told SportMail in an interview outside trainer Neil Fannan’s Brierton gym.
“I’m not back to prove anything to anyone, I don’t think I need to.
“I’m not back for titles, I’m very proud with what I’ve won in my career, and I’m not back for the money. I’m not rich but I have a job and try my best to provide for my family.
“The reason I’m back is that I want to box again, simple as that.
“I’m not aiming high, in fact, I’m not aiming for anything other than a good performance on Sunday.
“I just want six good rounds, for me and the fans.
“I want to entertain the people who have supported me down the years.
“Not once have we looked past this fight, you can’t do it.
“I know there could be a show at the Stadium of Light in the summer and what an occasion that would be.
“But there hasn’t been one word said about it.
“Sunday is the only thing on my mind.”
SEE Friday’s Mail for full story