Originally Posted by prime
Lewis eluded Tyson when both were young. I will hit the Pearly Gates believing that.
Tyson became the best fighter in the world, perhaps the greatest heavyweight fighting machine of all time, while the older Lewis wisely decided to remain an ancient amateur.
Such is the bottom line of two young men's shared story.
When a man is in his early twenties--and so much more if he is a great amateur boxer, like Lewis and Tyson were--he feels he can conquer the world, and is anxious to prove himself: Dempsey won the title at 24; Louis at 23; Ali at 22.
Lennox Lewis was still beating up amateurs at age 23, on his second trip to the Olympics. In the meantime, a guy he had had dream sparring matches with in the Catskills under the sage eye of legendary trainer Cus D'Amato--who even prophesied fate would some day bring them together--became the Baddest Man on the Planet.
I will never understand Lennox Lewis except as a smart, calculating guy, but not a true fighter at heart on the level of the all-time greats. This is why, incidentally, he was able to walk away so nonchalantly.
Lewis was a great performer, a great fighter. But, as my champion, give me a youth who, though green and still developing, believes he is the best, dreams of the heavyweight title, challenges the baddest man on the planet, and delivers the goods.
Lewis got lucky and capitalized: Tyson self-destructed, leaving open ground for Lennox, who quickly began to make waves on the heavyweight scene. By staying amateur, he clearly chose another path rather than gather himself to challenge the best fighter in the world.
That, to me, says everything I need to know about Lewis. So, no, I don't buy his spin of his place in boxing history, I will never be inspired to dream dreams of greatness when I watch Lewis' fights, nor did he ever answer the question of what would have happened had Mike Tyson been challenged by Lennox Lewis.