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The last great heavyweight champion - Lennox Lewis
Honour, dignity, skill and legend
Posted Sep 06, 2010 by Jeff Dawson
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When we start to gain an interest in a sport we all have one person who is responsible for stirring something up inside - and for me with boxing - it was the greatest British Heavyweight Champion of all-time, Lennox Lewis.
'The Lion' was just making a name for himself when I was growing up and it was seeing this huge man demolish all that stood in his way that really got me interested in the sport. He was the last great heavyweight champion of the world. He was the last heavyweight to dominate his division. He was the last undisputed Heavyweight Champion of the World. He is a legend.
The reason Lewis played such a big part in developing my interest in boxing was three-fold. Firstly, his skill was unquestionable. Although his approach was quite scientific, his stiff left jab and devastating overhand right were the downfall of so many opponents. He dominated the ring. He knew he was better than everyone else but he never took it for granted.
Secondly, he was a respectful and dignified competitor. When he was robbed of a WBA title after his first fight with Evander Holyfield was proclaimed a draw, his response to this shocking decision won him worldwide media attention and a legion of new fans on both sides of the Atlantic. He took it on the chin and worked hard to make sure it didn't happen again. And it didn't. Moments after their rematch in November 1999, Lewis paused from his celebration to the listen to the announcer as it rang out from the auditorium speakers proclaiming, for the first time, that he was the undisputed heavyweight champion.
And finally, his love of his sport and the way he honoured boxing both inside and outside of the ring impressed me greatly. I don't remember him having bad press. I don't remember him causing trouble. I remember a man who, despite two defeats in world title fights, always bounced back and beat everyone he stood toe-to-toe with. He never backed down.
He may not have the words and impact on people that Muhammad Ali had, he may not have had the rags to riches story George Foreman does, he may not be undefeated like Joe Calzaghe, but I believe he is one of the greatest heavyweights of all time and deserves his place amongst the legends of the sport. Arise, Lennox Lewis, CM, CBE, the 'Emperor of Boxing'.