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Old 09-21-2009, 09:18 AM   #31
lefthook31
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Default Re: What did pre-Steward Lewis do better than post-Steward Lewis?

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He didn't have a tough time with Razor Ruddock, nor with Tony Tucker.
With Steward, who did he fight who were actually better than - or even as good as - Ruddock, Tucker, Bruno ?

Bruno was really pumped up for the Lewis fight, and boxed a great fight, he put pressure on Lewis enough to make him look sloppy. A c. 1997-2000 Lewis would probably had similar trouble with that version of Bruno.
Let's be honest, Lewis could look scruffy at times, esp. when retreating under pressure. He had a great instinct for keeping it together though and pulling out the win, on most occasions anyway.
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.
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Old 09-21-2009, 09:51 AM   #32
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Default Re: What did pre-Steward Lewis do better than post-Steward Lewis?

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I dont deny that he is a world-class trainer with a great record, but he's one of many IMO. He's one of the best-known probably because he's ambitiuous and likes the limelight and is willing to spread himself thin and work with top fighters all over the place. I know there are some great trainers who dont really stray beyond their own backyards and have no interest in seeking out top fighters.
The point I'm making is that Steward should get credit for the fighters he developed from scratch, but that the credit his gets for Lewis is way overblown considering what Lewis had already proven long before he worked with Steward.
I'd extend that to the Holyfield-Bowe fight too. Holyfield simply boxed more in the rematch, something that was obvious he should have done in the first fight. I think we all wrote that game plan for him before the first fight had even ended.
I dont think Steward's a better trainer than Benton, it's just that Holyfield (and the rest of us) underestimated Bowe's toughness first off.
Steward should get credit for taking a fighter like Holyfield and tweaking his style to get a win. Same with Oliver Mcall. It was Steward who worked with Mcall in the gym to time Lewis telegraphed righthand. Thats why Mcall landed it with his eyes close, because Steward practiced it so much with Mcall it became second nature. Where a trainer like Steward stands out from the rest, is that he is not only a fundementally sound teacher, like Benton you mentioned, but he is a great strategist. He can look at an opponent and set a specific gameplan that works. He can take a fighter with a lot of flaws and teach them the one thing that may exploit their oppponents one weakness because every fighter has a weakness. Its something special and different from a guy like George Benton. Eddie Futch was always great at it, so is Tommy Brooks and Freddie Roach. Your right Steward is in the limelight because hes on HBO but also because of the success hes had with other fighters.
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Old 09-21-2009, 10:49 AM   #33
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Default Re: What did pre-Steward Lewis do better than post-Steward Lewis?

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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 better ?

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.
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Old 09-21-2009, 11:15 AM   #34
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Default Re: What did pre-Steward Lewis do better than post-Steward Lewis?

You're right it wasnt a drastic change, but then again that was intended. Lewis just needed polishing, to get his footwork tightened up and his balance corrected. Also there was less emphasis on brawling (where his balance was never good), and more setting up his punches behind a good jab which Lewis perfected.
Again Tucker was old. Your talking about a fighter who was in the prime of his career in the 80's and had drug problems. He was beat down by Bruce Seldon shortly after the Lewis fight and did little to show he still had a lot left thereafter. There were certain fighters such as Golota and Briggs that required Lewis to apply a lot of pressure because they were mentally weak, and there were fighters like Mavrovic and Akinwande that were a bit awkward and required a more technical approach. These are the type of things I believe Steward prepared him for. Can you imagine if he approached the Tua fight like he did the Ruddock fight? Early on he tried to knock everyone out.
What was the biggest problem with Klitschko before Steward had him, he couldnt fight, he couldnt adapt to anything but a boxing match. Alot of these guys had no plan B, or werent complete fighters, and thats what Steward does, he prepares them and gives them the correct advice for whatever the opponent brings.
Personally I think Lewis was a horrible brawler, he was too tall and clumbsy and has giant feet. When boxing went out the window he still looked sloppy offbalanced and wobbly, but it was enough to get it done against the level of competition he was facing, but it was still somewhat calculated, something that I dont think it was as much, under his previous trainers, it was more raw and unthought.
As far as the Ruddock fight, yes that was a spectacular KO, but the main point Im trying to make is that Steward made him more consistent in his performances and got him away from certain things that exposed his vunerable chin.
Lewis looked great against Ruddock. Two fights later he didnt look so great against Bruno. Two fights after that he was knocked out. Under Steward he had a long stretch of consistent wins after Steward corrected a lot of his mistakes, and that basically speaks for itself.
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Old 09-21-2009, 03:59 PM   #35
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Default Re: What did pre-Steward Lewis do better than post-Steward Lewis?

