Re: ESB Classic Forum All-Time Rankings by Division (Featherweights Updated-February
Lennox Lewis is definitely overrated. I am not saying that he wasn't a great boxer, because he was. He is also a tough matchup head 2 head for everyone. However, based on accomplishments... he just doesn't add up.
During Lewis' era... he didn't fight any of the other top fighters out there in their prime. At that time you had Mike Tyson, Riddick Bowe, Evander Holyfield, Michael Moorer, and George Foreman sitting on top of the division. Lennox failed to fight any of them while they were all fighting each other at their peak. Lennox wasn't even considered a real Champion until he beat Evander Holyfield.
Lewis' supposedly "great" title reign consisted of wins over
Michael Grant - We all know that Grant was a horribly overhyped boxer who was never very good.
Frans Botha - Tyson had just knocked him out a year earlier. I have no idea why Botha got a title shot.
David Tua - Very good win. However, Lewis was criticized in this fight for being safe and boring. I think he did what he needed to do, and it was a good win.
Hasim Rahman - Knocked Lewis out.
Hasim Rahman - Lewis wins back his titles.
Mike Tyson - Lewis beat an extremely over the hill version of Tyson. Pointless win other than satisfying the curiosity of a lot of fans who had a very hard time letting Tyson go. Many still do.
Vitali Klitschko - Lewis down on all scorecards is possibly saved from losing his title by way of Doctor stoppage due to a cut.
That is NOT an impressive reign as Champion. Especially when we also consider that he was stripped by the WBA for not fighting his #1 contender... then stripped by the IBF for not fighitng his #1 contender... and last but not least... sat on his title for 8 months after his fight with Klitschko, trying to sue Mike Tyson back into the ring again... promises the fans and Klitschko a much needed and talked about rematch. Made Vitali jump through hoops in order to secure the rematch. Then, once the WBC demands that Lewis either begin negotiations with Vitali or be stripped of his title... Lewis retires.
What bothers me the most is that Lewis sat there through the 90's complaining about nobody wanting to give him his shot. Trashing Bowe for vacating the title rather than fighting him. Yet... IMMEDIATELY when Lewis became the recognized Champ, he did the exact same thing. Lewis ultimately Vacated all 3 of his titles to avoid fighting his #1 contenders.
That along with the fact that he never beat the best fighters of his era in their prime... Had a very ordinary title reign... and really never gave the fans the biggest fights that they wanted to see. Including a showdown with Wladimir Klitschko who was Lewis' #1 contender by Ring Magazine for 2 years.
Let's also not cry about Lewis not being given a shot at fighting one of top guys in his division earlier in the 90's either. Lewis accepted step aside money from Tyson, rather than taking the fight which was his if he wanted it. Of course it made perfect sense for Tyson to offer step aside money. Tyson wanted to fight for another title, a bigger payday, and a bigger fight. It was Lewis' own fault that he decided to accept the step aside money and was shut out of the mix. Had he taken the fight and beat Tyson. The division would have went through him. Instead, he was content to stay in the backround until all of the other stars burned out.