|Lovett Looking Past Tragedy to Target Bell
By Anthony Cocks, DoghouseBoxing.com (Oct 4, 2008) Doghouse Boxing (Photo © Werner Kalin)
Bad blood will boil over at the Docklands in central Melbourne, Australia, on Sunday evening when fan favourite and WBA #13 light heavyweight Daniel ‘Porky’ Lovett 17-3 (10) locks horns with ‘Tiger’ Tim Bell 13-5-1 (11) in the first defence of his PABA 175-pound title at the plush Peninsula event centre.
This highly anticipated bout has been brewing for some time and aficionados of the sport know that pitting these two hard-hitting walk-up fighters against each other can only produce fireworks.
“It’s been on the go for a long time,” said Lovett of the fight negotiations. “Every time it’s been supposed to happen the information I’ve got from the promoters is that Timmy’s outpriced himself, that they want more money. I hear Keith Ellis and Timmy saying they’re not pulling out, but every time I’ve ended up fighting someone else and he hasn’t fought.”
It won’t be the first time Lovett and Bell have shared the nominal confines of the squared circle.
In mid-2005 when Lovett was preparing for his rematch with Joel Burke (who subsequently pulled out and was replaced by Timo Masua) and Bell was preparing for his stoush with then-unbeaten Jonny Walker, the two Melbourne tough guys met up at a gym in Coburg for some good old-fashioned hard sparring.
The handful of people in attendance including former Australian lightweight champion Matt Ropis, Lovett’s father Roy and Bell’s manager Dave Curran were treated to a briskly paced six round session that could have doubled as a main event.
In typical fashion, Bell jumped on Lovett from the opening gong, intent on roughing up his visitor from the get-go. It was quickly apparent that Bell had no intention of boxing along with the younger man as he backed Lovett up and forced him to the ropes. But as the rounds progressed Lovett adjusted to the pace and picked off the forward-charging Bell with smart counters and a compact inside game. By the fifth round they were trading on even terms until a Lovett right hand caught Bell flush on the chin, momentarily stopping him in his tracks for the first time during the spar. Bell continued to march forward in the sixth round, but with far less abandon than he had in the previous five stanzas.
After the dust had settled and both men were cooling off, Bell approached Lovett and said, “You shouldn’t hit so hard it’s just sparring.”
The popular 25-year-old from Cranbourne believes their twelve round fight for the PABA and vacant OPBF title will follow a similar pattern.
“That’s sort of how I see the fight going,” revealed Lovett. “Rounds one to four are going to be hard for anyone who jumps in the ring with Timmy because he’s strong and he can whack and if you hit him with a hammer early you’re not going to hurt him. But I think as the fight goes on and I sit back and let it unfold I reckon he’ll start to tire and that’s when he’ll get hurt and get lazy and I’ll come over the top then.”
With the always crafty Keith Ellis in Bell’s corner, Lovett is not ruling out a few surprises come fight night.
“I’m expecting absolutely everything coming from Tim and Keith’s corner,” said Lovett. “But you know, none of it’s going to faze me. “I’m prepared for whatever comes my way and if he was wants to punch on, we can punch on. Whatever happens, happens. I’m fit and I’m ready and I’m going to go there and do my job and he can try whatever antics he wants, I suppose.”
To prepare for this fight Lovett has been putting in many hard rounds with Zdravko Micevic, 4-0 (2), at Louie Korica’s gym in Reservoir in Melbourne’s north. At 6’2” Micevic is a rare commodity in the light heavyweight division a big man with quick hands, good footwork and a decent amoutn of power in both mitts.
“It’s good, he’s awesome,” said Lovett of his main sparring partner. “He’s got speed and he can whack a bit too, so it’s always good work with Zdrav.
“You can go there and actually box. A lot of gyms you go to you find it hard to get in and actually get quality sparring. There’s always someone trying to knock you out or trying to prove a point, whereas Zdrav is in there for the same reason I am to try and improve himself for a fight coming up so it works out well. We work good together.”
The lead up for this fight hasn’t all been smooth sailing for Lovett. In the early hours of September 7th his childhood friend Matt McEvoy was rushed to The Aflred hospital with head injuries after allegedly being kinghit twice and kicked in the head after an altercation with fellow patrons at Melbourne nightspot QBH. When McEvoy’s life support machine was switched off that night, Lovett was at his bedside.
While Lovett will be carrying the memory of his best mate into the ring with him on Sunday night, he says that his focus will be entirely on Bell.
“I’m not going to jump in the ring saying it hasn’t affected me,” said Lovett of the loss. “You can’t lose someone that that’s close to you and not be affected. But my training had been really good up until that happened and I had actually just finished a run up Oliver’s Hill on Sunday morning, jumped in the car and my phone was ringing and I got told he was in the hospital. I raced down there and he later died.
“To say ‘has it affected me?’ Of course, 100%. It’s probably going to affect me forever. Will it hinder me? That I won’t know until I get in there, but I was up in the air for about a week about whether I was going to fight. I just couldn’t get myself to go to the gym. I didn’t know where I was. But I turned it around, now I’m back in the gym and I’m training just as good as I was up until that Sunday. So has it affected me? 100%. Will it hinder me? I don’t think so.”
McEvoy was one of Lovett’s staunchest supporters, travelling the length and breadth of the country to support his mate every time he stepped into the ring.
“Out of everyone I know, he was the main bloke who loved fights more than anyone. He came to all my fights interstate Perth, Newcastle, Penrith he’s been to them all. Looking at it that way, I know Macca would love to see me get in there and bash him more than anyone.”
Box on the Docks 3 will feature a special tribute to McEvoy, who is gone but not forgotten.
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