EXCLUSIVE: Jimmy Manning, "I just want to go into my La-Z-Boy recliner and walk into the sunset"
With every passing day, the walls of Plymouth Memorial Hall stand in fearsome anticipation of what is destined to come. The loud and exciting ruckus inevitably caused by Cage Titans events. Only two weeks away, and even the insulation trembles in the wake. It may be fear that inhabits the structure known as Plymouth Memorial Hall, or simply a reverberation sustained and imbedded from previous Cage Titans events.
As one of Boston’s premier MMA promotions, Cage Titans has left an impression upon South Boston and New England’s regional MMA scene. Hard to say otherwise considering fighters such as, Mike Rodriguez, Nick Newell, Andre Soukhamtath, Kyle Bochniak, Devin Powell, Manny Bermudez, and Rob Font, fought under the promotions banner. Even yet, the list could be expanded by other notable fighters whom have competed for Cage Titans and not to mention, the numerous local legends whom draw loud crowds into the mezzanine and balcony seating.
Jimmy ‘The Tooth’ Manning is one of those locals. He also headlines the upcoming, Cage Titans 38 on April 14th, when he takes on Connecticut’s Dan Dubuque for the promotions vacant Lightweight Title. Manning will make the walk, undefeated in five professional bouts. With a ranking of 11th in the New England region (rankings by Tapology.com), he is not only of one South Boston’s favorite fighters, he is one of the most dominant as well. He will be no stranger to emotion of the moment as the Massachusetts native fought for Cage Titans in each of his five professional bouts.
Manning calls Norwell, Massachusetts’, South Shore Sport Fighting, home. In his own words he described the atmosphere by claiming, “It can be interesting on some nights. Especially when the whole teams there. There’s no easy rounds, I don’t want to even begin try to mention names because there’s a massive handful of gamers and there is even some guys in there that don’t fight or compete that are super tough rounds”.
He then continued to elaborate, “As a whole, it all starts at the top, Bill Mahoney (South Shore Sport Fighting, owner and head coach), he is an amazing, amazing MMA coach. He’s an amazing individual and I can’t say enough about him”.
In his description of the gym, he mentioned, “I have almost forgot what the place looked like, it’s been about a month and a half since I’ve been there”. Minuit issues outside the cage kept Manning away from the gym. Instead of trekking the hour commute, the Boston fighter tied up his training closer to home. Although he was forced away from his team, in what seemed like an entirety, he felt content with his training in preparation for the April 14th main event. Manning said, “I’ve been connecting all the dots and everything close to home and doing what I can”.
An extreme pace is what Manning is up against. His opponent, Dan Dubuque accrued 6 of his 7 professional bouts between 2016 and 2017. A rash of cancellations kept Manning’s opponent from continuing the frenetic pace, he set. ‘The Tooth’ respects his opponent, and the challenge he presents over the course of five rounds. He said of his opponent, “I expect my opponent to be super technical, he’s going to move around a lot. I wouldn’t even be surprised if he charged right at me because he knows how I like to fight, I like to just get right into it. But he’s not the right type of opponent that I can do that to because I really don’t want to be wasting any steam. He’s super tough and super durable… You don’t want to play catch-up with a fighter of his caliber and his background, experience. If I see an opportunity to finish, 100% I’m going to take 300% advantage of it, I’m not so sure that’s his game plan because (of) his track record. The way he wins and losses, speaks for itself, he’s super technical, (and) he wants to control the pace”.
This is not South Shore Sport Fighting’s first encounter with Manning’s opponent, Dan Dubuque. Fellow team member, and newly signed UFC Bantamweight, Manny Bermudez, defeated Dubuque by unanimous decision in January of 2016, at Cage Titans 27. Manning received insight from his teammate. In wanting to gather as much insight on his opponent as possible, Manning was told by Bermudez, “he was very frustrating and he was very good at controlling the pace and the distance and doing things when he wanted to do them. I think that to me is probably going to be the biggest challenge for me. Cutting angles, and controlling distance and timing”.
April 14th, provides a great opportunity for Manning. People rarely get decide when aspects of life end. Not in every, but in many circumstances, there is not much individuals can control outside of themselves and their actions. Athletic endeavors inherently hold opportunities of choice. Every athlete has the option to end their journey, or inversely, continue past any obstacle or barrier placed in front of them. Success is not in the majority of the latter, yet it is still an option, and while these choices are viable at any turn, most do not make them. Manning plans to do so.
The man known as, ‘The Tooth’, retorted, “I just want to go into my La-Z-Boy recliner and walk into the sunset and get on with life, and life’s responsibilities, at 41 years of age”. With a bit of pause, he added, “It’s going to be a good cap to an amazing career”.
“I’m shooting for this one to be my last... when I win the title, it’s going to be hard not to defend it. But, that was my main goal, win a pro title. Every true champion defends his title, I mean, I’m not winning it from somebody, I’m fighting for it. It’s a vacant title. And somebody else is fighting for a vacant title so it’s not like I’m taking it from somebody… This is probably going to be the last one. So people get you’re tickets, don’t miss this one”.
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