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MURRAY GREIG, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 9:56 AM ET

Edmonton's Ken Lakusta had 46 pro fights and won two Canadian heavyweight titles between 1979-94.

A more impressive stat is that 36 of his 240 rounds were spent trading punches with six guys who at one time or another owned a version of the world championship: Trevor Berbick, Frank Bruno, Michael Dokes, Tommy Morrison, George Foreman and Larry Holmes.

He also spent time as a sparring partner for Pinklon Thomas and was invited to Japan to work with a young Mike Tyson, when Iron Mike was at his ferocious best.

Although Lakusta came up short each time he answered the bell against a Top 10 contender, you could make a strong case that he had a better look than almost anyone else in the sport at the best heavyweights of his era.

Everywhere he travelled - from Jakarta, where he fought Mark Wills, to London (Bruno), Las Vegas (Morrison) and Ecuador (Francois Botha) - Lakusta soaked it all in.

Comparing styles and sizing up other fighters became second nature, to the point where he became something of an expert analyst.

On Friday night he'll showcase that talent to a nationwide TV audience when he serves as colour commentator on SportsNet's telecast of the six-bout British Invasion card at the Shaw Conference Centre.

"I was always making mental notes when I sparred with guys like Tyson and Thomas, and I watched a lot of video before my fights with Foreman and Dokes and Holmes because I liked to see how they did things and try to pick up something about their strengths and weaknesses," Lakusta recalled earlier this week.

"A lot of what I learned was just by watching, and when I started training young fighters myself, I found it was pretty easy to break down and explain what they did wrong and what they did right. To do that on television is something I'm really looking forward to."

Lakusta is getting that opportunity because Tony Pep, the regular broadcast partner for blow-by-blow commentator James Monsees, is returning to the ring on Friday for his first fight in four years - a six-rounder with Montreal's Leonardo Rojas.

"Tony is what, 44? Well, I was 39 for my last fight, so I think I can identify a little bit with what he's doing," said Lakusta.

"I'm looking forward to watching him fight again, because Tony is one of those guys who's always in shape. Even when he was working as a broadcaster, he looked like he could jump back in the ring any time he wanted to."

Asked if he was getting nervous as the hours tick down to his SportsNet debut, Lakusta didn't miss a beat:

"The only thing I'm nervous about is wearing that tuxedo," he deadpanned. "I'll look so sharp, I might bleed!"


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