Boxing: Bruno believes in power of Lewis

Boxing: Experts divided on outcome of world heavyweight unification bout but agree that Briton's power is the key

FRANK BRUNO, who was once the chief adversary to Lennox Lewis in the battle to be king of the British heavyweights, yesterday put himself fairly and squarely in the corner of his old arch enemy.

As the majority of the British boxing fraternity backed Lewis to beat Evander Holyfield at Madison Square Garden on Saturday, the former World Boxing Council heavyweight champion Frank Bruno, who lost to Lewis at Cardiff Arms Park in 1993, also favoured Lewis to unify the world championship.

Bruno gave Lewis some problems before being stopped, out on his feet, in the seventh round of his WBC challenge. But the Londoner made it fourth time lucky two years later when he fought Oliver McCall for the same title at Wembley Stadium, gaining a points victory.

And now the retired former world champion has put the differences behind him and says he will be cheering Lewis to victory. "I fancy Lewis very strongly because he's fresher, he's stronger and he's more stylish," Bruno said. "But it'll be a great fight. Evander has the possibility of stopping Lewis if he catches him right and I think that's what he'll try to do.

"Evander's best chance is to keep moving because with Lennox's size he might not be so agile after the first two or three rounds. There is a danger that Lewis will come in too big but I can't believe he'll be 18 stone. I think he'll go for power and Emanuel Steward and all those around Lennox know the score."

Bruno thinks Holyfield has nothing left to prove - and will go down as one of the greatest heavyweights whether or not he bows out as the undisputed champion of the world. "At the end of the day Muhammad Ali, Joe Louis, Rocky Marciano are the best," Bruno said. "But Evander will be up there as one of the greats. Lewis has got to be up for this fight more than any other. He's a bit too laid-back at times and he's laboured against some of his opponents. But he knows the score against Holyfield and he will be well up for it."

Lloyd Honeyghan, the man who pulled off one of the biggest shocks in British boxing history when he stopped Donald Curry for the undisputed welterweight title, has told Lewis his route to success lies in intimidating Holyfield. Honey-ghan smashed his way to a stoppage in seven rounds against a boxer thought to be the best pound-for-pound fighter in the world.

Honeyghan, a promoter and trainer in London, said: "I think Holyfield might have a problem against the bigger men. I was in Vegas when Holyfield was stopped by [Riddick] Bowe and I thought `that's it, Holyfield's career is over.' But you've got to remember he came back from all that. He's been amazing. So it's basically Holyfield's heart against Lewis's size."

Honeyghan edges towards Lewis, but says questions remain over the Briton because of the quality of fighters he has faced. At the same time, he feels the opposite is true for Holyfield. "Lennox has not been in against too many top-class fighters," he said. "Holyfield won't freeze, but he's had so many wars and they take it out of you. Holyfield always raises himself for the big ones but he might grow old in that ring."

Speed will be all important to the Briton in Saturday's battle, according to Joe Calzaghe, who holds the World Boxing Organisation's super-middleweight crown. "I can see Lennox winning early. But I think he's got to get it over quickly, because the longer it goes on it's Holyfield's fight," Calzaghe said.

"If that happens, I'd be strongly in favour of Evander because I think Lennox is so big that he will tire. I think it's best if Lennox comes out firing. I think he will have to. Lennox isn't at his best against the smaller guys, so if Holyfield can get under his big right hand and drag him past the first few rounds then I see Holyfield doing well.

"You never know, it's one of those kind of toss-up fights. But at the end of the day, no one knows how much Holyfield has got left. He got beaten by Bowe and [Michael] Moorer and then he surprised everyone by beating [Mike] Tyson."

Calzaghe's promoter, Frank Warren, said: "It's certainly a very good fight. I think Lewis suffers by fighting smaller guys, he's never liked fighting them. The type of punches Holyfield throws, hooks and uppercuts, are the ones Lewis doesn't like. Holyfield has a good chin, and he's going to need one because Lewis can definitely punch. But Lennox has been clipped and his legs have gone a bit in his last few fights, as was the case against Shannon Briggs.

"If Holyfield's got anything left in him, it's going to be a tough fight for Lewis. Holyfield's got stamina, he fights at a tremendous pace, and it's going to be interesting. Lewis had a tough, gruelling fight against Ray Mercer, but Mercer is not Evander Holyfield. If Holyfield is there after five or six rounds, Lewis I think will get tired. I can see Holyfield winning it late."

Leading British heavyweight title contender Danny Williams said: "I think Holyfield will win in six, seven or eight rounds. He's been through the wars more than Lennox. He's got more experience. Holyfield's one of the best conditioned fighters around and you've got to fight three minutes of each round with him. Lewis seemed to flag a lot in his last defence against Zeljko Mavrovic, and you can't do that against Evander. He was taking a lot of breathers, dropping his hands, messing about."

Steward, the famed trainer of the Kronk gymnasium, now hoping to inspire Lewis to victory, has been working on the left jab in a bid to improve his chances. He feels that, given the size and strength of his boxer, it should be a devastating weapon. But instead it is often neglected by Lewis, who uses it as a measure for his right hand.

Keeping the jab in storage lets opponents concentrate on avoiding the right and landing their own combinations. And with the number of punches Holyfield is expected to throw, if Lewis does not use his jab he could be in big trouble.

