George Foreman regained his world championship belt when he was 45-year-old.
Now, at a year older than that, local boxer and former Canadian heavyweight champ Ben Perlini’s hoping to do the same.
Perlini’s coach, Rob Lind, said a fight has been in the works for some time.
“It started when (promoter) Dan (McGarvie) called me about four or five months ago about Ben fighting in River Rock Casino,” he said.
“But he wanted it to happen in a month and there was no way we could get ready in a month.”
But Perlini said he’s always ready to step in the ring.
“The intensity at which I train is always 100 per cent every day,” the 46-year-old told the Gazette.
Perlini won the Canadian heavyweight title in April 1998. He lost it four months later when Nanaimo’s Shane Sutcliffe knocked him out during a bout at Montreal’s Molson Centre.
Although the former champ has heavy hands, Perlini’s professional record isn’t all that impressive; he won three of 10 fights, all by knockout.
However, he was knocked out in six of his seven losses.
Having said that, he did go the distance with former heavyweight champ Trevor Berbick, the last man to fight — and beat — Muhammad Ali, and the same boxer who lost the belt to a young Mike Tyson.
Perlini said he’s not after a heavyweight title. Instead he plans to fight at 195-lbs in the cruiserweight division.
“When I was in my 20s or 30s, I was fighting some pretty big guys. I mean the average (opponent) was 220-lbs, or 230-lbs,” said Perlini.
“I’m comfortable at 200 pounds.”
There’s no question Perlini still works out. He appears to be in tip-top shape and carries no visible fat.
But the fact remains he’s a 46-year-old fighter attempting to step back into a young man’s arena.
Lind argues Perlini is a natural-born fighter and has every right to step back in the ring.
“I’ve never seen a person train as hard as Ben trains — I mean for a man his age, he has the body of a 25-year-old,” said Lind.
“If anything, with a mixture of his experience and the strength he has now, I think that makes him a better fighter.”
McGarvie said he’s promoting a fight card in November and would love to see Perlini return to the ring, but that may take some doing.
“The thing to be concerned about is there will be a lot of red tape,” the promoter said from his Vancouver office.
“In Ben’s case, the big hurdle for him is most (boxing) commissions in North America want to see a guy his age have an annual MRI and I’m assuming his people will handle that.”
McGarvie said he’s more than happy to have Perlini involved in the upcoming card, “but there are a lot of ‘what ifs’” in the sport.
“Ben’s a strong guy, he’s a likable guy and people know the name, but the question at the end of the day will be: can he pass a medical?
“I’m pretty sure he can clear it, but if he doesn’t, he can’t fight.”
But Lind said he’s confident his fighter will make an impressive comeback.
“The first guy he meets in Vancouver, Ben will take him down in the first or second round — I guarantee it.”