The world has learned a great deal about David Tua during the promotion of his title fight against Lennox Lewis. He’s a funny guy with a lot of spirit. He has knocked out a bunch of heavyweights, mostly with his big left hook, mostly guys we’ve never heard of. He has funky hair. He’s a longshot to win the heavyweight title.
But there’s only one thing you need to know to determine this densely packed Samoan spark plug’s chances to win Saturday night: He’s too small to beat Lennox Lewis.
To start with, Lewis has the most effective jab in the heavyweight division. Add to that his enormous, 15-inch reach advantage over Tua. Lewis’ wingspan edge is a decisive offensive and defensive weapon. His swings at Tua will be overpowering and huge, like Mike Piazza taking cuts with a 50-inch bat. Also, he’ll keep Tua at bay using his left like an all-pro running back stiff-arming would-be tacklers. While there’s no doubt about his undying work ethic, Tua’s not a skillful enough boxer to beat Lewis, and he doesn’t navigate the ring well enough to maneuver inside Lewis’ long-range artillery.
It may not be an exciting fight. But it’s an easy one to call. Put your money on the true long shot: Lennox Lewis.
-- CNNSI.com's Evan Kanew
Throw away the odds.
Forget the 15-inch reach advantage Lennox Lewis has over David Tua.
Squash that talk about Tua getting the big fight heebie-jeebies Saturday night.
The Throwin’ Samoan has what it takes to defeat Lewis.
Tua will fatten up before the fight, possibly exceeding 250 pounds. That will be key for him to absorb those Lewis punches, especially when it comes to the critical middle rounds. Tua tends to falter during that part of the fight because of stamina. But a little more mass and stamina can give him energy after those adrenaline-rushed early rounds.
Also, Tua’s fighting style is a lot like Mike Tyson’s -- attack like a pit bull. That poses a problem for Lewis because it cancels out the reach advantage. Getting inside and continuing to pound away is perhaps the only way to bring down London’s second tallest monument after Big Ben.
Perhaps the trickiest way Tua can win is by getting into Lewis’ head. Basically, make the champ blow his cool, lose points and force him to make a mistake. Face it, Tua is a very unorthodox boxer. If Tua can make Lewis whiff more than Preston Wilson, the Brit will have a fit. Get Lewis out of his game plan, there goes the stone-face demeanor, in comes the below the belt punches. There goes Lewis’ points and in comes Tua for the kill.
--CNNSI.com's Robert Rodriguez