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Bruno on Boxing

Joe Bruno

News Item: Lennox Lewis makes White Buffalo extinct. While HBO stinks out the joint.
    After Lennox Lewis’ second round destruction of Frans “The White Buffalo (Buffalo Chip?) Botha, these questions beg to be asked. Has Lewis improved so much he is now to be considered as one of the all time greats in the heavyweight division? Or is the heavyweight division so lacking in talent, Lennox Lewis looks like Joe Louis by comparison?”

    The answer is undisputable. I really can’t say.

    From the opening bell it was obvious Botha was in way over his head. Unfortunately for Botha, Lewis punches weren’t way over his head too.

    The six-foot five-inch Lewis towered over the six-foot Botha, who staggered around the ring like a drunk from the start. A straight right in round one knocked Botha back and bucked the bow-legged Botha’s legs. In round two, Lewis landed a stiff left jab. Then he followed with a crisp right cross, a left hook and a devastating overhand right. All four punches landed flush, propelling Botha though the ropes and almost completely out of the ring.

    Botha pulled himself up to his feet at five. The referee Larry O’Connell took one look at Botha’s puffy and crossed eyes, and immediately stopped the fight. The time was 2:39 of the second round.

    After the fight all the talk was about Lewis fighting Mike Tyson, and rightfully so. As sad as it seems, Lewis-Tyson is the only fight out there that makes any financial, or promotional sense.

    “I think he should now put up or shut up. Simple as that,''  Lewis said of Tyson. Then he added with disdain, “He's not even the best in this era. He's turned into a circus show for me.''

    On HBO, color commentator  Larry Merchant (of Menace), once again failed miserably in his interrogation of a fighter after a fight. Merchant has an annoying habit of hesitating just before he’s about to ask a question, as if he trying to search for exactly the proper words to elicit the sagacious response the world is waiting for with baited breath. Three consecutive times Merchant prudently paused, then asked Botha questions relating to Lennox Lewis’ boxing ability. All three times Botha replied, “I just got caught.”

    In two fights, Botha has been KO’d by both Lewis and Tyson. But instead of pursuing this angle, Merchant paused again, then asked another puzzling question to which Botha again replied, “I just got caught.” 

    Larry,  what about Tyson ? Who does Botha think punches harder? Who does Botha think would win the fight. Does Botha give Tyson a snowball’s chance in hell? A Christian’s chance in a Roman Coliseum.

    Instead, Merchant thanked Botha for his riveting interview and he threw the ball back to Jim Lampley. Wonder if Lampley “just  caught” the ball too.

    Damn frustrating.

    In the opening fight of the non-competitive HBO fight card,  six foot seven-inch Russian Wladimir Klitschko toyed with inept  Monte Barrett  and floored him fives times, before Barrett collapsed to the canvas in round seven, blood spurting grotesquely from a cut over his right eye onto the canvas.    

    Golden Glove Sub Novice heavyweights have shown more ability than Barrett, and why this mismatch was put on a pay TV network like HBO is a question that begs to be asked. Barrett showed a lot of heart and mucho blood to the TV audience, but nothing more. Monte Hall would’ve been a better opponent for Klitschko. Maybe even Rona Barrett.

    The Russian Klitschko boxes like Ivan Drago, only not as deft. He moves around the ring like the Statue of Liberty, only not as quick. You get the idea.

    The bout was once big clinch and dreadful to watch. If fight cards like this are what we are to expect from HBO after the departure of vice president Lou DiBella, I think it’s time we turned to more competitive sporting events,  like wresting guru Vince McMahon’s new extreme football league. Maybe in McMahon’s new venture both teams will have a chance of winning, which was not the case Saturday night on HBO boxing.

    Then again, maybe we “just caught” HBO on a bad night. Spit happens.

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