Boxing


Michael Grant Returns With 1st-Round Win Over Kevin Burnett - Grant Now 8-0(5) Since His Loss To Dominick Guinn

by James Slater - Former world heavyweight title challenger and one-time "heir apparent" to the throne Michael Grant quietly returned to action at the weekend, taking out 27-year-old journeyman Kevin "Big Man" Burnett in a single round on the under-card of the Byron Mitchell-Otis Griffin match in Huntington, New York (which Mitchell lost, via an upset 8th-round TKO).

Now aged 37 and having what was his first fight since November of 2008, Grant improved to 46-3(34), and "Big" is now 8-0(5) since his most recent defeat; the spectacular 7th-round TKO he suffered at the hands of Dominick Guinn back in June of 2003.. Always an athletic-looking fighter, Grant weighed-in at a more than reasonable 257-pounds for the fight against the 277-pound, and 13-3-1(8) Burnett.

Grant decked his man with a big right hand very early, and then trapped Burnett, who had bravely beaten the count, in a corner and finished the job as the ref dived in at the 1-minute and 48-second mark. Burnett and his team complained about the stoppage, claiming it was premature, and he may have had a case. Still, it is unlikely there will be a rematch, and the Chicago man will likely move on in his latest ring return.

Having been in with some of the top names of the heavyweight division in the 1990s and early 2000s, and having also worked with a number of top trainers, Grant is one of the more experienced heavyweights out there still fighting here in 2010. Looked at as a "can't miss" prospect back before he was cruelly exposed in a couple of rounds by then heavyweight champ Lennox Lewis in April of 2000, Grant lost his way and was, in his next fight after Lewis, blown away inside a minute by Jameel McCline.

The vulnerability to a good shot that Grant showed in both of these fights - and the loss to Guinn a couple of years later - is likely still there, but if he's matched right Grant could keep himself on the winning track. There won't be too many people out there willing to claim he'll ever get his hands on a version of the world title, but that doesn't mean there are no interesting, potentially fan-friendly fights out there for the man who holds wins over Ross Puritty, Andrew Golota, Lionel Butler and Jorge Luis Gonzalez.

Guinn, for one example of an interesting possible opponent for Grant, is still active, and maybe the two would like a return. Or how about Grant taking on the also recently-returned Shannon Briggs somewhere down the line? Other at least vaguely interesting potential rivals for Grant could be someone like a Tony Thompson (in a battle of the big guys - both standing just over the 6'5" mark), a returning Kevin Johnson or maybe even a returning Eddie Chambers (who no-one has heard anything from since his March KO loss to Wladimir Klitschko).

Of course, these suggestions are simply fights I wouldn't mind seeing as long as Grant continues to box - it doesn't mean any of these match-ups will take place. However, if Grant is serious about making one final run at the title, he will have to fight someone who is both ranked and well known.

His chin could well let him down on any given night, but Grant is at least a fit guy who always comes in in shape. Which is a lot more than you can say about some of the other heavyweights who are currently ranked above him. Also, win or lose, Grant has never been in any fight that wasn't at least entertaining.

Article posted on 09.05.2010



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