Lamon Brewster: Have title, will travel
By "Big Dog" Benny Henderson Jr. (August 4, 2005)
Life isn’t easy for any fighter. Banging out victories, accepting defeat, taking on grown men whose very goal is to knock your head off, smashing the opposition just to be ridiculed by the media for not making it a spectacular event, or having your very career dissected and your flaws highlighted. Yeah, it’s a hard knock life and only the chosen few can play the game of boxing.
It doesn’t matter what weight class you bang in, you must face all who threaten your very existence in the sport, and sometimes you have to travel to do so and have your opponent’s hostile crowd up in your face. No it isn’t fun, it isn’t a vacation, it is reality and it is your job, and in a sport that is filled with harsh politics sometimes you have to do whatever it takes to survive, even if you must stare down the competition in his own backyard, or in this case country.
And that is just what Lamon Brewster is willing to do.
September 28th the WBO heavyweight champion Lamon Brewster, 32-2 (28), will travel to Hamburg, Germany and defend his title against his mandatory contender Luan Krasniqi, 28-1-1 (14), in front of Krasniqi’s countrymen, and to add fuel to the fire the day the two square off will be the 100th birthday of the German boxing legend Max Schmeling.
Brewster, who has built his career on facing the upside of the mountain and overcoming the obstacles that real fighters face, seems to work better under pressure; in fact, it is an important part of his solid foundation. Witnessing the drug dealers rise and fall in the ghetto where Brewster lived, he overcame street gangs and the pressures to pursue the street thug life from having the presence and guidance of a very strong, spirit filled Mother.
Instead of fighting on the streets nowhere bound, the youngster laced up the gloves and fought in the ring as an amateur winning several titles under the tutelage of legendary boxing trainer Bill Slayton and at the age of twenty-three began his professional career, stopping his opponent in the opening round.
Even though there have been some bumps in the road to Brewster’s success, he has overcome, persevered and continued on, as many have. In April of ’04 and pretty much being overlooked as just a stepping stone for hard hitting Ukrainian Wladimir Klitschko, Brewster shocked the boxing world with a fifth round stoppage over the 6’6” powerhouse. In this bout Brewster showed massive heart and courage to overcome he own personal loss and turn it into triumph in the ring. Battling on after the death of his trainer and father figure Bill Slayton, Brewster absorbed an early onslaught of punishment before coming on strong to score a shock stoppage win. Even with the massive W on his record many fans and media looked at Brewster as a human punching bag and nothing more.
Five months later after capturing the WBO title in his first defense Brewster pulled off a close one over Australian Kali Meehan and while some felt Lamon lost, others believed he did enough to earn a close decision. Either way Brewster was still overlooked by most.
Taking on Hall of Fame trainer Jessie Reid, Brewster marched into Chicago to face hometown bad boy Andrew Golota last May, and in front of the very hostile crowd he demolished Golota in fifty-two seconds, dropping the homeboy three times to gain the victory in the first round.
So with all this being said, some still prefer to overlook Brewster, and in all honesty it doesn’t matter as it doesn’t affect the boxer or the man. Brewster knows his job has its pros and cons, and he is willing to fight on as many do everyday.
Does it make sense that the champion has to travel to the challenger’s home country to defend his title? In my opinion it doesn’t but as I stated before you have to do what you have to do to survive, but not everyone is willing to do so. “Some cherry pick their opponents and they sit around and don’t fight, but Lamon is willing to go anywhere and fight anybody. And I think that is something that the fans respect,” stated Sam Simon, Brewster’s long time manager.
Just a short period back IBF heavyweight champion Chris Byrd was grilled for not taking on the younger Klitschko in his homeland, and even though he has faced both brothers there before he turned down a massive payday to return. Vitali Klitschko came under fire for supposedly not wanting to face the winner of the upcoming Hasim Rahman versus Monte Barrett bout, and what in the world is up with John Ruiz? I do not doubt any titleholder in the heavyweight division; they should all have their props for even stepping in the ring, but why do so many continue to doubt the ‘Relentless One’ when he is doing just as much or more as the others? He fights, he entertains, and at this point he is the only champion willing to face a tough obstacle, even if that obstacle is out of his way. Sam Simon explained to the Doghouse, “Lamon went into Chicago which has a Polish community of two million people and fought in front of twenty thousand Andrew Golota fans, so there is no doubt about it, it is a tough fight but he is up for it.”
What about Brewster’s opponent, what is known of Luan Krasniqi? “We only know he is the mandatory,” laughs Simon. “And Lamon beat him in the amateurs. He say’s that he beat Lamon but it is just not true, we have a tape of it. You know the professionals and that amateurs are not the same thing so listen, if this guy thinks he beat Lamon, fine, we will see who wins September 28th.”
Krasniqi is coming off a 6th round stoppage win over Lance Whitaker in May, which was for the WBO number one spot. Krasniqi’s only defeat was at the hands of the Polish boxer Przemyslaw Saleta in the summer of 2002 when he wouldn’t come out of his corner in round nine, but nine months later he got his revenge with a first round TKO. The thirty-four year old German fighter has a victory over Sinan Samil Sam, who is ranked WBC #3, WBA #13 and IBF #5, and also fought to a draw with Timo Hoffmann who is #12 in the WBO. Krasniqi traveled to the U.S. once early in his career but pretty much has had the comfort of his home country.
What does this say about Lamon Brewster, willing to travel to another man’s turf to defend his strap? It says a hell of a lot about the man and the fighter. He isn’t running scared, he isn’t sitting on the sidelines comfortably watching the others face the opposition with his belt shining around his waist as some may be doing at this point. Brewster is continuing the race to once again prove he is not to be overlooked or left out. Triple H humbleness, heart, and one hard left hand can define Brewster.
This isn’t a walk in the park, this is not an easy task at hand, but this is boxing and it is never easy. This challenge just goes to further prove Brewster’s legitimacy in the heavyweight division; he has a title, and yes, he is willing to travel to defend it. So I say this in closing, to Lamon, go out and do your thing my brother and bring back the belt as quickly as possible. To Krasniqi and the Brewster doubters, don’t blink!
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