Jan 21, 2015 Sports
By Michael Benjamin
He is Guyana’s inaugural world champion and at one time was touted as the man to defeat ‘Sugar’ Shane Mosely among other world beaters.
Now, several years later his career is at the crossroads but Lewis remains staunch that he could rise again and reclaim a place in the fistic sport that brought him glory and riches.
Despite the many adverse comments, the news that he has been ruled out of his Caribbean Boxing Federation (CABOFE) Welterweight title fight against Jamaican 2014 Contender Champion, Sakima Mullings, has evoked mixed feelings among boxing pundits, Lewis remains adamant that he still has what it takes to trade punches with the best in the world.
Amidst such contentions, veteran boxing manager/promoter, Keith Bazilio, continues to have faith in the former world champion and is performing managerial duties as he attempts to reinstate Lewis as a force to be reckoned with.
Bazilio had been present at the Forgotten Youth Foundation almost every day observing Lewis as he whipped himself in shape up until he was ruled out of the (Mullings) fight. He said that he was thoroughly impressed with Lewis’ work ethic and was assured that he (Lewis) would have triumphed over Mullings.
”Andrew was making commendable progress and to my mind was well psyched up for the Mullings bout,” pronounced Bazilio. He said that he was impressed with Lewis’ hand speed and techniques and noted that the ex world champion was already hovering close to the stipulated Welterweight division.
All the hard work was rendered inconsequential when Lewis engaged in sparring sessions with two Americans, here in Guyana on other business that had recently utilized the gym to hone their skills. It appears as though the two boxers reside
in the Bronx area and are roughhouses.
Lewis’ coach, Sebert Blake, probably happy to procure competent sparring for his charge, agreed to have Lewis engage in sparring sessions. Things went awry after Lewis received a blow and that forced him to visit Board Doctor, Max Hanoman, who ruled that the injury was serious enough to force a postponement of the bout. World rater, Clive Atwell has since been drafted in to fill the void.
All this is now water under the bridge and Bazilio when quizzed about his coaches’ decision to allow Lewis to spar with the Americans pinned the mishap on lack of experience. He backed his coaches, Joseph Murray and Blake saying that they meant well but lacked the requisite experience thus their decision.
”Andrew was dominating the sessions but those guys were really tough; had I been at the gym that day I would not have allowed it but such is the game,” pronounced Bazilio.
Always the optimist, Bazilio views the turn of events philosophically, “You know, this may all turn out to be a blessing in disguise,” he pronounced. He said that Lewis will now sit at ringside and truly assess the Mullings/Atwell fight with an intention of fighting the winner. “Despite the many adverse comments making their rounds about (Andrew) Lewis’ inability to rise from the doldrums, I am confident that he has what it takes to be a champion once again,” said Bazilio.
Local promoters have decried the meager all round support to the sport which has caused them to simmer down their activities. At present the GBBC is the only entity that has been carrying the burden of promotions and Brazilio, who is the head of the People’s Syndicate Promotions, said that he is mulling the idea of reentering the fray.
”I am seriously considering my reentry into the fray so that I could provide the type of competition that can see Lewis back to the top,” he declared. Quizzed on his reason for such confidence Bazilio declared, “Andrew has developed a new perspective to the sport, he is putting in a lot of work and most importantly, he has developed a pleasing work ethic.
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