David Tua may find reality hard to stomach

LA Times and AP

David Tua, who will fight champion Lennox Lewis Saturday night in Las Vegas for the WBC AND IBF heavyweight titles, has told the British tabloid, the Sun, “My ancestors were cannibals. I can already taste Lennox.” Tua is a Samoan who lives in New Zealand. Said Ron Borges of the Boston Globe, “His ancestors, so the story goes, were Polynesian fighters who dined upon a visiting missionary or two in their heyday before finally succumbing to their preachings and becoming deeply religious.” Lewis, however, is nearly 10 inches taller than Tua and has such a reach advantage, says Borges, that for Tua “to do any dining at ringside, he’ll have to be ordering from your room serveices.” His spiked hairdo became an issue recently, when handlers for Lewis complained to Nevada boxing officials about the unruly locks that stick out five inches or so from the top of the challenger’s head. Lewis himself doesn’t seem concerned about Tua’s hairdo — or his vaunted power. “You can’t just bring power and a hairdo,” he said. “You have to bring everything. I bring an arsenal.” Tua vs. Lewis fight generates New Zealand betting record The David Tua vs. Lennox Lewis world heavyweight boxing title fight has become the biggest single event in New Zealand sports betting history. The WBC and IBF title clash, scheduled for Saturday night at the Mandalay Bay hotel-casino in Las Vegas, broke the national betting record with 24 hours to spare. Sanctioned betting shops in New Zealand had taken more than New Zealand 1.2 million (US$480,000) on the fight the day before it was due to commence. The previous record was for a 1996 rugby union international between the New Zealand All Blacks and archrival Australia. The bout has been making front-page headlines in New Zealand, Tua’s adopted homeland, and in Samoa, the tiny Pacific island of his birth. Defending WBC and IBF champion Lewis, making a mandatory defense of his IBF belt, is favorite to win. The 6-foot-5 (196 centimeter) Briton is favored to beat the 5-10 (178-centimeter) Tua in a battle of power punchers. Tua, who weighed in at 245 pounds (111 kilograms), only four pounds (1.8 kg) lighter than Lewis, has a record of 37-1 with 32 knockouts and is ranked No. 1 contender by both the IBF and the WBC. Lewis, 35, of Britain, has a career record 35-1-1 with 29 knockouts.