Lucas "The Big Teddy Bear" Browne
It’s true they say that looks can be deceiving. That you should never judge a book by its cover. That appearances are often misleading. Last night, here in Auckland, the former WBA Heavyweight Champion of The World Lucas “Big Daddy” Browne put a stop to Junior Pati in the fifth round of the main event fight at Multitrade Boxing’s Fists of Fury.
I was lucky enough to be snapping pics ringside for the big event, and later today one of our intrepid reporters will bring you the rundown of a fantastic evening that, although not without a few hiccups, featured four of the best boxing matches I’ve borne witness to in a very long time.
Skope Siaosi lived up to his nickname, entertaining the crowd in a brilliant but close loss to Jessie Nikora. Hemi “The Heat” Ahio overcame all 197 kilograms of the man mountain that is Conrad Lam. In probably the best fight of the night, Navosa “Smiley” Ioata went to war with Perth based rising star Floyd Masson. But there was one man everyone was there to see and that was the Big Daddy himself, Lucas Browne.
If you don’t know Lucas Browne, he projects a frightening visage. The best way I found to describe the former champ was that he looks like someone who might’ve stabbed Chopper Reid in prison. He’s the sort of man that if you saw him coming down the street you might be justified in crossing the road… and then hiding behind the nearest tree cowering in terror. It’s not just his size, his big bald head or the tattoos that cover almost every inch of his hulking six and a half foot frame… it’s those piercing eyes I think that maybe make up his most fearsome feature. The colour of pure steel, and were he to stare you down they might feel as sharp, Lucas Browne’s eyes appear more suited to something that crawled out of the grave in an 80’s horror flick. In short, he’s a big scary dude.
Now you might say “Jamie, aren’t you inviting upon yourself a horrible beating with this description of a man who has knocked out Ruslan Chagaev?”, well friends, I deliver this illustration without an ounce of fear because, as I eluded to at the start of this article, the man they call Big Daddy is maybe the nicest person in the world of boxing. Hell, if it weren’t for the brutal demolitions he accomplishes in the ring, he might be the nicest person in the world full stop.
I’ve been lucky to meet Lucas a few times over the past week, at the press event and weigh-in held at the Surrey Hotel in Grey Lynn, and again after last nights action. I could wax lyrical about the jokes he’s shared with other boxers, the endless grinning selfies he posed for or the smile he flashed fans that said “you have nothing to fear from me little people, I’m just a big softie”, but it’s what I heard in the ring that I think best tells the tale of Lucas Browne.
I spent last night’s fight balanced on the edge of the ring, hanging off the turnbuckle while I snapped away at the action. It’s a privileged position in which to watch a fight where, apart from the odd reposition to avoid the referee, you have an unencumbered view of what they call the gentleman’s sport. From my perch at ringside I can hear the boxers landing blows, I can feel beads of sweat spray off them and occasionally I might have to duck out of the way as they come hurtling towards me for fear I might be catapulted off the edge (or worse still, my lens becomes lodged in the back of someone’s skull). It was from here I heard it. It was round 3 maybe, and Junior Pati was slowing down, looking a little worse for wear. Lucas Browne had Junior against the ropes in front of me and was ducking around his wild arms while the kiwi tried to regain position. Amidst all this action with fists still flying, Lucas Browne leant into Junior Pati and asked “Are you hurt Junior? Are you alright mate?”.
Now maybe you might think he was taunting “The Pitbull” and, had I not experienced the man up close myself, I might agree with you. But this is not a man who taunts his opponent. Not a man who holds any malice towards his opponent. And this was not a taunt. Entrenched in battle, whilst still weaving to avoid Pati’s dangerous blows, this warrior was genuinely concerned with the wellbeing of his enemy. Mother Theresa would fall on her knees and weep.
So that’s my story fight fans. If you ever see Lucas Browne walking towards you in the street, do not run and hide or call the zoo to report an escaped gorilla. Walk up and shake his hand, and you too will be shaking the hand of the nicest man in boxing.