Lewis Too Much For Green Grant
It was billed as “Too Big”, but in five
minutes and 53 seconds, 6’5 Lennox Lewis proved to be too much
for 6’7 Michael Grant, as the undisputed (I know about the WBA,
who cares?) champion retained his title with a swift and brutal
second round knockout before a raucous crowd at New York City’s
Madison Square Garden.
After saying “God Bless” to his opponent
after the pre-fight instructions Grant (31-1, 22 KOs) looked to
baptize the champ at the opening bell, as he tried
to catch Lewis cold with one of an assortment of haymakers.
Lewis didn’t look too comfortable at being drawn out of
his usual lethargic pace, but he soon warmed to the task. After a couple of wild rushes by Grant ended up in clinches,
a right on the top of the head sent the 27 year old Grant to the
canvas. It was
Grant’s third trip to the canvas in his last two bouts.
The Norristown, PA resident made it to his feet, but
seconds later another Lewis right hand and a wild tangle of arms
and legs found Grant the
recipient of another count from referee Arthur Mercante Jr.
As the wild first round drew to a close, a vicious…you
guessed it…right hand dropped Grant as if he had been shot.
Amazingly, he made it to his feet and to the bell.
Between rounds, Grant’s trainer Don Turner
sounded like he was going to have a heart attack as he tried to
save his charge’s sinking ship.
It was to no avail. Grant’s
legs were still unsteady as the second stanza began, and Lewis was
now the aggressor, looking for the finisher as his opponent held
on for dear life. Late
in the second, Lewis found Grant’s head around his stomach area;
a split second later, with the help of a glove to hold his head
steady, Lewis had ended matters with a brutal right uppercut.
The end came at 2:53 of the second.
Lewis’ management team obviously saw a good
thing when Grant barely survived his fight against Andrew Golota,
and they moved mountains to make sure this fight happened.
It was the perfect fight for Lewis, a chance to blow out a
heavily hyped, unbeaten challenger.
Lewis did his job, and now will look towards a lucrative
fight with Mike Tyson, every heavyweight’s lottery ticket.
As for Grant, it’s been painfully obvious
to all but the most biased observers that the 6’7 giant is a
long way from being a top heavyweight.
He gets hit with punches that Butterbean could slip with
ease; his power is not anything to brag about; and I think that
after five knockdowns in two fights, his chin is somewhat
jury is definitely out on Grant.
Nice guy? Yes. Ton
of heart? Most definitely. Future
heavyweight champ? Not
In the night’s co-feature, camouflage-clad
Paul Ingle went to war with Junior Jones and almost left the
Garden ring without his IBF featherweight belt.
But luckily for Ingle, Junior Jones continues to be
“Poison” to himself, breaking hearts once again by snatching
defeat from the jaws of victory.
Jones, one of the most consistently
entertaining fighters in the sport for the last few years, took a
lead into the 11th round against the once beaten Ingle.
Jones’ weak stamina, legs, and chin made sure he didn’t
see round 12.
Ingle, a whirling dervish of a fighter,
stalked Jones from the opening bell.
But Jones, with new trainer Teddy Atlas in his corner,
established enough activity of his own between his left jab and
straight right hand. The
fight was close and entertaining through the first seven rounds,
with Ingle holding a slight edge.
After the seventh, Atlas gave Jones one of
his trademark pep talks, asking Jones if 15 minutes (5 rounds)
would be worth 20 years of hard work.
Jones obviously listened to Atlas, as he came storming out
of the corner in round eight.
After a solid eighth round, a straight right dropped Ingle
on the seat of his pants. The
crowd roared for the hometown kid, and Jones seemed to be on his
way to victory. But
as in all his losses, Jones’ chin and gas tank gave out.
A left by Ingle stunned Jones late in the 10th,
and in the 11th, the Englishman finished the job,
scoring one knockdown before a staggering Jones was rescued by
referee Steve Smoger at the 1:16 mark of round 11.
Junior, it’s time to hang ‘em up buddy.
You’ve given us too many great battles to put yourself in
harm’s way by continuing to fight.
In other undercard action:
Arturo Gatti made his welterweight debut by
decapitating another outmatched foe.
This time it was Indiana’s Eric Jakubowski who tasted
Gatti’s “Thunder”, losing via 2nd round TKO.
Speaking of thunder, heavyweight curiosity
Wladimir Klitschko made his Garden debut a successful one, wiping
out overwhelmed David Bostice in two rounds.
Three knockdowns in just over four minutes of action caused
referee Joe Santarpia to stop the mismatch.