It was like listening to a fox describe what it was going to be like once it got inside the henhouse. Freddy Kruger discussing his Saturday night on the town.
The way Lennox Lewis tells it, Vitali Klitschko’s chances against him June 21 at the Staples Center in Los Angeles lie somewhere between zippo and nada, though he doesn‘t really believe he has that much of a chance.
To hear Lewis tell it, Vitali should pray to that Great Ukrainian Fight God in the sky that he gets out of this thing safely, that he doesn‘t suffer any long-lasting injury or an annoying tick that stays with him for life.
The only way Vitali can avoid a beating is to call in sick.
After all, isn’t it suicidal to crawl into the ring against a human being as powerful and gifted as Lennox Lewis? Of course, those weren’t Lewis’ exact words, but that‘s pretty much what he was trying to tell us Tuesday on a conference call with his trainer, Emanuel Steward.
It was nice of Lennox to let us in on the secret, to tell us ahead of time what was going to happen, that Vitali was going to be leaving the ring early, perhaps helped along by the fine paramedics of the greater Los Angeles Fire Department.
Listening to him, you suddenly realize Lennox is the greatest heavyweight of all time, though you don’t really believe that. But that’s what he seems to be telling you in a polite, honest way. His braggadocio is forgivable because he doesn’t sound like a guy shooting off his mouth. He just sounds like a guy telling you about his work plans for later in the month. And according to Lewis, those plans include toying with the tall white guy from Germany, playing with him like he’s a stuffed toy, bouncing him around a little, slamming him against the wall a few times and then, like a spoiled child, ripping him apart and pulling all the stuffing out.
But hey, Lewis says it in a nice way.
Steward himself said the fight won’t go passed the fifth round. Of course, Steward isn’t the guy who is going to be swapping left jabs with Klitschko who, at 6-foot-8, is about three inches taller than Lewis.
“Vitali hasn’t been through what I’ve been through,” Lewis said. “He’s never seen a fighter like me. I’m going to show him what it’s like to be in the ring with a class-A fighter. I’m not Mickey Mouse.”
Sources close to the champ claim no one has recently mistaken Lewis for the aging Mouse.
“Life is full of classes,” Steward said, jumping on Lewis’ reference to class. “And this is just one of those classes Klitschko has never been in. The fight won’t go over five rounds.”
Plan your night accordingly.
Steward and Lewis both insist that the “linear” heavyweight champion of the world adjusts to different styles easily and he’ll have little problem adjusting to the height of Klitschko, who replaced Lewis’ original opponent, Kirk Johnson, who was injured during training.
They said they wanted to get the 6-foot-6 Jameel McCline as a sparring partner because of his height, but McCline declined.
“He’s scared of me and that‘s too bad,” Lewis said. “He’s too scared and I don’t blame him.”
It’s tough being the best.
Aside from a few references to Roy Jones Jr., that pretty much sums up the conference call. It was Lewis saying what we already knew he was going to say, that Klitschko doesn’t belong in the same town as Lewis, much less in the same ring.
And Lewis picks his teeth with guys who are bigger than him.
“Lennox is an aggressive predator against bigger guys,” Steward said. “Lennox Lewis will be victorious.”
Spoken like a loyal sidekick.