If Lewis decides to use both hands, Holyfield at three inches shorter and some 30 pounds lighter, could find his World Boxing Association and International Boxing Federation titles at risk. Steward is well aware of his fighter's physical assets and his psychological shortcomings, prompting him to admit that he does not know which Lewis will show up.

"Lewis has to come out and at the first opportunity... he's gotta let his missiles fly," said Steward, who also trained Holyfield at one stage.

"Even with [Oliver] McCall... crying, he [Lewis] still wouldn't step up," Steward said, referring to the January 1997 fight against McCall, who effectively had a nervous breakdown in the ring, refused to fight and was disqualified in the fifth round.

But in the fight Lewis was timid, even against an obviously troubled McCall, who had knocked out the Briton in September 1994 to win the WBC title. Surprisingly, Steward is less than adamant that his man will win, but promises: "Even if he loses it's gonna be a war. I do feel if Lennox comes out and fights to his potential, he's too strong for Evander."

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Voices
An easy-peel potato; Dave Hax has come up with an ingenious method in food preparation
voicesDave Hax's domestic tips are reminiscent of George Orwell's tea routine. The world might need revolution, but we like to sweat the small stuff, says DJ Taylor
News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
Jay Z has placed a bet on streaming being the future for music and videos
music
Arts and Entertainment
Festival-goers soak up the atmosphere at Glastonbury
music
News
Japan's population is projected to fall dramatically in the next 50 years (Wikimedia)
news
Caption competition
Caption competition
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Project Implementation Executive

£18000 - £23000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: They work with major vehicle ma...

Recruitment Genius: Chiropractic Assistant

£16500 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Chiropractic Assistant is needed in a ...

Recruitment Genius: Digital Account Executive - Midlands

£18000 - £26000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: They work with major vehicle ma...

Recruitment Genius: Web Developer

£28000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This company provides coaching ...

Day In a Page

NHS struggling to monitor the safety and efficacy of its services outsourced to private providers

Who's monitoring the outsourced NHS services?

A report finds that private firms are not being properly assessed for their quality of care
Zac Goldsmith: 'I'll trigger a by-election over Heathrow'

Zac Goldsmith: 'I'll trigger a by-election over Heathrow'

The Tory MP said he did not want to stand again unless his party's manifesto ruled out a third runway. But he's doing so. Watch this space
How do Greek voters feel about Syriza's backtracking on its anti-austerity pledge?

How do Greeks feel about Syriza?

Five voters from different backgrounds tell us what they expect from Syriza's charismatic leader Alexis Tsipras
From Iraq to Libya and Syria: The wars that come back to haunt us

The wars that come back to haunt us

David Cameron should not escape blame for his role in conflicts that are still raging, argues Patrick Cockburn
Sam Baker and Lauren Laverne: Too busy to surf? Head to The Pool

Too busy to surf? Head to The Pool

A new website is trying to declutter the internet to help busy women. Holly Williams meets the founders
Heston Blumenthal to cook up a spice odyssey for British astronaut manning the International Space Station

UK's Major Tum to blast off on a spice odyssey

Nothing but the best for British astronaut as chef Heston Blumenthal cooks up his rations
John Harrison's 'longitude' clock sets new record - 300 years on

‘Longitude’ clock sets new record - 300 years on

Greenwich horologists celebrate as it keeps to within a second of real time over a 100-day test
Fears in the US of being outgunned in the vital propaganda wars by Russia, China - and even Isis - have prompted a rethink on overseas broadcasters

Let the propaganda wars begin - again

'Accurate, objective, comprehensive': that was Voice of America's creed, but now its masters want it to promote US policy, reports Rupert Cornwell
Why Japan's incredible long-distance runners will never win the London Marathon

Japan's incredible long-distance runners

Every year, Japanese long-distance runners post some of the world's fastest times – yet, come next weekend, not a single elite competitor from the country will be at the London Marathon
Why does Tom Drury remain the greatest writer you've never heard of?

Tom Drury: The quiet American

His debut was considered one of the finest novels of the past 50 years, and he is every bit the equal of his contemporaries, Jonathan Franzen, Dave Eggers and David Foster Wallace
You should judge a person by how they peel a potato

You should judge a person by how they peel a potato

Dave Hax's domestic tips are reminiscent of George Orwell's tea routine. The world might need revolution, but we like to sweat the small stuff, says DJ Taylor
Beige is back: The drab car colours of the 1970s are proving popular again

Beige to the future

Flares and flounce are back on catwalks but a revival in ’70s car paintjobs was a stack-heeled step too far – until now
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef's dishes highlight the delicate essence of fresh cheeses

Bill Granger cooks with fresh cheeses

More delicate on the palate, milder, fresh cheeses can also be kinder to the waistline
Aston Villa vs Liverpool: 'This FA Cup run has been wonderful,' says veteran Shay Given

Shay Given: 'This FA Cup run has been wonderful'

The Villa keeper has been overlooked for a long time and has unhappy memories of the national stadium – but he is savouring his chance to play at Wembley
Timeless drama of Championship race in league of its own - Michael Calvin

Michael Calvin's Last Word

Timeless drama of Championship race in league of its own