THE GREATNESS OF LENNOX LEWIS AND FLOYD
MAYWEATHER JR. AND THE GAMENESS OF SHANNON BRIGGS AND ARTURO GATTI
by Jim Amato
I had the great treat of watching replays this
weekend of Lennox Lewis vs Shannon Briggs and Floyd Mayweather Jr. vs Arturo
Gatti. Within the realm of these bouts I saw and respected two things.
Tremendous talent and equally tremendous courage.
Lennox was the cream of the heavyweight division but Briggs had just come
off a disputed victory over George Foreman who was, by all rights the
linear heavyweight champion. George had beaten Moorer who had beaten
Holyfield who had beaten Tyson. Case closed.
Lennox knew that by beating Briggs he would solidify his status as being
the best heavyweight of his era. Briggs started fast and late in the first
round he rocked Lennox on a couple of occasions. After that Lennox took
over and he dominated Briggs flooring him on several occasions. Finally
the fine referee Frank Cappuccino had seen enough and ended the battle in
I've never been a big Lennox Lewis fan but he showed great size, physical
condition and talent. Was he the best heavyweight of all time ? No...But
he would have been a very serious opponent to any of the past greats.
Briggs who is now the WBO titleholder and that shows us how weak the
division is. I have little doubt that if Lewis would step out of
retirement now he would whip Shannon. I don't care how big Briggs has
become. His gain in size has diminished his best asset, speed. He stands
like a statue in the ring. Lewis didn't miss too many right hands back
when Shannon could move. Lennox wouldn't miss any now. To Shannon's credit
he showed the heart of a true champion against Lewis. He took some monster
shots. He went down but he kept getting up. I will always have a healthy
respect for the grit and heart of Shannon Briggs.
MAYWEATHER JR. vs
Who's the best fighter pound for pound in the world today ? That's a no
brainer...Floyd Mayweather Jr. He is the Sugar Ray Leonard and Roy Jones
Jr. of the era. I am just in awe of his talent. Against a dead game Arturo
Gatti it was target practice. In this bout three things stuck with me. Of
course the tremendous talent of the gifted Mayweather. The never say die
courage of Gatti and last but not least, the compassion of Gatti's trainer
Buddy McGirt. Buddy was a fine fine fighter in his own right in his day.
He won titles in two weight divisions. Now he has to be considered among
the elite of today's trainers. What impressed me was how he stopped this
hopeless crusade Arturo was waging against Mayweather. Buddy knew there
was no quit in Arturo. He was willing to go out on his shield. McGirt
showed the love for his fighter that the great Eddie Futch showed for Joe
Frazier in Manila. I will always have high regard for Mr. McGirt.
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