The CyberBoxingZone News

"Too Big" and other Sad Stuff
Mike DeLisa

May 1, 2000

On Friday, the finals of the New York Golden Gloves were held in Madison Square Garden. Twenty-four hours later, Michael Grant did his best to imitate a sub-novice Heavyweight having his first bout at Our lady of Mt. Caramel. Grant, fond of talking about new-age conditioning theories and "fast-twitch" muscles, could barely control his nerves and was huffing and puffing in his dressing room. Don Turner, his talented trainer, had finally lost the sly, half-smile he had carried around with him all week. Turner's face told the story -- this would be a blow-out. At 11:21, Grant started his walk to the ring.

Five hours earlier, I stood outside the employee's entrance of MSG, mingling with the autograph hounds, trying to get a sense of what the street vibe was on the fight. Nobody cared. Most were hanging around with waiting to get autographs from Boyz II Men. The limited boxing conversation concerned how none of the boxers on the card would do well in Ultimate Fighting. I left before slapping somebody for the sacrilige.

The crowd at the preliminary fights, thank god, was a good New York fight crowd. I watched the sad ending of Tracy Patterson's career as he was outpointed by Glascow's own, Scott Harrison, a cute little fighter with a 9-1-1 record. Harrison has good fundamentals and used a strong jab to do a "paint job" on Patterson,who ends his career with a 63-8-1 (43 kayo) record. A pox unto the commission who licenses him to fight again.

Next up, the massive Wladimir Klitschko squared off against David Bostice. Klitscho came into the fight at 31-1 with 30 kayos, his sole loss a tko to club fighter Ross Puritty. But, Klitscho actually has some skills; in two consecutive fights now I have seen him hurt his opponent with a jab. Bostice's record is peppered with some half-recognizable names such as Everett "Big Foot" Martin and Mike Sedillo. Incredibly, though, Bostice fought Sedillo just this past January -- and could not knock him out!

The fight not competitive. Wladimir's first hard jab stunned Bostice and he was repeatedly clubbed to the canvas, though he struggled to his feet each time. After the referee stopped the fight, he openly wept in his corner while Klitscko paraded around the ring.

All during the undercard, the Garden was filling in, thanks to a strong walk-up crowd by the New York fans. By the time Arturo Gatti entered the ring, the Garden was 3/4 full. Gatti had the good fortune to face late-sub Eric Jakubowski, who through a few half-hearted punches (that landed!) before being dumped himseldf by a hard Gatti left hook. In the second, Jakubowski went down again, then did the old "I-want-to-fight -but-I-am-groggy" stutter-step and he got to go home early without having to worry about having his purse upheld. Gatti, who is one hard puncher away from the retirement home himself, was stumping for a fight with Oscar by year's end. A pox on the Commission that approves that fight.

The Junior Jones battle with Paul Ingle took away the stench of the Gatti mess. Boxing insiders knew that Jones had very little left, but had always given his all during his career. Tonight, working with Teddy Atlas, Jones would make a determined stand to capture the IBF Featherweight Championship. Ingle, a tough little terrier of a fighter went to the trenches with Jones. Jones, pressured, began to get sloppy and miss many punches. During one clinch, a desparate Jones bit Ingle on the nipple, but the referee just waved the fighters back together.

Jones, always the warrior, finally got off a wicked right in the ninth that dumped Ingle hard. Ingle later admitted "The punch hit me flush. No matter what, featherweight or anything, if that punch had hit hit them, they would have gone down, I gurantee it." By the start of the eleventh, though, Jones was completely fatigued. Ingle did not let him recuperate. After two knockdowns, the ref jumped between Ingle and a wobbly Jones. Afterwards, Jones said "Truthfully I haven't thought about [retiring]." A pox on the Commission that licenses Junior Jones to fight again.

Since the Ingle-Jones fight went nearly the distance, the swing bouts were cancelled, leaving Kevin Kelly in his dressing room.

At 11:22 Grant entered the ring to the cheers of the crowd, followed shortly thereafter by Lewis, who was heartily booed.

The fight was perhaps the most pathetic display by a challenger in the history of boxing, bar none. The outcome was clear to me 20 seconds into the fight when the fighters clinched. Neither one wrestled or tried to move the other back. Grant, for all his size and purported atheleticism, was clueless. He swung a few wild punches which Lewis avoided, then was blasted to the canvas. Lewis, holding and hitting, got credit for a second knockdown, then advanced on Grant who was backing to the ropes.

Then, Lewis feinted Grant by looking at his feet; Grant froze, then was drilled by a Lewis haymaker. Grant went down again, legs akimbo. He had been caught b the old "your shoelace is untied" routine that I ahven't seen work outside of Abbott & Costello movies.

Ringsiders were actually laughing at the utter haplessness of Grant. Lewis, fearless in the second, actually began whipping right uppercuts from outside -- a sign of total disrespect. Then, after Grant missed a jab and bent over, Lewis simply held him behind the behind the head and slammed him with another, finishing uppercut. A foul? Yes, but not tonight. Even Grant said afterwards "It was a good move."

At the press conference, I believe Lewis was calculating his taxes. Grant, happy to have survived, blamed his loss on unspecified "selfish reasons." Lewis ended the conference by announcing his July 15 match with Franz Botha. The press then turned their attention to Joe Frazier's daughter who was plugging her next fight.


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