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Top boxing attraction Lerena deserves big purse money

‘I know what it takes to get to the top – it costs money’

Kevin Lerena during the 'Lights Out' boxing tournament at Emperors Palace
Kevin Lerena during the 'Lights Out' boxing tournament at Emperors Palace
Image: Gallo Images/James Gradidge

Kevin “Two Guns” Lerena is deservedly getting paid big purse money by Golden Gloves promoter Rodney Berman and probably because Lerena has established himself as the biggest crowd puller at Emperors Palace, which is his happy hunting ground.

The capacity of that Casino’s Centre Court Arena is 3,000. Lerena fills it with ease and that will be the case on November 25 when he welcomes German Senad Gashi for the interim WBC bridger weight belt.

Golden Gloves fight coordinator Jeff Ellis says there are 1,400 tables of 10 for the promotional company’s box-and-dine event.

Selling price for tables is determined by the seating but ring side tables are the most expensive. That is where individuals with deep pockets sit to get a better view. 

How then could Berman not be paying Lerena decent purse monies? But a big chunk of Lerena’s purse money pays for his training camp, which includes getting quality sparring partners from outside the country.

Lerena’s trainer Peter Smith – a former heavyweight professional boxer who was promoted in the US by veteran promoter Don King – shared the struggle of importing quality sparring partners.

“It is expensive  – $1,500 a week – you must fly them in, accommodate and feed them,”  he said.

“It cost us about $1,200 for Martin Bakole [Scotland-based Congolese] in a week to help Kevin with sparring for his WBA heavyweight world title fight with Daniel Dubois [which Lerena lost by stoppage] in December. I was in the camp of Vitali Klitshcko when he was preparing to face Lennox Lewis in 2003.

“I sparred Klitshcko and they paid me $150 per round. It was myself, Tony Tubs [former WBA heavyweight champ] and Corey Sanders [American]. I know what it takes to get to the top – it costs money.”

Smith guided Lerena to winning the WBF Africa, WBC Youth silver, South African, WBA Pan African and IBO cruiserweight (six successful defences) and WBA Inter-Continental heavyweight belts in 29 wins from 31 fights.

He said national heavyweight champ Keagan Gomes and former SA and ABU heavyweight holder Chris Thompson had been helpful in giving Lerena sparring for the newly established bridger weight.

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