By KEVIN JAKAHI
Tribune-Herald sports writer
Dave “Mad Dog” Motta and David “Hurricane” Carter are two old pitbulls chewing on the same steak bone — each waiting for the other to let loose, roll down some long hill, and be gone for good.
It’s not that the two dislike each other. Hurricane said, “We’re cool.” Mad Dog was equally friendly. “We’re good,” he obliged.
However, bring up the touchy subject of the Toughman Hawaii masters division title and the temperature rises in both. There’s only one belt but each strongly believes he’s the champion. Motta’s eyes start jumping around like a Mad Dog. Carter’s feet and hands start dancing like a Hurricane.
Mad Dog meets Hurricane in a trilogy boxing match for the Toughman Hawaii belt, to be settled once and for all, or at least until someone demands a rematch, tonight at the Hilo Civic battleground, where the barking stops and the drainage of blood will help determine a victor.
The event is Toughman Xtreme, a combination of kickboxing, boxing, mixed martial arts and xtreme kickboxing with the use of MMA gloves, to be donated to the fighters by promoter Wally Carvalho, who put up two other title bouts on the card.
Riquo Abadilla will kickbox DJ Caseria for the vacant Toughman 121-pound flyweight title, and Matt Majamay will engage Kenzin Santos for the junior division belt.
“He’s tough, quick and very similar to me,” Abadilla said. “We’re both coming off losses and it’ll come down to who wants it more, who’s hungrier.”
Abadilla lost to Oahu’s Chad Pavao, who picked up points and then played defense, for the Toughman 130-pound junior lightweight title in September in a five-round decision.
“My cardio is good and I’m looking to come out with a win,” Abadilla said. “Mainly, I want to come out and fight. I can enjoy the belt after.”
In a pro non-title kickboxing match, Toby Misech will throw down against Oahu’s Mike Balasi, who won in a boxing bout three years ago between the two.
“I’m really excited and can’t wait for the rematch,” Misech said. “I thought I did good in that last fight. I lost to myself. I was dehydrated and didn’t put the weight back on right.”
That first fight was at 147 pounds and Misech had to cut 10 pounds. Now, he’s usually at 145 pounds, the featherweight class in MMA. Against Balasi, it’s a 155-pound bout.
“I want to stick and move and be aggressive and come at him hard. I’m feeling really good,” said Misech, whose next MMA fight is January in Guam.
Meanwhile, Carter is on a comeback of sorts. He last fought eight years ago, losing a Toughman battle to Mike Aina. But Hurricane emphatically stated that he’s still 4-0 in title fights.
“I beat Motta three times. That’s my belt. I never lost the belt,” Hurricane said of Motta’s title, which he won last year over Anthony Pagan. “I heard about the return of the Toughman champions and that’s why I decided to come back and defend my title, which they took away from me.”
In that long ago Toughman tournament, Carter’s title belt went missing, he was asked to replace it, didn’t and was eliminated from competition, according to Carvalho.
“Dave Motta has the new title and that old title is gone,” Carvalho said. “We’ll put an end to it and figure out what’s what on Saturday night.”
As Hurricane remembers it, he beat Mad Dog three times, including twice in title fights. He’s 3-0 against Motta and credits his length as a sharp edge. Carter is a rangy 6-1 while Motta is a well-trimmed 5-8 bolt of energy.
“My jab was key. It was all decisions,” Carter said. “I think I have to KO him because he has the belt. Even though I beat him three times I’m going in as underdog status with the judges.”
It’ll also be a family affair for Carter, whose son Dayson, 13, will make his first fight.
“I feel good and ready,” said the Keaau eighth grader. “I train every day and I really like training. I want to fight like my dad and give it a try.”
A belt is more than something to wear around Carter’s waist.
“It would make my son and family proud,” he said. “I’m proud because I know what it is. I’m doing this for him to give him encouragement. No matter, win, lose or draw, I know I beat him (Motta) three times.”
Mad Dog has a different recollection of such matters.
“I thought I won every single one,” he said. “I didn’t have a scratch and he had a bloody nose. I knocked him down. I’ve been training for a couple of years. I’ve been training hard.
“We’re performers and have to do our best for the people, put on a good show. I’ll do what I have to do.”
Motta looks like he’s in great shape. He’s not all that tall, but he’s a short package of muscle. He was a stick-and-move artist against Pagan, showing great endurance and quick-hit attacks.
Carter is counting on his length as a weapon of choice and a defensive perimeter. His hope is to catch the mobile Mad Dog in a corner and unleash a Hurricane of fist-flying fury. The cat-and-mouse game will produce suspense.
But there’s one thing for certain: It’s on.
“He asked for the fight and I’m not scared of nobody,” Motta said. “I’ll fight anybody and good luck to him.”