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Boxing: Eastman victory would hand timely lesson to Lewis

Howard Eastman, who tonight fights the formidable Bernard Hopkins for the world middleweight title in Los Angeles, is a resolute boxer and a resilient man, as he had to be to survive on the streets of London after his father threw him out of the family home.

However, it is hard to believe that he has any anything like a chance against Hopkins, generally regarded as the best pound-for-pounder in the business. If it should happen, though, we are bound to have two main reactions. One will be pride that Eastman fights in the name of Britain - the other will be to hope that Lennox Lewis is watching.

Hopkins has a tremendous armoury and rich experience. He is also 40 years of age, a notoriously treacherous time in the life of even the greatest fighters. Lewis will be that age if he is finally induced to get in the ring with a heavyweight champion he despises, Vitali Klitschko. It is still another reason to hope for a triumph from the outgunned but admirably dogged Eastman.