LLOYD HONEYGHAN'S march towards the most amazing victory in British boxing history began just a year ago when he stepped out of the shadow of Frank Bruno. He wanted to be treated like a champion, and he proved his claim to that status when he destroyed the legendary Don Curry to become the undisputed welterweight champion of the world in Atlantic City on Saturday night.
It was no fluke victory, either. The 26-year-old Londoner smashed Curry, 25, to defeat in spectacular style. The American, winner of his previous 25 fights, was reduced to little more than a mobile punchbag after just six rounds of furious punching from Honeyghan.
Officially the fight was halted by doctors between the sixth and seventh rounds because of a cut over Curry's left eye. But forget that. This was always going to be Honeyghan's night. When the fight ended, one judge had him three rounds ahead and he was two rounds ahead on the cards of the other two judges. That is how superior he was, and now he's on target to become a millionaire.
Yet Britain's newest sporting hero was just another boxer in the East London gym of his manager Terry Lawless a year ago. He was talented, he was British and European champion - but still a nobody. The truth was Honeyghan knew he had the talent to become a great champion and he felt he would never attain that dream while the heavyweight Bruno was the star of Lawless's gym.
Last summer Honeyghan switched camps. Mickey Duff became his new manager and the Scotsman Bobby Neill took over as his trainer. It was a magic formula. Honeyghan suddenly got all the individual attention his ego demanded and Duff did all the outside-the-ring deals that clinched his world title bid. The rest is now boxing history.
In front of an audience of only 1,000 who didn't even pay to get in - they were the favoured high roller guests of the casino that staged the fight - Honeyghan fought his way into the record books with a victory that did not surprise him. "I didn't rate Curry that highly and I had the best training of my life for the this fight," he said.
FOOTNOTE: Honeyghan never hit the same heights, although he successfully defended the WBC version of his title several times. He is now in management and promotion.