One From The, “I Can’t Believe He’s STILL Fighting!” Column - Lenzie Morgan

29.05.07 - By James Slater: On Saturday, June 9th, at approximately the same time big name players from the world of boxing such as Antonio Tarver, Zab Judah and Miguel Cotto will be plying their trade on the big stage, a veteran former middleweight will be doing likewise. Yet on a much less publicised and financially rewarding scale. Forty year old Youngstown native, Lenzie “Lightening” Morgan is the man this article is dedicated to. The same Lenzie Morgan I recall seeing for the first ever time fighting Britain’s Nigel Benn way back in October of 1991. That bout, Morgan’s 19th, was contested at super-middleweight.

Lenzie lost, for the seventh time. Yet he gave a good account of himself that night, taking the lethal punching “Dark Destroyer” the full ten rounds in the non-title match. The blueprint for Morgan’s entire career had been well and truly drawn up. For while he had previously boxed in losing fights that contested smaller titles - fights with Antoine Byrd and Andrew Maynard, for the USBA super-middleweight and NABF light-heavyweight titles, respectively - he would soon become known as one of the sport’s ultimate journeymen.

I still have his fight with Benn on tape somewhere on the back shelf of a closet. I also still can remember the way the badly scarred (Lenzie was the victim of a fire accident earlier in life) six foot, three inches tall, then 168 pound fighter, kept trying to press Nigel all fight long. He was tough, no doubt about it. To be still boxing now, however, some sixteen years on, when aged forty, is something quite remarkable. Yet the fighter with the ghastly stats of 14-31-3 (7) is doing just that. Lenzie has long since vacated the 160 and 168 pound divisions. Travelling upwards - in poundage, if not in actual victories - Morgan has boxed in every weight class there is above middleweight and super-middleweight.

Squaring up against a veritable who’s who of boxers, Lenzie has tackled the following: Byrd, Benn, Merqui Sosa, Tim Littles, and Christophe Tiozzo at 168 pounds (all losses, but only the defeat to Sosa coming by stoppage) Maynard, Henry Maske, Ole Klemetsen, Crawford Ashley and Courtney Butler at 175 pounds (again, all losses, but with the Klemetson and Maynard defeats being the only stoppages from the five bouts) Don Diego Poeder at cruiserweight ( a points loss) and Sherman Williams, Courage Tshabalala, Kevin McBride, Brian Minto and Bruce Seldon at heavyweight ( all defeats, with both McBride and Seldon stopping him). See a pattern? Lenzie Morgan, as many losses he may have acquired in his long and hard career, is a man who must be utterly fearless. Quite simply, he has fought everyone - and in five different weight divisions at that!

He has certainly travelled a far harder road than the one he will surely have foreseen back when he was WINNING his pro debut back in 1987. Back then, Lenzie won a six round decision over one Rodney Tatum. A staggering twenty years later, Lenzie has managed only a further thirteen wins. Talk about the unlucky number! In fact, the forty year old tough guy has been victorious in only three of his last thirty-two fights. Of course, with stats like these the notion of whether or not Morgan should be allowed to continue to box is a relevant one. But at the same time one has to admire the guts and bravery Lenzie displays each and every time he does what he does in order to earn a living. Without doubt, Lenzie Morgan has to be considered as one of the sport’s most hard-headed journeymen of the last three decades. And as such, one can only wish him well with his desire to carry on fighting. He badly, badly needs to have his hand raised, though.

Lenzie’s last victory came in 1995. Scoring a KO triumph that is even rarer for him that an actual win, Lenzie TKO’d Jose Gomes in seven rounds in Brazil. Twelve years later, Morgan is still searching for his next victory. A single, solitary win at heavyweight has so far eluded him. Last time out, in March of this year, he was out pointed over ten by the decent Elieser
Castillo. This loss marked Lenzie’s thirty-first. It is to be hoped he has more luck in his upcoming June fight, held in Springfield. There, Morgan will meet the thirty-three year old, 5-1, Ray Grant. Also on the card will be Bobby Gunn - last seen being almost decapitated by Welshman, Enzo Maccarinelli in a round. Judge for yourself then, the quality of boxing that can be expected on the June 9th card.

My fingers are crossed for Lenzie Morgan, though. Not every pro boxer can rise to be a champion or a world beater. Our sport needs the Lenzie Morgans of the world, however. The trail horses, the journeymen, the tomato cans. Call them what you will, but they are a necessary part of the sport of boxing. And there was a time when Lenzie Morgan was one of the best Journeymen out there. Rarely stopped when fighting in his twenties and thirties, Morgan routinely travelled to countries such as Australia, France, Germany, England, Denmark, Brazil and The Netherlands - invited there due to his ability at testing future champions, former champions, or up-and-comers to the limit. Most of the time he made these fighters work damn hard for their win.

This may not be the case now, up at heavyweight. But Lenzie Morgan’s bravery and sheer guts should still be applauded all the same. Earning a living in such a way sure is hazardous, but Lenzie Morgan knows no other way.

Article posted on 29.05.2007

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