Is Lomu going to stop himself?

PUBLISHED : Monday, 01 April, 1996, 12:00am
UPDATED : Monday, 01 April, 1996, 12:00am

The question on everybody's lips before the just-finished Hong Kong Sevens was 'how do you stop Jonah Lomu?' As it turned out, the big man answered it himself - 'by getting bigger'.

Judging by his showing during the first two days of competition at least, he is heavier by quite a few pounds and slower by several yards than last year when he was simply awesome.

Whether the good life has gone to the head of the 20-year-old brought up in a tough area of Auckland only he knows, but if he continues to expand in bulk his rugby career will be shortlived.

Knees, the bane of many a rugby player's existence, are not designed to carry 266 pounds at speed. If Lomu does not slim down a bit, injury could do what the majority of players at last year's World Cup failed to do - stop him in his tracks.

In a completely different sport, boxing, the 'how do you stop him?' question is being asked about Mike Tyson.

Unlike Lomu, Tyson has not put on the beef in the past year since coming out of prison. Quite the opposite, he is a better physical specimen than before he went behind bars on a rape conviction.

But whereas Lomu does not brag about his wealth (sponsorship deals have made him a millionaire) or worth, Tyson has started to shout off his mouth about not being paid enough. For a man who professes to be guided by the political ideals of Chairman Mao (whose visage is tattooed on his right arm) and the religious teachings of Islam, Tyson has some strange secular and spiritual concepts. It's doubtful if Mao would have approved of his views on money-making and his new-found faith expressly denounces doing harm to another person. After beating up dear old Frank Bruno, Tyson first pocketed a cool US$30 million and then astonishingly held out the begging bowl for more. 'I'm not at all happy with the US$30 million,' he declared.

'I have got a short span in this boxing life. All I am asking is to be treated fairly. I make my income from my hard sweat. 'No one's given me any justice. I have done a lot to increase the game. No none would be making the money they would be without me. It's just not fair.' What, pray, is Tyson on? Not happy with US$30 million. Want to be treated fairly. Deserve more for all that sweat. It's not fair. These are ramblings, not well thought out observations. The trouble is that in the mad, moneyed world of boxing, Tyson is likely to be offered more millions for his defence of the World Boxing Council heavyweight title.

And with has-beens and never-will-bes populating the division at the moment, it's difficult to foresee anybody smashing Tyson and grabbing the loot. But wait . . . if Lomu's knees give way maybe he would be keen to have a go. He could avoid Tyson's fists with his famed five-metre sidestep and transform his fearsome hand-off into a knockout punch. What about it Jonah?