Duke Fears Heavy Going for Lennox

By Smith, David | The Evening Standard (London, England), June 20, 2003 | Go to article overview

Duke Fears Heavy Going for Lennox


Smith, David, The Evening Standard (London, England)


Byline: DAVID SMITH

LENNOX LEWIS may pay a heavy price for piling on the pounds before his world heavyweight championship defence here.

That was the warning sounded today by Duke McKenzie, the first British boxer to win world titles at three different weights.

McKenzie was shocked when he saw 37-year-old Lewis weigh-in at a career heaviest 18st 4lbs. That was a hefty eight pounds more than Ukrainian challenger Vitali Klitschko who, at 6ft 8ins, is easily the taller of the two men.

Just as significant, London-born Lewis was three pounds heavier than when he suffered his last defeat, against Hasim Rahman in April 2002, and seven pounds heavier than when he demolished Mike Tyson last June.

McKenzie, a former flyweight, bantamweight and super-bantamweight champion, believes Lewis has been caught napping by the late change in opponent.

Lewis's original ring rival was to have been Kirk Johnson but the Canadian, regarded as not being in Lewis's class, pulled out with a torn muscle.

The bigger, and more dangerous, Klitschko was drafted in as challenger for the World Boxing Council's title and McKenzie, who will be at the Staples Center for BBC Radio Five Live, said: "This fight could be very detrimental to the Lennox Lewis legacy.

"Lennox has come in at his heaviest weight ever, and that is not a good sign. It is poor preparation.

He believed that he had the beating of Kirk Johnson and he stepped off the gas a little bit. But now he's got a different opponent and you can't retrain in such a short space of time. There is only one real way that Lennox can secure a victory: he has to jump on Klitschko quick, to get him out of there in the first four rounds.

"After that, the fight becomes more difficult for Lennox. The longer it goes, the more you've got to fancy Klitschko.

"If Lennox jumps on this guy like he jumped on Michael Grant and Andrew Golota, the two other big men he's fought, then the dance will be done. He walks away and he silences all the critics.

"But Klitschko looks in good shape and he's confident. It doesn't matter if he lacks the ability of his brother, Wladimir. …

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