May 29, 2014 at 1:00 am

At 43, Monroe's Bronco McKart still loves a good fight

Bronco
Bronco "Superman" McKart: 45-year-old boxer talks about his career and upcomming WBU Middleweight championship bout

Detroit — One fight.

That’s the length of the Bronco McKart farewell tour.

But he’s not quite ready for that fight.

The 43-year-old McKart has other plans, like a bout against Tony Harrison, a fighter 20 years younger and being groomed to chase a world middleweight title.

And he plans to, well, put up a fight. Boxing, after all, is not a hobby for McKart — it’s his passion.

“I take this seriously; it is not a hobby,” McKart said. “Golf is my hobby.

“I still feel great. I compete at a high level. If I didn’t, then I wouldn’t do this. I’m still boxing these young guys, 21 and 22 years old. What I can’t do physically I do it mentally because I’ve been around a long time.”

McKart won the WBO light middleweight title in 1996, but lost it to Ronald “Winky” Wright late that year. McKart, who would lose two more times to Wright, is 56-10 with 34 knockouts.

Tony Harrison enters the bout Friday at Cobo Center at 17-0 with 14 knockouts.

“I have never turned down a fight,” McKart said. “This is not a fight I picked. This is not a fight I expected. I am a fighter. This is what I do.”

Monroe is home

McKart appears to be a guy at ease with transitioning to the next phase of his life.

He no longer lives in the rough part of Monroe, and works as a chief union steward with the Monroe County Road Commission.

He also is putting out feelers to become a boxing analyst for ESPN, Showtime or HBO.

But, he insists he’s not hanging around because of financial troubles.

“What happens to a lot of fighters and athletes in general is you have the world handed to you,” he said. “Everybody takes care of you. And then if the money runs out and you did not invest wisely, you are too proud to go back and ask for a job in the community that took care of you.

“But I don’t need money for boxing. It’s just that I love being told that I can’t.”

McKart said he will let boxing go before he let’s go of his hometown of Monroe, a town of about 21,000 people 30 miles south of Detroit. He grew up on the east side in a mostly black neighborhood.

This is where he learned to be tough and stand up for himself.

Boxing seemed like an easy out.

“We were always looked at as less than where we grew up,” McKart said. “It was not a black or white thing. If you were from the east side, you were just viewed as less than from everybody else.

“Boxing gave me a way out mentally, but I never left. I try to unite everybody in the community. We are all the same no matter what color you are. We are the same people from the same city.”

And it’s in that same city where he began his quest for fame where he will end his career.

But that one fight will have to wait.

terry.foster@detroitnews.com
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Bronco McKart, a former light middleweight champion, takes a break at Joe's Boxing Gym in Monroe in his training to fight Tony Harrison. / David Guralnick / Detroit News