This time, Lennox Lewis wants to take the Garden path to a clear-cut victory.
There were some bumps in the heavyweight champion's earlier trips to Madison Square Garden, two bouts covering 22 rounds.
Lewis won a majority 10-round decision over former Augusta resident and Olympic gold medalist Ray Mercer on May 10, 1996, in a fight more than a few people thought he lost. Then, in a title bout against Evander Holyfield that almost everybody thought he won, Lewis had to settle for a draw on March 13, 1999.
Tonight, Lewis (35-1, 27 knockouts) will defend his title against unbeaten Michael Grant (31-0, 22 knockouts).
The 6-foot-5, 247-pound Lewis was a 5-2 favorite at Caesars Palace in Las Vegas to beat his 6-7, 250-pound opponent.
It will be Lewis' first fight since he retained the WBC title and won the IBF and WBA championships by scoring a unanimous decision over Holyfield Nov. 20.
Lewis since has lost the WBA title because a federal judge ruled he breached a contract with promoter Don King because he agreed that if won the rematch against Holyfield, he would then make a mandatory defense against the highest available WBA contender, who is not Grant (No. 5).
BASKETBALL: Aiken Technical College has signed three area basketball players to letters-of-intent, the school announced Friday.
Jeff Battle of North Augusta High School, Thomas Mims of Cross Creek High School and Anthony Sweat of Greenbrier High School have signed to play for the Knights, the defending National Junior College Athletic Association Region 10 champions.
Battle is a forward, while Mims and Sweat are swingmen.
Aiken Tech was the top ranked team in NJCAA for a number of weeks. The Knights won 30 games and a trip to the national tournament.
More than 40 teams, featuring boys 11-16 years of age, began play in Augusta on Friday in the Youth Basketball of America tournament. Games today will begin at 8:30 a.m. Courts at May Park, Warren Road, McDuffie Woods, Bernie Ward and Belle Terrance centers will be used.
Finals are scheduled Sunday, beginning at 9 a.m., at Warren Road and Bernie Ward community centers.
Westside High School is looking for teams to fill several open dates on its boys and girls basketball schedule next season. The dates are Nov. 28, Dec. 5, Dec. 8, Dec. 9, Dec. 22, Jan. 12, Feb. 3 and Feb. 6. Interested coaches should call Westside athletic director Marvin Fields at (706) 868-4030.
FOOTBALL: Georgia Tech may be adding more seats for football and baseball fans.
Because of increased football ticket sales, the athletics board is studying an expansion of Bobby Dodd Stadium from 46,000 seats to 55,023 in the next three years. Fifteen years ago, the stadium was downsized from 58,000 to 46,000.
"I'm very excited about the possibility of playing in a new stadium in 2003," said coach George O'Leary.
Senior associate athletics director Steve Orsini said the proposal is in the preliminary stages, but supporters of the project are optimistic.
The school also is studying a project to double the capacity of Russ Chandler Stadium from 2,500 to 5,000 for baseball.
O'Leary said last fall that Tech suffers a home-field and recruiting disadvantage by playing in Bobby Dodd Stadium, which was built in 1913 and is the oldest on-campus stadium in NCAA Division I-A.
HORSE RACING: Caller One hasn't been seriously tested in his two starts this spring, and oddsmakers also are not overly impressed with his competition in the Debry Trial Stakes. The James Chapman-trained colt will be the 8-5 favorite to win the $100,000 race today at Churchill Downs in the opening day of the track's spring meeting.
Caller One has won four of six career races and has a field-best $173,990 in earnings.
Caller One's primary rivals are expected to include the D. Wayne-Lukas-trained Sun Cat and Steven Asmussen's Littleexpectations. Lukas also will saddle Padua Stable's True Confidence, who could end up in the crowded Kentucky Derby field with a first- or second-place finish.
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