Anthony "The Bullet" Bonsante always asserted that when he stepped out of the ring for the final time that that was it, his pro boxing career was done.
In his most recent fight, in March 2009, Bonsante lost by TKO in the third round to challenger Andy Kolle at Grand Casino Hinckley, surrendering his Minnesota middleweight title. After the loss the Crosby-Ironton High School graduate announced his retirement, departing with a 32-11-3 record.
But the personal life of the logistics supervisor at Kmart in Shakopee has changed and he plans to return to the ring Saturday night against Bobby Kliewer on the "Season's Beatings" card at the Target Center.
"I always gave boxers crap, saying they were going to retire and they came back," Bonsante said. "I was ready to stay retired, but me and my fiancee split up, I have a lot of anger and aggression and I have to get it out of my system.
"And, now I can say I fought in five decades."
Bonsante, who turned 40 in October, isn't concerned about the possible side effects of boxing for 15 years as a professional and many years before that at the amateur level.
"I know what will happen in this fight," he said. "I know maybe it's vain of me to say, but I know what my ability is and what I'm going to do. There's always a chance I could get hurt, but I could have fallen out of my deer stand, too.
"In boxing, you know the other guy is going to try and hurt you. Long-term, there's always a possibility I could have brain damage or I'm slurring my words, but I've been fighting for 30 years and I haven't had a problem yet. I took an EEG (electroencephalogram, a graphical record of electrical activity of the brain) and they said everything was fine. I'm not worried about it."
Kliewer, who's from Maplewood, is 10-12-2 with five knockouts. According to MinnesotaBoxing.com, he has fought "almost exclusively undefeated prospects around the nation over the last two years and put up strong and courageous performances in the process."
"He's about 6-1," Bonsante said. "He's a dangerous, fighter but he's a .500 fighter. He throws big, wide punches. He doesn't care who you are, he's going to try and beat you. I know it's a dangerous fight, but I figure with the amount of aggression and motivation I have I don't care if he has a baseball in his hand. That wouldn't stop me."
Bonsante said he's been training for about seven weeks and had to lose about 50 pounds to reach the super middleweight classification (168 pounds).
"To tell you the truth, now that I'm 40, weight loss is the hardest part," he said. "I started out at 208. I've got to weigh in at 168.
"Fortunately, I get to weigh in Friday. I will have 24 hours to replenish, not my weight, but at least my energy and stamina.
"I've been sparring at Upper Cut in Minneapolis and it's been going very well."
Mike Bialka, sports editor, may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or at 855-5861.