I love early Lennox, more so than the one that was post Steward.

Young Lewis was lighter, quicker, and more aggressive. I'd say his stamina may have been slightly better as well. He didn't use his size and weight as much though and wasn't the total package yet. Observe him getting outboxed by Frank Bruno before Bruno does a Bruno and gets stopped. I do think that this was Bruno's best fight though and gets under rated.

Post Steward, Lennox gained bulk and got quite a bit stronger which helped him in tiring out opponents. At the same time though it may have hurt his stamina, but due to him fighting in 12 rounders it didn't hurt him all that much. This version of Lennox was sounder defensively and also a safer fighter overall. This version of Lennox is hard to beat, although he sometimes was too conservative which was his biggest weakness perhaps.

I'd say Pre Steward Lewis was the better athlete, and generally more aggressive, but skillwise and effectiveness wise he wasn't as good.
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Old 09-21-2009, 04:03 PM   #36
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Default Re: What did pre-Steward Lewis do better than post-Steward Lewis?

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What was the biggest problem with Klitschko before Steward had him, he couldnt fight, he couldnt adapt to anything but a boxing match. Alot of these guys had no plan B, or werent complete fighters, and thats what Steward does, he prepares them and gives them the correct advice for whatever the opponent brings.
Personally I think Lewis was a horrible brawler, he was too tall and clumbsy and has giant feet. When boxing went out the window he still looked sloppy offbalanced and wobbly, but it was enough to get it done against the level of competition he was facing, but it was still somewhat calculated, something that I dont think it was as much, under his previous trainers, it was more raw and unthought.
As far as the Ruddock fight, yes that was a spectacular KO, but the main point Im trying to make is that Steward made him more consistent in his performances and got him away from certain things that exposed his vunerable chin.
Lewis looked great against Ruddock. Two fights later he didnt look so great against Bruno.
Lennox's fight with Mercer should answer any questions about his chin. Really under rated brawl, Mercer showed up to fight and is a big puncher but never even got close to seriously hurting Lennox despite him landing good shots. Ray is a hard guy to outslug but Lennox did it, showing he could "fight" when he needed to.
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Old 09-21-2009, 04:37 PM   #37
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Default Re: What did pre-Steward Lewis do better than post-Steward Lewis?

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Are you people f*cking kidding me?? Lewis didnt have a good corner relationship with him?? Lewis himself will tell you exactly what Im saying about the Mercer fight as being a big turning point in his career. Without Steward yelling at him he would have lost that fight. He will also tell you without Steward he wouldnt have gotten as far as he did.
The proof is right there on film. If a cornerman keeps telling a fighter to do something he either can't or won't do, and the cornerman is visibly frustrated by his performance, that's not a good corner relationship.


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With Correa in his corner, he looked horrible against Bruno and horrible against Mcall. He never had that kind of a performance again until late in his career after he accomplished so much.
That's not true, he had shitty performances here and there under Steward in which he showed many of the same flaws or vulnerabilities as he did under Correa.

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Big difference between Phil Jackson and Ray Mercer or Frank Bruno. Thats the point, Lewis was having a tough time with the better fighters.
As said, Ruddock was considered the best guy he fought for some time into his career and he blew him out, and that was one of his easiest wins. Conversely, Mavrovic was just supposed to be just a "warm up" for him and he looked like shit there. Other fighters like Briggs and an old Mercer weren't held in any higher regard than Ruddock or an old Tucker, and yet he struggled far more with the former under Steward than the latter under Correa.

In general, many of Lewis' best performances all through his career were against the better fighters he fought. His weaker performances, ironically, were often against fighters who weren't expected to trouble him, and that was true under both Steward and Correa.
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Old 09-21-2009, 04:46 PM   #38
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Default Re: What did pre-Steward Lewis do better than post-Steward Lewis?

