McCrory worried by challenger's strength and ability

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The Independent Online

Glenn Mccrory has warned Lennox Lewis that he must be at his mental and physical best against Michael Grant in tomorrow's world heavyweight title defence atMadison Square Garden.

Lewis, though a 2-7 favourite, will for once be confronted by a bigger man than himself - and a superbly conditioned one, as the former International Boxing Federation cruiserweight champion, McCrory, witnessed first hand at Grant's Philadelphia training camp.

McCrory, now a Sky Sports commentator, and Lewis have become good friends since they fought at the Royal Albert Hall in September, 1991, the champion winning in the second round.

McCrory told Lewis: "He will need to be in the best mental shape of his life to win. Grant is the one heavyweight who can beat Lewis. He's been training like a madman. I saw him do everything, including sparring six rounds. And, would you believe, he then threw 267 punches in the last of six rounds working on the punchbag. It was phenomenal.

"It's clear that he cannot outbox Lennox, because he is too inexperienced, so he will give him a real test by jumping on him right from the very first bell. Nobody else has got the size to do that to Lennox, but if he can repeat what he has been doing in training it could spelltrouble for the champion.

"The physical advantages he has are immense. If he has the bottle to just run out there and start throwing the punches he can do it.

"I'm really worried about Lennox in this. He is my mate and I want to see a Brit retain the heavyweight championship of the world.'

"The easiest thing is winning the world title, the hardest thing is keeping it. And in Grant he has the toughest kid around. I was shocked at seeing just how powerful he was.

"Grant is so big, intimidating and undefeated. He has got everything and he is fitter than any other heavyweight I have known.

"His trainer Don Turner really believes Grant can win and he is a guy who gives Lennox all the respect in the world. He thinks Lennox is a terrific fighter and a terrific champion. Turner isn't taking anything away from Lewis. It's just that he thinks he has found the ideal guy to win the heavyweight title.

"Grant is the younger guy, the fresher guy. Lennox has been going a long time and has had a lot of hard battles. Grant hasn't had those wars. So believe me, this is going to be a real challenge."