The former Oakland A’s slugger is fighting seven-foot-two 330-pound super heavyweight Hong Man Choi of South Korea on the Dream 9 card Tuesday night at Yokohama Arena.
“I’m not gonna lie to you: I’m scared. This guy is huge,” Canseco said Monday at a news conference to promote the fight. “I’m a 44-year-old rookie and have had a lot of challenges in my baseball career and hopefully, I can do well tomorrow.”
Canseco, who hit 462 home runs over 17 seasons in the major leagues, has had several fights inside the ring since leaving baseball but has never taken on professional fighters like Choi, who has a 1-2 record in MMA.
“I have a lot of respect for these guys,” said Canseco, who stands 6-foot-4 and weighs 240 pounds. “A lot of baseball players are fans of mixed martial arts and so am I.”
He boxed Danny Bonaduce, a former “Partridge Family” child star, to a draw in a celebrity match in January. The 1988 AL MVP, who named alleged steroid abusers like himself in his two books, lost to former Philadelphia Eagle Vai Sikahema in his first foray into celebrity boxing.
Mixed martial arts is hugely popular in Japan and organizers are expecting a sellout crowd for Tuesday’s event. Former NFL lineman Bob Sapp is also on the card.
By his acknowledgment, the baseball outcast needs the money. It’s one reason why Canseco has accepted a wide variety of offbeat jobs to make ends meet.
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