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BOXING: LEWIS v TYSON: WHO'S THE BADDEST?; Sugar Ray: Lewis looks sweetest.

Byline: DELME PARFITT

RING legend Sugar Ray Leonard is backing Lennox Lewis to win the war of nerves against Mike Tyson.

For many pundits the biggest fight of the century will be a clash of two styles.

And some have questioned whether Lewis - with his laid-back and often languid exterior - has the heart or the desire to compete with Tyson's natural aggression on such a big occasion.

However, Leonard believes it is Tyson who will be found wanting when the going gets tough.

``Tyson has proved before that he can't keep it together under pressure,'' insisted Leonard.

``That was never more the case than during the two fights with Evander Holyfield.

``We all remember what went on in those contests. ``But Lennox is an extremely composed individual. ``If you look at the way he conducts himself, nothing really seems to bother him.

``In my mind there is little doubt he will have the edge in that department.''

Leonard should certainly know all about big fight nights - he competed in some of the most memorable bouts in history.

His glittering career brought him world titles at five different weights and some maintain he is still the best pound-for-pound fighter there has ever been.

Fight fans the world over recall his classic battles with men like Thomas Hearns, Marvin Hagler and Roberto Duran.

And Leonard's vast experience of being the centre of attention on big fight nights means he knows just how both fighters will feel in Memphis next weekend.

But his confidence that Lewis will come through is rock solid.

``Lennox is just too big and has too many weapons for Tyson at the current time,'' said Sugar Ray.

``Lennox is at his most comfortable working off his jab and I think with the difference in height that is going to be a big factor this time.

``Unless Tyson can keep a clear head and stick to a sensible plan then he will be punished.

``It seems we have been waiting for this fight for so long I just hope it is the spectacle it could be.

``I hope there is no silly stuff that ends up overshadowing it all.

``I may think Lewis will win it, but the sport needs something good to happen in Memphis.''

CAPTION(S):

LENNOX IS NO LIGHTWEIGHT: Boxing legend Sugar Ray Leonard is backing Lewis to beat the might of Mike Tyson; MIGHTY MIKE: Evander Holyfield says Tyson will defeat Lewis in the big fight
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Title Annotation:Sport
Publication:Wales On Sunday (Cardiff, Wales)
Date:Jun 2, 2002
Words:410
Previous Article:BOXING: LEWIS v TYSON: HOW THEY FACE UP: THE STATS THAT MATTER.
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