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Does Brewster Have Anything Left?

Lamon BrewsterBy Jim Dower: Recently, it was announced that former WBO heavyweight champion Lamon Brewster (34-4, 30 KOs) is planning on fighting Britain’s Michael Sprott (31-12, 16 KOs) on March 14th in an 8-round bout at the Ostseehalle, Kiel, in Schleswig-Holstein, Germany. For Brewster, who is now 35-years-old, there’s a question as to whether he’s now too old to be relevant in the heavyweight division.

Though he’s ranked #11 in the WBA, the way he was easily handled by Wladimir Klitschko in a one-sided 6th round stoppage in July 2007, seems to a hint that Brewster doesn’t have it anymore. It wasn’t so much that he was beaten by Wladimir, because even in his prime in 2004, Brewster had a lot of problems with Wladimir before rallying to stop him in the 5th to capture the WBO heavyweight title.

In this case, however, Brewster had no fire in his belly, barely putting up a fight as he plodded around taking hard jabs from Wladimir round after round until the fight was eventually stopped in the 6th by Brewster’s trainer to prevent him from taking any more punishment.

Obviously, this wasn’t Brewster’s finest hour as he has always been a fighter known for taking a lot of punishment and still coming back to win his fights in heroic fashion, beating fighters like Kali Meehan, Klitschko and Luan Krasniqi in that fashion and coming close to stopping Serguei Lyakhovich before ultimately losing the fight.

Almost all of Brewster’s fights had a certain drama connected to them and he quickly began seen as one of the most exciting fighters in the heavyweight division. However, after suffering an eye injury in his war with Lyakhovich in 2006, an injury which required surgery to repair his eye, Brewster seemed to take a calculated risk by fighting Wladimir immediately following the healing of the injury without taking a warm-up fight or two in between.

As one would expect under those circumstances, Brewster wasn’t ready for such a high quality opponent like Wladimir and ended up being stopped. The problem didn’t seem to exist with his physical skills, as in the few times he connected, Brewster showed the same big power as before the surgery. However, his aggression seemed greatly reduced in comparison to before.

As such, he went out and was beaten without even lifting much of a finger in his own defense. In a subsequent fight 13 months later against Danny Batchelder in August 2008, Brewster stopped the journeyman in the 5th round.

To be sure, it was a good win but there are still a lot of questions about whether Brewster has the fire to fight as hard as he did before. If he can’t, then I doubt that Brewster’s comeback with be successfully, because what made him so good was his ability to walk through withering fire in order to land his own big shots. If you take that away, then Brewster is just an average fighter who’s easily picked apart on the outside.

At 35, he doesn’t have much time left to make his move if he wants to challenge for another title. He can probably easily beat a fighter like Sprott, but Brewster will have to come out fighting in the same way he did before and not hold back for fear of reinjuring his eye. By holding back, Brewster only increases the likelihood that he’ll suffer even worse injury than if he was to go out hard and shoot for a knockout.

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