'Genuine animosity'

MURRAY GREIG, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 10:35 AM ET

The tall southpaw, who looks like the kind of kid you'd want your daughter to date, fidgeted with his shades.

Like everyone else at yesterday's final media conference for tomorrow's Armed & Dangerous fight card at the Shaw Conference Centre, Kris Andrews was waiting on his main event opponent.

"This is so typical; he's all about the circus act. I hate this crap. It pisses me off that he's so childish," Andrews said.

Several minutes passed before Anthony Lessard --who bears a striking resemblance to Travis Bickle in Taxi Driver -- made his grand entrance at the Shark Club.

Lessard barely acknowledged a withering look of annoyance from Andrews before taking his seat at the head table.

And after Andrews bluntly informed promoter Glen Carriere that he wanted to speak last, Lessard seized the moment to land a couple of verbal jabs.

"The hard work is behind me; this is my time," he said, grinning. "I'm two days away from the easy part, two days away from realizing my goal."

But when Andrews (14-8-2, 4 KOs) and Lessard (7-4-2, 5 KOs) square off for the Canadian Boxing Federation's vacant junior middleweight title tomorrow night, it will be about much more than insults and etiquette.

Both guys have made it personal. And considering it marks the first time two Edmontonians are fighting for a national title, it's given promoter Carriere pause for perspective.

"To be perfectly honest, I'm surprised ... and a little confused," Carriere said.

"We've been putting on shows for more than 20 years, and I honestly can't remember ever seeing so much genuine animosity between two guys who used to be friends. Usually it's just all talk.

"At the last press conference, Kris didn't even wait until it was over. He said his piece and took off. I was stunned.

"Today it looked like maybe Anthony was playing a bit of a head game, showing up late. He apologized, but so what?

"To me, the storyline here isn't that it's the first time two Edmontonians are fighting for a national title. It's that these two guys -- who really, really don't like each other -- are fighting for their futures.

"One of them will be the Canadian champ. That carries some weight with promoters in other countries. It can lead to some nice paydays.

"The loser? He's going to have to take a long look at where his career is going. This is the third crack at the crown for Kris. It's make or break for him."

QUICK JABS: Tiny Brown of Vancouver will sub for the injured Bengaly Kourouma against ex-Canadian cruiserweight champ Ryan Henney ... The other prelim has unbeaten Calgary welterweight Steve Claggett (4-0) against Vancouver's Dave Petryk (0-1).

MURRAY.GREIG@SUNMEDIA.CA


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