Originally Posted by lefthook31
Tucker was an old man. He was competing but inconsistently. While the Ruddock performance was explosive it was hardly a boxing match. Lewis landed a big righthand, albeit sloppy and off balance. Where Lewis showed his deficiencies was when he had to actually fight a thorough fight he couldnt control. Bruno was outjabbing him and outboxing him and Mercer took away Lewis' jab. Shaky close fights, that never happened again under Steward. He went onto to face boxers as good as Mercer and Bruno and never struggled with it again. It was Steward who taught him how to adjust to all styles and all fights, something you have to be prepared for in the ring when plan A doesnt work.
Ok, so you're claiming his most important improvements with Steward came after the Mercer fight ?
But I think the Tommy Morrison fight is probably one of his finest and most refined
performances, for sure. (and I certainly dont disregard that steward helped Lewis improve, I just argue that it wasn't drastic.)
Lennox, like all fighters, wasn't uniformly consistent in how he performed from fight-to-fight.
Following the Mercer fight he fought McCall, and yes that fight showed an improvement on his previous result against the same man. But I dont think McCall was particularly good. You're quick to dismiss old man Tucker, and Mason, so what about McCall ? A Steward-less
), drug-blighted McCall at that.
Following McCall he fought Akinwande, proving little as Henry just wanted to hug. And again, where does Akinwande stand against Tucker, Ruddock, Bruno ? Against Mason and Jackson - was he slightly
Then Golota, which you can dismiss on the same grounds as you dismiss the Ruddock fight, yes ?
Then Shannon Briggs. Again, where do we rate him as a fighter compared to Tucker, Bruno, Ruddock or a '96 Mercer ? Anyway, Lewis looked sloppy, scruffy, arrogantly careless, and got wobbled too, but he also looked impressively powerful and confident
. Technically, I dont see it as a great example of this alleged improvement.
Then Mavrovic, a man who has no contenders on his win column. Dismiss him on the same grounds that you dismiss Mason and Jackson.
The Holyfield fights prove something. Those are Lewis's crowning fights. We can find faults in Lewis's performance or flaws in his style, or doubts over Holyfield's abilities as an "old man", but the results speak for themselves. I dont think they show a massive improvement on the Mercer fight though. Ray Mercer was an excellent fight in his fight with Lewis, that's the crux of it.
The Grant fight - too short and explosive to say anything about it, right ? Anyway, I think it was another brawling bludgeoning, scruffy, non-technical performance by Lewis (not to mention full of foul tactic of holding-and-hitting). Again, how good was Grant anyway ? I dont rate him on a par with a 1992 Ruddock or 1993 Bruno, personally.
Botha. 2 rounds demolition. Botha not a better fighter than Ruddock. In fact, a very weak challenger, not even genuine top 10 at the time. Almost meaningless fight.
Tua was a decent contender. And Lewis beat him well. But styles make fights. While I accept that an early version of Lewis might be more
prone to losing to Tua than the 2000 version and perhaps a little
less superior, I'd still expect the early version to outbox him rather easily, in a near shut-out.
Rahman. Technically awful performance. Bad defeat, worse than the McCall one, or as bad at the least.
Rahman 2. A brilliant performance. One of his best. I doubt an early version of Lewis would do it so clinically, but the Lewis who beat Ruddock would have KO'd him pretty easily too. Rahman was no great shakes, I think a '96 Mercer was a better boxer and more durable.
Mike Tyson. Another decent performance. Tyson was much older than his years though, a pitiful excuse for the reputation he brings. A 1992/'93 Lewis beats this Tyson up in similar fashion.
V Klitschko. Another strong, powerful, gutsy brawling performance from Lewis, but scruffy, non-technical, sloppy stuff all round.
That's the reality. Lewis had many fine wins after the Mercer fight but very little of those wins prove any sort of dramatic refining of boxing skill. There were several over-powering performances and some scrappy brawling ones, and just the Holyfield fights to really show how he does when forced to box against a good boxer.