Boxing: More heed less speed for Benn: Nick Halling anticipates a champion in cautious mood for tonight's world super-middleweight title fight in Glasgow

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The Independent Online
A COOL HEAD will be of more value than a big punch when Nigel Benn defends his World Boxing Council super-middleweight title against Italy's Mauro Galvano at Glasgow's Scottish Exhibition Centre tonight.

Benn, however, may have been a little flustered last night when he had to take to the scales for a second time after initially failing by three ounces to make the 12-stone limit. Benn tried shedding all his clothes, then returned 15 minutes later having lost seven ounces.

Benn claimed the title from the Italian last October in bizarre circumstances, Galvano refusing to shift from his stool after three rounds with a cut eye while his cornermen sought a technical draw verdict which would have robbed Benn of the crown.

Justice prevailed, but while the 29-year-old Ilford man is still seething at the breathtaking display of Italian cynicism, he must guard against becoming consumed by thoughts of revenge.

'You can't rush in against an opponent like Galvano,' Benn's trainer, Jimmy Tibbs, said.' He's a spoiler, the type of fighter who likes to mess you around and make you look bad. Nigel's still mad about what happened in Italy, but he knows he's got a job to do, and he'll keep his mind on that. He has a reputation as a hothead, but as he gets older, he's smartening his act up.'

Indeed he is. Gone are the wild performances of his youth, when he simply blasted his way through a succession of opponents, the formidable power of his punching compensating for severe technical limitations.

He is one of the few fighters to benefit from defeat. After Michael Watson knocked him out in six rounds in 1989, Benn rebuilt his career in Miami, bringing a more patient, considered approach to his work. The improvement gained the World Boxing Organisation middleweight belt in 1990.

Chris Eubank ended that reign in a memorable encounter later that year, a brutal, draining nine- round affair which left Benn exhausted on the ropes, seemingly a spent force on the global stage.

Instead, he confounded his critics once again to claim his second world title. Since losing to Eubank, he has compiled an eight-fight unbeaten sequence, and although his power is less of a factor latterly, Benn's more studied approach has prevailed against high-quality opponents such as Thulani 'Sugarboy' Malinga, Robbie Sims and Lenzie Morgan.

What are we to make of Galvano who, on the evidence of the fight in October, may be one of the feeblest boxers ever to lay claim to a world title? The 28- year-old Italian is a light puncher with a sound chin whose record reveals an abundance of points verdicts in his home country against mediocre opponents.

He won the title against Argentina's Dario Matteoni, hardly a noted name, before defending it twice against the American Ron Essett and Paraguay's Juan Carlos Gimenez, both of whom have been soundly beaten by Eubank.

His only hope is to frustrate Benn, fiddling his way through the full 12 rounds in an attempt to steal the decision.

'I'm expecting a better performance from Galvano this time because he has nothing to lose,' Tibbs said. 'Nigel will be looking to cut the ring down, switching attacks from body to head, but because Galvano is so durable it could go the distance.'