Bruno backs Lewis to stop Holyfield

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The Independent Online

Frank Bruno is backing Lennox Lewis to keep heavyweight boxing's big decision night out of the judges' hands in Las Vegas on Saturday.

Frank Bruno is backing Lennox Lewis to keep heavyweight boxing's big decision night out of the judges' hands in Las Vegas on Saturday.

The drawn verdict against Evander Holyfield at Madison Square Garden in March caused one of the biggest uproars in modern times when WBC champion Lewis was 'mugged' on Sixth Avenue.

On the glitzy Las Vegas strip, Lewis will get the dual prize he rightly deserves, reckons Big Frank - Holyfield's WBA and IBF titles - and by a stoppage.

Bruno was halted by Lewis at Cardiff Arms Park in October 1993 on the same stretch of Welsh turf where Australia and France fought out rugby union's World Cup final on Saturday.

There was bitterness in the build-up to that fight, and the pair have hardly met since that rainy night. But Bruno is applying boxing logic from personal experience.

"I thought Lennox won the first fight. Some said it was close - but I thought he won it, without a doubt. Holyfield fights like a warrior, but I fancy Lennox can stop him in the rematch," said Bruno.

"Evander's days are numbered. He said he had stomach cramps in their first fight, but I think that's just an excuse. There is no doubt that Lennox has the technique and strength to beat him second time around."

Holyfield is the king of the rematch but has been preparing for Lewis on the back of marital problems.

The double champion revealed in an interview with Total Sport that he nearly quit after the first fight following two personal tragedies in his life - the murder of his brother, the death of his mother - as well as strained relations between himself and his wife Janice. Win or lose, this looks like being Holyfield's last fight.

"I've had a tough time in the last few months. But I've never thought about postponing this rematch - although I thought about quitting after the first Lewis fight.

"At times it's been hell. I've had a lot of pain, but there are lessons to be learned from personal tragedy and suffering. Time heals the wounds, and God is good. But I still carry hurt and pain around with me. I cry and get angry and wish I could turn back the clock.

"People are entitled to their opinion, but I'm still the champion. No one has beaten me yet. Lewis did not beat me. He failed to take my titles. The rematch is a new fight. I get an opportunity to do more than I did last time and I will have to be more busy.

"The flame of desire still burns, but not as brightly. I'm losing my desire, although the goal is still there to become the undisputed champion of the world - and I will be.

"I will be the undisputed champion of the world at the age of 37 and I cannot think of any better way to go. My mind is already made up to quit boxing, win or lose.

"Lennox had more skill than I gave him credit for. Lennox fought a great fight, but I'm happy he didn't get the best of me. I was disappointed he out-jabbed me; I was disappointed I couldn't move around; I was disappointed I couldn't fight inside.

"But the difference in this fight will be that I know what he is capable of doing."

Lewis will allow an all-American panel of judges to take charge of the return clash with Holyfield, and the men in the respective hot seats will be named a few days before the fight.

Last time, South Africa's Stanley Christadoulou scored in favour of Lewis, Eugenie Williams' hotly-controversial verdict went to Holyfield and British judge Larry O'Connell scored the fight even.

This time Lewis intends to bring is own judges - his two mighty fists. However, he realises he let Holyfield off the hook in round five.

Lewis contended: "I'm the best heavyweight in the world. Those persons thinking that Holyfield is going to win are living in a dream world.

"I believe I'm going to be undisputed heavyweight champion of the world - and I'll be looking to finish it early this time".

Game on.

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