“When you start boxing at a late age, life kind of overwhelms the gym,” 36-year-old Sanders said. “I had to get things in order and once I did get things in order, I felt like this is what I wanted to come back to. This is my love.”
“Mark really wants to see what he’s got and how far he can go,” trainer Barry Richardson said. “He’s a very talented guy.”
From 2007-09, Sanders fought at 154 pounds as a junior middleweight and posted a record of 3-3-1 while focusing on turning as few punches as possible into a victory.
“Before fighting at 172, he used to hit people and they would disappear,” Richardson said. “He was one of those one-punch knockout guys. Now since he’s fighting bigger guys, he might have to hit them a little bit more.”
“Before I took the break, I fought down at a lot lower weight class and I had a lot of power there,” Sanders said. “But as I’ve filled out and gotten a little bigger, the power is not there as much so now instead of feeling like I got that one KO punch I got to work on more or less an accumulation of shots.”
Sanders more than likely tried to utilize this game plan June 1 in Tampa against Radivoje Kalajdzic (6-0) but lost the decision unanimously in six rounds.
“I fought real good,” Sanders said. “I felt like I really won four out of the six rounds but it’s hard getting a decision in somebody’s hometown when they are the favorite. That’s how boxing goes a lot of the time. When you are on the road you got to knockout the guy. You can’t leave it up to the judges.”
Currently regrouping, Sanders is training five days a week at Metro Fitness in East Point and hoping to be back in the ring sometime next month. He also wants to be weighing 168 pounds by then and trusts Richardson will help him reach this goal.
“Barry is great technician,” said Sanders, who started training with Richardson in 2005. “He is a no-nonsense coach. He gets you where you need to be if you are willing to get there. He is going to give you 100 percent but you got to be willing to give him 100 percent.”