Local pro Lowther looks to shine under Friday night lights
Month after month he'd watch other up-and-comers compete on the show and measure himself against them.
And year after year he would swear to himself that he wouldn't let one more season of FNF pass without finding his own place on the show.
For the first four years of his pro career he toiled in tiny venues, mostly across the southeast U.S., building a 14-1 record. He had build in impressive set of skills -- witness his 2007 demolition of the outclassed Omar Ballard -- but aside from a Shobox fight taken on two days notice he still couldn't find the spotlight.
But Saturday night the spotlight will find the Mississauga resident.
Not only will he make his ESPN debut but Lowther headline the show's season finale, taking on fast-handed Philadelphia lightweight Hank Lundy in the main event. Whether Lowther, a transplanted Atlanta native who now lives and trains in Mississauga, can withstand the glare of ESPN's Friday night lights hasn't been proven.
But it's not like Lowther has a choice.
At 26 he's still a little young for a crossroads bout, but old enough to realize Saturday's bout can either set him up for stardom or set him back indefinitely.
"I'm pretty hot on the market but one loss can change all of that," he says."People are wondering, 'how good is this kid?' so I'm right on the threshold of great things happening. It's not a crossroads fight, it's a crossover fight."
The path to Saturday's main even was hectic but surprisingly short.
When ESPN decided to hold its FNF season finale on a Saturday in boxing-mad Montreal, the network also booked undefeated middleweight phenom David Lemieux for the main event. But when an injury sidelined Lemieux ESPN reached out to Lowther, whom they had been watching develop, and matched him with Edner Cherry, a rugged veteran who reliably brings action fights to FNF.
But Tuesday night Cherry's management informed ESPN that the fighter couldn't leave the U.S. because his green card had lapsed.
The last minute collapse of the main event for the season finale of your flagship boxing show is bad enough, but the timing of Cherry's withdrawal made things even worse because Saturday will be one of the busiest fight nights on the boxing calendar.
In Puerto Rico WBA/WBO light-flyweight champ and master technician Ivan Calderon defends his belt against Mexico's Giovanni Segura.
That same night in Argentina, junior welterweight buzzsaw Marcos Maidana takes on resilient journeyman DeMarcus (Chop Chop) Corley -- who Floyd "Money" Mayweather claims is the hardest hitter he ever faced.
This glut of alternatives would have made the ESPN show easy for fight fans to forget if the network couldn't come up with a competitive main event.
Enter Lundy, a southpaw from Philly who nearly derailed the highly-rated John Molina before folding in the 11th round of their ESPN-televised bout in July.
A slick boxer with some pop (10 KO in 18 wins) Lundy is the stylistic antithesis of Cherry, a straight-ahead plugger.
Yet Lowther says that with the help of trainer Chris Johnson he'll have a game plan tailor-made to handle Lundy.
"They're two totally different fighters but I have a lot of experience and Chris is an awesome trainer so the adjustment was really simple," he says.
Truth is, Lowther is accustomed to abrupt changes in direction.
Three months ago he was in Atlanta watching his career stagnate, struggling to work training sessions around his full time job as a warehouse supervisor but not getting any fights.
A decade earlier Lowther and Johnson had trained in the same Atlanta gym, Lowther as a teenage amateur and Johnson as a fringe contender seeking one last big fight.
When a subdural hematoma forced Johnson to retire from fighting he turned to training, and guided Lowther two a pair of wins during their brief time together.
"He had to work my corner for a couple of fights, and for a couple of fights it was Magic," Lowther says.
When Johnson returned to Canada he kept in touch with Lowther, and when he grew sick of watching the fighter spin his wheels in Atlanta he invited Lowther to move to Canada and train at his Mississauga gym.
Lowther made the move in June and by July he had already collected his first pro win with Johnson, a 5th-round stoppage of Isaac Bejarano in Cancun, Mexico.
His second assignment figures to be much tougher.
Lundy is hungry for redemption after fumbling away a potentially huge win on network TV last month, but the stakes are just as high for Lowther.
Adam Harris, head of Hennessy Sports Canada, the company that promotes Lowther, says a win here could make him a factor in a 135-pound division that, with the return of former champ Juan Manuel Marquez, is suddenly one of the hottest in boxing.
"This fight is pivotal for him," Harris says. "If he comes through this in style the doors will open wide for him."
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