Fields is Cooneyesque

MURRAY GREIG, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 10:51 AM ET

Ken Lakusta remembers what it felt like to trade bombs with Gerry Cooney.

"Gerry's punches really packed a jolt," the two-time Canadian heavyweight champ recalled of those early '80s sparring sessions with the guy who at the time was the No. 1 contender for Larry Holmes's undisputed world championship. "No matter where they landed, they hurt."

Lakusta has recently experienced flashbacks while training six-foot-eight, 270-pound Tye Fields, the newly converted southpaw with a record of 42-2 (38 KOs) who's fighting Missouri's Galen Brown in the headliner of a five-bout card Oct. 30 at The Palace banquet hall.

"Tye's left hook is a lot like Cooney's -- he almost knocked my arm out of its socket when he cracked me the other day," Lakusta said. "It's hard to believe that he's never fought right-handed before. That just shows you the kind of power he's packing in both fists."

Ironically, Brown, who owns a respectable 39-12 record with 19 KOs, fights from the southpaw stance that Fields recently abandoned -- apparently for good.

"Yeah, it's kind of funny that Tye's first bout as an orthodox fighter is against another southpaw, but it should be a good test," said Lakusta. "Even in training, there's a different mindset when you start punching from what's always been your wrong side.

"At this point, though, I'm really happy with the way Tye is progressing. From here on, it's just a matter of fine-tuning the tools he already has. His defence has to improve, he's gotta keep working on developing a world-class jab and he's gotta get into the habit of stepping in, instead of waiting for the other guy to do something.

"Tye's such a great natural athlete that you almost forget how big he is in there. But for a big man he moves real well. I want him to be able to wiggle and squirm like (Floyd) Mayweather on defence, and think like (Vitali) Klitschko on offence. That's a deadly combination."

The rest of the Malice at The Palace card is still being finalized, but two undercard attractions have already been locked in: a match between ex-CFLers Glenn Kulka and Paul Cheng in the debut of a series for what Lakusta is billing as the heavyweight championship of North American pro football, and the return of junior middleweight crowd-pleaser Anthony (Hits Hard) Lessard.

In the best action bout Edmonton has seen in 20 years, Lessard dropped a decision to cross-town rival Kris Andrews for the Canadian Boxing Federation title on Aug. 28. The ferocity of the fight netted both men 45-day suspensions, but Lessard says he'll be "more than ready" to rumble against an as-yet-unsigned opponent on Oct. 30.

PRETTY BOY RULES: Floyd Mayweather's shutout victory over Juan Manuel Marquez on Sept. 19 won't be remembered as one of his watershed wins, but it generated an impressive 1.1 million pay-per-view buys at $52 US a pop -- dwarfing the PPV numbers for UFC 103 in the first major head-to-head battle for viewers between boxing and mixed martial arts.

Mayweather vs. Marquez was just the fifth non-heavyweight fight to generate one million buys . The list is headed by Mayweather's split decision over Oscar De La Hoya in 2007, which had a record 2.44 million.

Still, MMA continues to garner a huge following on regular TV. That would explain all those antennas in the trailer parks.

KNIGHTS OF BOXING: The West Edmonton Knights Boxing Club is hosting its season-opening amateur card on Oct. 6 at the gym at 10074 151 Street. Head coach Stu McGrandle and his staff has once again done an excellent job of matchmaking, and the card will showcase some of the finest amateur talent in the province.

MURRAY.GREIG@SUNMEDIA.CA


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