Boxing


Michael Grant Scheduled To Return In April

21.03.07 - By James Slater: The huge Michael Grant, a man once considered the next heir apparent to the heavyweight throne, makes a return to the ring on April 19th in Pennsylvania. As yet no opponent has been named for the six foot seven Grant, but being as the bout will be the first for the thirty-four year old in nearly two years we can expect a pretty safe calibre of opposition. Grant’s last fight was a win, however, an eight round UD over the 13-6 Marcus McGee. That win marked the third victory in a row for the former world title challenger since his seventh round destruction at the hands of Dominick Guinn. Now, trained by Buddy McGirt, Grant is set to give it one more go at doing something in the heavyweight division..

It really is quite amazing how highly rated Grant once was. Almost as amazing was his crashing fall from such a lofty position. I distinctly remember reading an article in a boxing magazine, where the author asked the question, “Who would be crazy enough to think Michael Grant is not going to be the next dominant heavyweight?”

Well, I for one actually was. Going into his fight with world ruler Lennox Lewis, I truly believed Lennox would do a number on him, which, of course, he did - in two rounds. From then on in it all went downhill fast for big Michael, as a one round shocker upset him against Jameel “Big Time” McCline.

This led to a change of trainers, with Teddy Atlas being brought on board. But after a number of confidence boosting victories, over so-so opposition, Grant was again devastated, this time by Guinn. It turned out, then, that negative thinking when it came to the question posed by the boxing writer quoted above wasn’t so crazy after all. It really is astonishing what hype can do for a fighter, especially if he’s a colossal heavyweight.

We should have seen the warning signs with Grant, though. His fight with the mentally unstable contender Andrew Golota, in which Michael hit the canvas twice in the first round and was behind on the scorecards before Golota’s decision to quit following his own trip south in round ten, for example, told us much. At lease in hindsight. The Lewis fight followed the somewhat lucky win for Grant, however, and going in more than a few gave Grant a shot at winning the title. The fight very quickly turned one sided, and Lennox destroyed the bigger man swiftly and spectacularly. Then came the ultra-quick loss to McCline - a fight in which Grant was hit so hard his ankle was busted. It looked to all the world that his career had done likewise. The seven low key wins under Atlas followed, before what appeared to have been the final nail in his coffin was hammered in, against “The Southern Disaster,” in 2003.

Michael fought on, though. But since his third KO defeat Grant has boxed only sporadically, three times in all - all wins. And now, in April, he gives it one last go. Can he do anything on today’s scene? Heart was never a shortcoming for Michael, now 41-3 (31 KO’s) and neither was the ability to punch hard. Who knows, he might find himself in another big fight, should he get some momentum going. With McGirt training him, new life just might be breathed into his career. Should the still fairly young man (at least in heavyweight terms) get some decent wins under his belt, he could get one more chance at achieving at least a portion of what was expected of him back when he was an undefeated would-be star in 2000. Back then he was capable of beating the likes of David Izon, Obed Sullivan, Lou Savarase and, of course, Golota. Should he have any of that skill level and capability left today he may well get back on a big stage before he’s through for good.

All this will start in April, of course. Against who we will have to wait and see. It just could be, however, that Michael Grant makes what becomes a welcome return to the heavyweight division.

Article posted on 22.03.2007



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