Lennox Lewis proves he can fight

It was quick and exciting! Even though it lasted just under six minutes, Saturday's heavyweight title fight in Madison Square Garden had more excitement and action than most heavyweight title fights have if they go all 12 rounds.

This one went seven seconds under two rounds and during that brief time period, Michael Grant went down four times in his unsuccessful attempt to grab the heavyweight title from Lennox Lewis - the last knockdown ending the fight.

There's no point in rehashing the details other than to say Grant did hit Lewis a couple of times early in the opening round before getting pounded to the canvas for the first time.

Down two more times in that round, Grant showed he doesn't take very well. With Lewis half-holding Grant's head, he threw a right uppercut that finished off the job in an impressive performance by the English champion.

Grant, who is trained by Don Turner - who trained Henry Akinwande at the Ormsby House a few years ago - is from Norristown, Penn. He suffered his first defeat in his career and is now 31-1.

Lewis, who, in my opinion, just made himself "saleable" in America with that showing, is now 36-1-1 and clearly the real heavyweight champion of the world no matter what phony titles others fight for.

I heard this fight "didn't sell well," either at the gate or on pay-per-view T.V. but his next fight will. Lewis has been criticized for "being too cautious and boring" in the ring but that has changed. Ringside commentator and former champion George Foreman said it best.

"He fought like an American tonight."

Lewis' next opponent will likely be David Tua, although we all know the money is in a Mike Tyson fight for Lewis. Trouble is Tyson hasn't shown anything even respectable in his last few fights to warrant a title shot and his latest proposed fight against Lou Savarese has been postponed a couple of times and is now set for June 20 at a location not yet named. If Tyson can impress with a win there and another quick win or two while Lewis disposes of Tua, Tyson and Lewis could "get it on" before the end of the year or early next year.

Lot of "ifs" there, however ...

- The PPV telecast opened with a heavyweight fight for the phony WBA inter-continental title (whatever that means) between Wladimir Klitschko and David Bostice.

It was a preview of things to come as Klitschko, who is from Kiev, Ukraine, had Bostice down four times in two rounds.

Bostice, from Mesa, Ariz., was down twice in round one and twice again in round two before it was stopped by the referee at the 1:27 mark of round two. Klitschko is now 33-1 with 31 KOs while Bostice fell to 22-2-1 with 12 KOs.

Another second-round knockout before the main event took place in the next fight up when Arturo Gatti took out Eric Jakubowski 40 seconds into round two.

Gatti (32-4, 27 KOs), from Jersey City, N.J., had plenty of local fans there to root him on. But he didn't need the help as Jakubowski (20-6 with 4 KOs, which shows he has no power), from Whiting, Ind., was a late sub (and a late sacrifice) for Gatti. The fight was in the welterweight division (147-pound limit) and Gatti had his foe down in round one from a left hook to the jaw and out in round two.

There was one other fight on the telecast and it was good!

England's Paul Ingle retained his unheard of IBO featherweight (126-limit) title against Junior Jones, who is from Brooklyn, N.Y. The action-packed fight saw Ingle go down in round nine, recover from that to pound Jones into submission at the 1:16 mark of round 11 when an exhausted Jones basically gave up.

Jones (47-5 with 27 KOs) shot his wad in that ninth round when he tried to finish off the elusive Ingle, but when he couldn't, he was through and both he and Ingle knew it. Jones tried to hang on to the end, but he couldn't and would have lost by decision anyway if he did.

It was an entertaining fight.

- Strange doings in the main event of the Friday night ESPN2 card. The live card came from the Foxwoods Resort in Ledyard, Conn. The main event was between Dana Rosenblatt (36-1, 23 KOs) and James Crawford (31-2-1, 13 KOs), scheduled for 10-rounds in the super middleweight (168-limit) division.

After a nice first round that showed this was going to be a good fight, an accidental head butt between the two fighters in round two resulted in a bad headache for Crawford, a bad cut for Rosenblatt, and that was that.

The ringside physician would not allow the fight to continue and it was ruled a technical draw. A raw deal for both the fans and the fighters but those things do happen in boxing.

- ESPN2 starts this Friday a half-hour later than usual at 6:30 p.m. Saturday's pro fight card on HBO has a starting time of 5:30 p.m. That's for it's "KO Nation" fight card and they probably will show the Lennox Lewis fight against Grant on that telecast, though I'm not 100-percent positive about that.

Showtime also has a Saturday night card starting at 10 p.m. And on Sunday night, FOX Sports has its usual two-hour fight card starting at 8 p.m.

- Some sad news .... Dr. John Wichman passed away Friday in Reno. He was the ringside doctor for most of the amateur fight cards held in Reno and Northern Nevada for more than 30 years and he worked many a card here in Carson City, too.

He was 84 years old and will be missed by many in amateur boxing, as he volunteered his expertise and services for these events and was a nice man.

My condolences to his family ...

Alan Rogers is the Nevada Appeal boxing writer.


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