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Kevin Lerena ‘s heavyweight career is in ruins unless Rodney Berman performs a Moore-like miracle

Cape Town — Kevin Lerena came within a whisker of lifting the WBA’s watered-down version of the world heavyweight title, but his future as a world-class heavyweight contender, never mind a world heavyweight champion, disappeared into the London night air over the weekend.

Had Lerena defeated the Brit Daniel Dubois, the holder of the WBA’s regular version of the world heavyweight championship, it would have been an upset of monumental proportions. It would have ranked alongside the upset win of Hasim Rahman over the reigning world champion Lennox Lewis in South Africa back in April 2001.

The Lewis-Rahman clash was promoted by Rodney Berman, who, along with crack trainer Peter Smith, have done a wonderful job of guiding Lerena’s career to a point where he could land a prime slot on Frank Warren’s showstopper bill at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium.

The bill was headlined by Tyson Fury, arguably the best heavyweight on the planet today, and the Zimbabwean-born Brit Derek Chisora.

Had Lerena won he would have secured another lucrative fight as the WBA regular champion. Based on his third-round performance against Dubois, one can safely say he would have made only one title defence except for a miracle which does happen now and again in boxing.

Ask Gerrie Coetzee about boxing miracles. Despite a broken right-hand Coetzee, an 8-1 outsider at the time, knocked out Michael Dokes in the 10th round to win the WBA heavyweight championship in Ohio, in 1983.

Berman, Smith and Golden Gloves publicist Brian Mitchell will need a miracle to secure another major bout for Lerena.

Berman must perform a Rob Moore-like miracle. Remember Benni McCarthy was sacked by Cape Town City for poor results. A few months later AmaZulu sacked McCarthy for the same reason.

For a few months McCarthy remained unemployed until Moore weaves his magic and lands the PSL outcast a prime slot at Manchester United, one of the world’s foremost clubs. It was an outstanding feat by Moore.

Berman, like Moore, is well-connected and a streetwise promoter. Under his guidance, Lerena became a highly-ranked cruiserweight with the WBC, the world’s foremost boxing organization.

Lerena could have enjoyed some big pay-days in the cruiserweight division. Instead, Lerena was advised to move up to the heavyweight division where he made a good start, rather than an impressive one, by winning his fights.

The best thing that happened to Lerena on Saturday was that the fight ended in the third round. He became Dubois’ punching bag and experienced referee Howard Foster stopped the carnage on the stroke of time at the end of the round.

In the pre-match ‘rules’ meeting, the two camps were told that the British Boxing Board of Control’s rules were in place for the bout and the ‘Three Knockdown Rule’ was not applicable. Dubois was decked once in the opening round and moments later he suffered a knee injury.

Before the first round ended, Dubois twice went down on his knee as a way of dealing with the knee injury. Some fight fans took to social media to say round one ended a few seconds early.

Berman has made it known on Twitter that he will lodge an appeal with WBA in the hope of overturning the official result.

@Herman_Gibbs

IOL Sport