By Clive Bernath: Unless you’re a diehard boxing fan you will never have heard of Birmingham welterweight Peter Buckley. He has never fought for a major title, or been fortunate enough to have reached top of the bill status.
The chances are, though, that if you have ever attended a professional boxing card anywhere in Britain, you will have seen him in action, though may not have realised it. The highly touted Ricky Hatton may be topping Saturday’s card at the MEN Arena, Manchester against American Vince Phillips but it will be Buckley who, for once and very much deservedly so, who will be centre of attention when he takes part in his 200th professional record breaking contest against Coventry’s Baz Carey.
Other British fighters have come close to achieving that incredible milestone in recent times including Dean Bramhald (163) and Seamus Casey (164) but only 34 year-old Coleman is destined to reach it.
Buckley’s career stats of 28 wins, 162 losses and nine draws, do not begin to tell half the story about this incredible fighting man from the Midlands. In a 14 year career that started with a six round draw against Alan Baldwin in October 1989, Buckley has faced 10 world champions, five European and 11 British titleholders and been stopped just 10 times.
Acelino Frietas, Naseem Hamed, Duke McKenzie, Colin McMillan, Paul Ingle, Michael Brodie and Scott Harrison are just a few of the more high profile names on his record.
Buckley himself has probably lost count of the amount of times that he has stepped in to save a show at just an hour or so’s notice but one story, long time trainer Nobby Nobbs can vividly remember was when Buckley stepped in to face then Commonwealth super-featherweight champion Alex Moon, with just hours to go before a televised show was to begin, in February 2002.
I got a phone call saying that an opponent had fallen out at the very last minute, remembers Nobbs. It was a tv show and they needed someone immediately. Peter did not hesitate; he did not even ask what the money was. He was off in his car and to the venue. He really does love the sport, he’s a great pro.
You would have thought the 34 year-old Midlander would have picked up a fair few injuries in 200 fights and against such quality opposition but Nobbs, who has been in Buckley’s corner for all but two of his fights, insists his man has never picked up an injury.
Do know what, said Nobbs That Peter Buckley has never had one stitch in his entire career, not one. And you know what else? He has never moaned about the money he’s getting paid or who he fights. I have only ever had to turn down one fight for him over the years and that was because he had flu.
I would say out of the 200 fights, he has had probably around 30 genuine tough fights. He knows his way around a ring and nowadays he old man’s a lot of the young ones out of fights.
Without the likes of the Peter Buckleys of this world, many promoters throughout the country, both big and small, would have a job filling their cards. Nowadays Nobbs has down graded Peter to first division status, where he ‘takes around’ many of the new pros that will eventually aspire to championship status.
Like any good footballer, when they get to a certain stage of their careers they step down a league and play mostly off their experience. I have don the same with Peter over the last couple of years, said Nobbs.
It is indeed an incredible achievement by anyone’s standard to reach the 200 mark. Quite where Buckley’s amazing boxing career will end depends on him.
I must have seen Peter fight more than 50 times, live, over the years. He is often shoved on either first when only the very hardcore of fans are in attendance or last, when all but the opposing fighter’s following or board of control inspectors are left.
And I wish I had a pound for every time I heard a boxing writer sneer, ‘oh no not that Buckley again’.
On Saturday when he turns out against Carey, wouldn’t it great to see Buckley fight just before Hatton comes out to do battle with Phillips?
Long may Peter Buckley continue to ply his trade in British rings. He is indeed a fabulous role model for the sport of boxing. Hopefully when he does eventually hang up his gloves he will turn to training fighters. He has surely amassed a wealth of experience that is too precious to keep to himself.