by James Slater – 37-year-old middleweight/super-middleweight Antwun Echols goes by the same nickname Mike Tyson was sometimes known as in his heyday – “Kid Dynamite.” Yet at his current age and with the number of tough battles he’s been through in his near sixteen year career, Echols is no longer anything close to a kid. He has also been the fighter on the receiving end of much dynamite in recent fights – taking heavy punishment while coming up winless in his last seven bouts..
Starting with his 10th round TKO defeat at the hands of Kingsley Ikeke back in April of 2005, Echols has been on a downward spiral. Though he is pretty rarely stopped (just three times in over 40 fights), Echols has seen his loss column continue to swell since the loss to Ikeke. Losing to other good men such as Fulgencio Zuniga (in which fight the 37-year-old took plenty of leather) and the up-and-coming Peter Quillin, the veteran who gave Bernard Hopkins two tough fights in what seems like an eternity ago now, was clearly beaten.
There is no doubting Echols’ courage and guts, but he is a classic case of a fighter too brave for his own good. Once a fine talent, as the two commendable efforts against B-Hop show, Echols, who in his prime was also able to beat guys like Charles Brewer and Kabary Salem (who later went on to score a knockdown against Joe Calzaghe), is now a trial horse. Currently sporting a 31-9-4(27) record, Echols will next get in the ring with once-beaten prospect Andy Lee. Can anything but another beating be in store for him on March 16th?
The wear and tear the still game Echols has on his body will make it almost impossible for him to beat the ambitious 24-year-old from Ireland when he gets in there with him at Madison Square Garden. Lee may have been shocked by Brian Vera last March, but it would be an even huger upset if he were to lose to Echols. The older man’s chin – much to the threat of his long term health – remains a stubborn one, but Lee can punch hard. The Emanuel Steward-trained fighter is also a fast-handed southpaw who is desperate to prove he is a much better fighter than he looked in his last-but-one fight, against Vera.
It doesn’t figure to be too pretty to watch, but due to Echols’ pride and ability to take shots the fight may go a number of rounds – as opposed to being a blow-out. There can only be one winner, though, and that will be the Irishman who now lives in Detroit. It is to be hoped Echols makes some decent money from this fight, and that he has managed to save some of his earnings from previous fights. Retirement has been calling for quite some time now, and hopefully the former “Kid Dynamite” will be in a position to be able to enjoy the only sensible option out there for him.
Echols has taken more than enough, but look for him to gamely take even more on March 16th. Lee to force a late stoppage.