Alright... let me clean up this mess.
No, Lewis should have fought Wlad who beat Byrd for the WBO title in 2000... and at that point was ranked as Lennox Lewis' #1 challenger by Ring Magazine for well over 2 years before he was upset by Corrie Sanders. That WAS the fight that all of the fans, as well as HBO wanted to see at the time.
Herbie Hide? Do you even watch boxing? Hide wasn't even WBO champ after Lewis beat Holyfield. Hide lost his WBO title to Vitali before Lennox beat Holyfield.
You pick out Wlad's fight with Castillo? You realize that wasn't a title fight, correct? That was actually one of Wlad's comeback fights after he lost to Brewster. Castillo was an undefeated fighter who had just impressively dominated Moorer on national TV, which is why he was chosen. You are going to jump on Wlad for fighting a comeback fight against Castillo?
You might want to check out Lewis' comeback fights after he was knocked out by McCall. His next 2 fights were against Lionel Butler with an amazing record of 22-10-1 (which amazing at that time was a WBC eliminator) I guess that shows the grea talent of that time which you speak of..... and after fighting the that monster, Lewis went on to face the ATG ****** Fortune who's magnificent career finished with an almost unblemished record of 15-9. Although, I can see why Lewis fought him... Fortune did peak the boxing world's interest with his 2nd round knockout loss against the World Class 3-2 Patrick Smith the year before Lewis fought him.
Lewis beat an old Holyfield... yeah... the same Holyfield who months after his loss against Lewis started and ended up on the worse end of a trilogy against John Ruiz. John Ruiz actually beat Holyfield more impressively than Lewis did... Byrd beat Holyfield better as well.
So... you say that Holyfield went on and still competes at a world class level so long after that fight? Let's take a look. Well... I guess if you considering getting 8 wins in his last 17 fights as being world class.. then you have a point. I want to point out that just because Holyfield, Botha, and Grant still fight each other... doesn't mean that they still compete at the World Class level. Holyfield hasn't beat an opponent who was considerd world class in over a decade... and that was Hasim Rahman when the fight ended due to Rahman's nasty hematoma from a headbutt.
Grant went on to become one of the biggest jokes in boxing history. In his next fight after Lewis, he was stopped from the very first punch of the fight against McCline.
Who Wlad dominated soon after. Grant still competes at a world class level? Grant wasn't even world class back then, let alone now. He was nothing more than media hype on his size.... which turned out to be a joke. All you have to do is watch his fights with Lewis, McCline and Guinn to see that. So what if guys like him stick around beating on club fighters for years... what does that prove? Wlad also knocked Botha out years ago too... wasn't a great win for Wlad either... just as it wasn't a great win for Lewis.
Let's just look at Lewis' GREAT title reign after he became the true champ when he beat Holyfield...
- 31-0 - already discussed that... can't fault Lewis for fighting Grant though, as it was a fight that HBO was pushing. In hindsight, we saw how horrible Grant was.
- had just recently been knocked out by Tyson. I have no idea how or why Botha got this title shot.
W David Tua
- very good win for Lewis, although Lewis was smashed by critics just as Wlad was against Ibragimov for fighting too defensive and putting on a boring show. I thought it was a very good win though.
L Hasim Rahman
- Lewis is knocked out by Hasim. Rahman was a solid opponent. He had been knocked out by Maskaev and Tua already, but he was a solid opponent.
W Hasim Rahman
- Lewis gets revenge for his knockout loss with a great knockout win of his own.
W Mike Tyson
- A shell of Mike Tyson is more like it.. the fight means nothing. If you rate this fight as a big win, then you must rate Holmes win over Ali as a big win.
W Vitali Klitschko
- Great name to have on his resume... but we all know that Lewis was losing the fight, down on all cards when the fight was stopped because of a cut. A win, yes... but Lewis certainly didn't prove to be the better man in the ring and this fight ultimately forced him into retirement.
During this short reign, Lewis also managed to Vacate his WBA title to avoid his #1 challenger Ruiz, vacated his IBF title to avoid his #1 challenger Byrd, and ultimately vacated his WBC title to avoid a mandated match against Klitschko.
Lennox Lewis' record during his title reign - 6-1
Let's take a look at Wlad's wins since he became the true Champ after beating Chris Byrd, who was the longest standing Champ and the #1 ranked heavyweight in the world by Ring Magazine... also consider that Wlad had just previously beaten the 24-0 Sam Peter (who went on to win the WBC title) to even get the title shot against Byrd.
W Calvin Brock
- 29-0 - High ranked contender who had just put together some impressive vicotories to earn this title fight.
W Ray Austin
- 24-3-4 - #1 ranked mandatory challenger. Not a fight that all fans were too excited about. A brutal knockout win though, and definitely no worse than wins over Grant or Botha.
W Lamon Brewster
- 33-3 - Wladimir's revenge fight. Dominant victory to avenge an earlier defeat in his career.
W Sultan Ibragimov
- 22-0-1 - Undefeated WBO Champ in a unification fight. Wlad was hit by critics like Lewis was against Tua, as I mentioned. I felt that they were both very good wins, even though they were both boring fights to watch.
W Tony Thompson
- 31-1 - #1 ranked Mandatory Challenger - Not a big exciting matchup for the fans either, however a fun fact to know is Wladimir Klitschko is the only person to beat Tony Thompson in over 12 years.
W Hasim Rahman
- 45-6-2 - A late replacement for the undefeated Povetkin who pulled out of his fight against Wlad on short notice before their scheduled fight. This also counted as a mandatory defense since Rahman was the next highest rated fighter available.
W Ruslan Chagaev
- 25-0-1 - Undefeated WBA Champion. Should have been a unification fight, but of course the WBA is probably the most crooked of all of the crooked orgs. Also, a replacement for David Haye who pulled out of his scheduled fight against Wlad.
W Eddie Chambers
- 35-1 - very good win against a top ranked opponent. Chambers only loss had come in a controversial decision against Povetkin. Although, I felt Povetkin did win.
W Sam Peter
- 34-3 - Top ranked opponent... a knockout win this time around in a rematch against Sam Peter who Wlad had already previously beat.
W David Haye
- 25-1 - WBA Champion, Unification fight - A huge showdown that the entire boxing world was waiting for. Wlad won once again in dominant fashion as David Haye ran for his life throughout the fight after tasting Wlad's power.
W Jean Marc Mormeck
- 36-4 - Easy knockout victory for Wlad. Not a favorite fight of mine for him to take... but once again... trying to stay active he can only fight who will fight him, and they can't all be undefeated or Champs. Mormeck was a longtime Cruiser champ though and no worse than a win over Frans Botha, that's for sure.
W Tony Thomspson
- 36-2 - Another mandatory defense against his #1 rated Challenger Thompson who once against fought his way back into mandatory status.
W Mariusz Wach
- 27-0 - Not an extremely well known fighter. However, it was an interesting matchup due to the size of Wach, and the fact that people say Wlad wins on his size. Wach proved to have a great chin, and withstood an brutal beating.
Throughout Wlad's reign as Champ, he has not been defeated and has dominated every single opponent. He also made all of his mandatory defenses against #1 contenders and did not vacate as single title to avoid any mandatory defenses.
Wladimir Klitschko's record during his title Reign - 13-0