Re: What did pre-Steward Lewis do better than post-Steward Lewis?
Steward (and specifically his input into the fighting ability of Lewis) is laughably overrated.
Personally, I dont rate the guy as the trainer-God almost everyone thinks he is. He's obviously a good self-promoter and a loudmouth abrasive cheerleader type. Maybe he's a psychological asset.
Lennox Lewis was a brilliant fighter BEFORE he had Steward on his team. Firstly, he'd come from an extensive amateur boxing background and been to two Olympic games, losing in the QFs to the eventual winner in '84 and won a gold in '86. He'd powered his way up the pro ranks in 2-3 years. His win over Ruddock still stands as one of his finest, an earlier win over Gary Mason (in his 15th pro fight) was very impressive, he was rated in the top 2 from '92 - '94, had defeated several ranked contenders, had Riddick Bowe avoiding him. He'd shown immense power, skill, and a general superiority over almost everyone he fought. He was an accomplished seasoned pro, one of the two or three elite fighters active in the division.
People use the "pre-Steward"/"post-Steward" thing to ignore any of the negatives in performance and rough edges in any early Lewis fights, or alibi his loss to McCall. But it doesn't stand up to scrutiny, he had some scruffy, scrappy and so-so performances throughout the later part of his career too and Manny Steward was ABSOLUTELY COMPLICIT in Lewis losing to Rahman (a worst defeat than McCall), yet people ignore this !
Steward was going around saying Lewis didn't need to acclimatise to the altitude, that people who travel a lot (Lennox and himself!) dont need to worry about that ! Steward was messing around training new fighters (Naseem Hamed, who got pounded by MAB with Steward in his corner!) a fortnight before the Rahman fight, and he and Lewis were out in LA filming Ocean's Eleven !
Shit, if Pepe Corea pulled that stunt you'd all be calling him a clown and crucifyng him !
But everyone kisses Manny Steward's ass. It's sad.