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Lewis - Grant Report
Thomas Gerbasi

Too Big?  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 questionable.  The jury is definitely out on Grant.  Nice guy? Yes.  Ton of heart? Most definitely.  Future heavyweight champ?  Not likely.

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.

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