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Tuesday, March 9, 1999 Published at 16:58 GMT

Bruno on the big fight

Bruno trades punches with Lewis during their world title bout in Cardiff

Former world heavyweight champion Frank Bruno gives News Online his expert verdict on the showdown between Evander Holyfield and Lennox Lewis.

The Lewis-Holyfield fight will be intriguing, certainly in the first couple of rounds.

Lewis vs Holyfield
Lewis is coming in weighing around 18st 8lbs, which seems very, very big to me - but then again, everyone is saying that Holyfield has had too many hard fights.

I'll be very interested to see how the fight shapes up from the start.

The longer it goes on the more I'd fancy Holyfield to win, because the weight that Lennox Lewis has put on will slow him down.

[ image: Bruno believes the fight could rejuvenate a troubled sport]
Bruno believes the fight could rejuvenate a troubled sport
But basically it's very even-stevens.

If I had to put my money on the line it would be for Lennox Lewis.

He's just that little bit younger and he hasn't taken as much punishment as Holyfield has in so many tough fights.

I'd sway towards an early victory for Lennox and he's the guy I would like to see win it.

It would be good for the country and good for boxing over here. It's always nice to see someone from Britain do well against an American, because they dominate so much.

Holyfield needs a challenge

Some would say Evander Holyfield's best days are behind him but I don't really know if that's true.

Holyfield always gets up when people think he's down. He brings out his best for the really big fights, the ones where he needs to be on top form.

I think it's fair to say that the Lennox Lewis fight definitely comes into that category.

Lennox is also a big guy and he moves well. He punches so hard and there's no doubt that he'll be up for it.

I know all about Lennox

It's been suggested that Lennox Lewis doesn't always believe in himself when it comes to big fights like this - but that's not the way I see it at all.

[ image: Lewis is now a bigger fighter than when he fought Bruno in 1993]
Lewis is now a bigger fighter than when he fought Bruno in 1993
He's done what's been asked of him. There isn't a spectacular knock-out in every single contest but he makes sure he does enough to win.

Lewis was about two stones lighter when he fought me, so it's amazing what a difference a few years can make.

I think he's bulked himself up so Holyfield can't push him around.

I have fought both Lennox Lewis and Mike Tyson in world title fights but it's quite difficult to compare them.

I wouldn't go so far as to say that Lennox hits harder than Tyson, but he's definitely slicker than him with his taller, more upright stance.

The way he jabs and moves gives him the edge in some ways, with his upper-cuts and cleaner punches.

Tyson is more ragged, but he's got to be respected as a fighter. He certainly earned my respect in the ring anyway.

The biggest heart in the business

The strengths of Evander Holyfield are definitely his guts and his heart - it's a pretty lethal combination.

[ image: Holyfield grimaces after Tyson's infamous ear-bite in the 1997 rematch]
Holyfield grimaces after Tyson's infamous ear-bite in the 1997 rematch
He goes to war when he's in the ring and you've got to try and rip that heart out of Holyfield if you want to stand a chance of beating him.

It's difficult to find a bad word to say against him because of what he's proved down the years.

He's achieved more than Lennox Lewis but you can't take anything away from Lewis - he's a very dangerous guy.

The best thing for Evander Holyfield to do in Madison Square Garden would be to keep moving in and out... keep using his jab and not be a standing target.

He needs to keep backing Lewis up, shocking him with his speed. That extra weight that Lewis is carrying will probably make him less flexible.

What next for the winner?

They are billing this as the fight of the decade and it's tricky to see where boxing goes after this one.

The excitement has died down a bit in recent times but it certainly warmed up when Mike Tyson came out of prison.

[ image: Tyson launches into Bruno on his way to victory in 1989]
Tyson launches into Bruno on his way to victory in 1989
Then he got banned of course and that sent things back down. There just isn't the same level of charisma in the main fighters I see around at the moment.

I'd never knock boxing because it's a great sport but it isn't peaking or as red-hot as it was, say five years ago.

I'd have loved to see the winner of this fight take on Mike Tyson next but that won't happen now he's in jail.

It would be wrong to say that Tyson is definitely finished yet, though. He can keep developing late in his career but it depends what state of mind he's in.

He's had quite a good battering outside the ring with whatever he's been doing.

To be honest, I feel sorry for him. His life has been one long, rocky road and being in prison for one day is very tough, let alone a year. It's just sad.

Glad to be just 'chilling out'

I'm retired now so it's crazy to think about it, but if I was at my peak I would still fancy my chances against Lennox Lewis or Evander Holyfield.

Things have changed though and I'll just be tuning in like everybody else.

At one point I was thinking of going over there - but I'll stay up and watch it on television instead.

I'm going to chill out and settle down for what should be a great fight.

I'm really looking forward to it.

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