|Poster boys: Moabi and Kriel|
After their Young Guns encounter I'll be rushing Thabo straight from the sold-out venue - assuming he's in one piece - to do the night shift as a merchandiser, packing shelves in the Colonnade shopping centre in Pretoria North.
Thabo is 24, born in Mamelodi East, with fast hands, a quick brain and perhaps the most ferocious stare I have seen in 35 years of post weigh-in hype.
Moabi knows he's supposed to lose tomorrow night, live on SuperSport (DSTV 207) at around 8.30pm. His predicted demise will also be seen in New Zealand, Australia, USA, Canada and Europe before the SABC show the ninth fight of his professional career "delayed live" on Friday night.
Kriel, signed up by promoter Rodney Berman's Golden Gloves and destined for greater things at the age of 20, has a record of 5-0. Defeat is not an option. Moabi, with eight professional fights, four losses and a draw, knows the odds are stacked against him but insists: "I've been in this position before. I know what to expect. He'll come at me, the crowd will be on his side. But I can jab, I'm tough. I can think on my feet."
|The stare: Thabo and Dee Jay at the weight-in|
"I can do this, I know Kriel has all the backing... but I'm going to surprise him. I've always been the guy everybody wants to fight because I'm not the biggest. But nobody wants to go in with me again after the first time."
Moabi's trainer, Jan Mathole, runs a gym from an open scrap of land between a school and a church on the dusty streets of Mamelodi. He's been looking after Thabo for 12 years and has a range of hardy battlers from the streets of Mamelodi under his wing.
But he has no gym. In a country awash with over-priced football stadia and expensive fitness centres, Mathole has been fighting a decade-long battle with the local council over his dream of building a boxing facility Mamelodi can be proud of.
"All over the world, there are boxing gyms in areas like the one where we live," says Mathole, "I have the equipment thanks to my employers (Jan works as a clerk at law firm Spoor & Fisher during the day) but every night we have to store it, we have no building.
"I get dozens of young fighters who want to train with me every day, at the weekends we are swamped by boys from this high (Jan holds his hand to his knee) to their 20s. But how am I supposed to train these boys without a gym?"
Tomorrow night, I'll be in Thabo's corner for his Junior Flyweight battle. Jan didn't have anybody else to help. The big-name fighters - Kevin Lerena of Oscar Pistorius trial fame and Deon Coetzee, the old heavyweight Gerrie's cousin - have teams of rugged gentlemen in attendance.
|Ready to rumble: Thabo Moabi makes the weight|
South Africa boxing is at is ever was. A battle of haves versus have-nots. I don't know if tiny Thabo - at 1.55m the same height as Lionel Messi - can beat Dee Jay tomorrow night, but it would be nice if he didn't have to go straight to work afterwards, if he had an actual gym to train in.
If there are any corporates or multi-millionaires out there who believe that Mamelodi deserves a well-appointed gym to pull young boxers off the streets, please contact me on email@example.com.
Otherwise, sit back and hope boxing will survive on hype and bluster, like our sports minister seems to believe. Floyd Mayweather has come and gone. The money never made it.