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Time to Hang up Your Gloves - by Bongani Magasela

There is nothing more painful in boxing than witnessing a boxer who was once a marvel to watch, forcing matters when he should be sitting in the stands as a spectator, because his fighting days are over. You just want to get up and leave because the temptation to jump up from your seat and break the rules - intervene, just overwhelms you.

Sometimes you even lose your composure and start screaming at the referee
in charge in an attempt to influence him to stop the brutality.

This is wrong but previous terrible experiences such a boxer taking a pounding second to none and ending up in hospital with subsequently permanent injuries or death just stare you right in your face.

Mind you, not only a referee can stop fights but corner men have that right as well. You don’t often see them do that and most leave it too late.

Time-keeper, Stanely Sono, always told me that when he was still active as an official, it was always best to stop a fight too soon than too late.

Some corner men leave it too late because they either think they know charges so well or they are misled by their nick names — “Killer”, “Raging Bull”, Hands of Thunder”, “Mad Dog” and others.

I must be honest with you, I hate such nick names. They are misleading. I don’t mind the “Baby” whoever or “Dancing Shoes” because it is a must to protect babies, while once those shoes are no longer able to dance, then corner men know what to do.

What impelled me to write this article was the recent performance of Lucky
Lewele at Nasrec. It was an eye-sore, to say the least. His facial appearance
and conduct inside the ring left me with one thing in mind - advise him to hang up his gloves.

I was lucky to see his career take off, so I think I will be forgiven when I say the curtain has fallen on “Babawazo” and it is time to go. Lewele was a warrior. Lewele is one of those boxers who never had an easy fight.

Lewele gave punishment as much as he received. This veteran of more than
30 fights, a former double SA Champion and WBC International welterweight champion, fought a novice in Gerald Nekhubva.

Lewele, a shadow of his former self, took severe punishment for three rounds. He just could not defend him self and needed somebody to rescue him. His skills have deteriorated. The correlation between the muscle and the nerve is gone. His legs worked against his brains.

Every time he got caught on his forehead, he literally stopped fighting, flinched and shook his head. I got scared. A slow starter by nature, he came back in the fourth and fifth rounds but was still getting caught badly. The sixth and final round was even.

I am not worried about the decision which was a draw but I am rather concerned about Lewele’s health.

Don’t forget, Thabo Mashishi gave Lewele hell before he stopped him in five, same applied against Bongani Mwelase and Selcuk Aydin in Turkey.

A brotherly advice, Lucky, get out before you bring sorrow to yourself, your parents, your loved ones, your friends and your followers by becoming a vegetable.

I take my leave.