Stewart in mood to put away Foreman

April 11, 1992|By Knight-Ridder News Service

LAS VEGAS -- When you visit a foreign country for the first time, you see the sights, right?

Not heavyweight Alex Stewart, who takes on George Foreman tonight in a scheduled 10-rounder to be televised by HBO from the Thomas & Mack Center. He hardly ever left his hotel room during the five days he was in Poland for his most recent bout, a three-round technical knockout of Joe Christjohn on Feb. 22. That fight was staged in Katowice, just outside Warsaw.

"Wasn't anything to see as far as I could tell," said Stewart, who is 28-3 with 28 knockouts. "Everything in the country was gray. Their favorite color must be gray."

Stewart's mood has been similarly drab ever since his first-round, technical-knockout loss to Mike Tyson on Dec. 8, 1990. That night, all the skeptics who had dismissed Stewart as a false creation of his promoter, Madison Square Garden Boxing, nodded knowingly. Stewart seemingly was petrified before the fight, what little there was of it. The first time Tyson hit him, he collapsed in a heap.

"He was like the deer who runs across the road and is frozen by the headlights of an onrushing car," CBS boxing analyst Gil Clancy said of Stewart.

After his embarrassment by Tyson, Stewart said he was "disgusted," ready to quit, ready to say "to hell with boxing." He thought the better of it, came back four months later to stop someone named Danny Wofford in five rounds in St. Joseph, Mo., birthplace of the Pony Express.

That earned Stewart a July 27, 1991, date with rising heavyweight contender Michael Moorer in what might accurately be described as a crossroads bout for both men. If Moorer, a former World Boxing Organization light-heavyweight champion, could withstand Stewart's power, he would certify himself as a legitimate heavyweight; a victory by Stewart would thrust him back into title contention.

Stewart, knocked down twice in the first round, stunned Moorer with a right hand in round two, but was unable to follow up. Moorer recovered and eventually won a fourth-round TKO.

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