The thing is he did listen to Steward, thats why he was victorious. And if a cornerman gets his fighter to something that he doesnt want to do than it is effective right? Most fighters dont listen and keep doing what their doing. Lewis decided he was going to fight it out and it worked. Sometimes looking back in retrospect makes the fighter realize, hey, maybe he was right. Lewis has said that in several interviews.
As far as Lewis looking shitty, it was a long time before he was knocked out again, and he faced better younger stronger fighters than Mcall and Bruno in the process. What fights did he look shitty in?
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Old 09-21-2009, 04:46 PM   #39
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Default Re: What did pre-Steward Lewis do better than post-Steward Lewis?

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But I think the Tommy Morrison fight is probably one of his finest and most refined performances, for sure.
I agree, I would cite that fight as the one where Steward's work with Lennox first (and probably best) "came together". I would say the Mercer fight is more of an example of the ch!nks in their relationship.
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Old 09-21-2009, 04:52 PM   #40
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Default Re: What did pre-Steward Lewis do better than post-Steward Lewis?

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Lennox's fight with Mercer should answer any questions about his chin. Really under rated brawl, Mercer showed up to fight and is a big puncher but never even got close to seriously hurting Lennox despite him landing good shots. Ray is a hard guy to outslug but Lennox did it, showing he could "fight" when he needed to.
I think Lewis showed a lot of grit in that fight, but I would argue Ray was a big puncher. Outside his devastating KO of Morrison, he didnt really have a lot of impressive KO wins.
Mercer was chosen for the third test for Lewis, because he was a good boxer with a great chin, and Steward knew he would put Lewis in situations deep in the fight, that was going to answer a lot of questions about Lewis heart. When Lewis finally got on the same page as Steward, it was a big step for him.

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Old 09-21-2009, 05:11 PM   #41
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Default Re: What did pre-Steward Lewis do better than post-Steward Lewis?

Wow this sounds familiar, but I guess some of you guys know more than Emanuel Steward.
Hall of Fame trainer Emanuel Steward was sought out by King to work with McCall and harness the talent that many boxing insiders knew was there, but was being frittered away through all the nuttiness. Steward initially was hesitant because of his high personal regard for Lewis, although to that point he hadn’t actually been involved with him.
“I was a big fan of Lennox since the 1984 Los Angeles Olympics,” Steward told me. “I trained (eventual gold medalist) Tyrell Biggs when he beat Lennox in ’84. Tyrell, who was from Philadelphia, was living and training in Detroit then, training with Tony Tucker.
“But even though we beat Lennox (who took gold in the super-heavyweight division at the 1988 Seoul Olympics) in ’84, I liked him a lot. You could see the potential he had. He was this big kid with a lot of power and a lot of natural talent that hadn’t been refined.”
For all his warm and fuzzy feelings for Lewis, however, Steward felt he had technical problems that were not being addressed by his trainer at the time, Pepe Correa. And those technical problems, Steward concluded, could be exploited by McCall, provided he laid off the booze and the drugs long enough to do what needed to be done.
“Lennox had a habit that when he jabbed, he put his right hand all the way across his face, almost to the left side of his jaw,” Steward said. “Then, when he threw a right hand, it took him a little bit longer to bring it back and re-set to throw it again.
“He also had a slow, lazy jab, which he didn’t really snap off. It was used more to measure where his opponent was before he threw that big right hand. When I had McCall, we based our strategy on trying to catch Lennox when he threw the right hand. Lennox had been destroying everybody with that big right, but the flaw was there for everybody to see. I don’t know why nobody else picked up on it, or was unable to take advantage of it if they did see it.”
Once McCall went to camp with Steward, the heretofore wild child allowed himself to accept a measure of discipline for perhaps the first, and last time, in his career.
“Oliver was totally loyal to me when we trained. I never had any problems with him,” Steward said. “He finally had some stability, and that’s because I put the time in with him. That was the difference. Every day I cooked for him. He came to my house and we talked about boxing and about life. I babied him.”
Steward also revamped McCall from a free-swinging slugger into a different sort of fighter than anyone had seen before. Certainly, Lewis didn’t expect to mix it up with that much of a new and improved McCall on fight night.
“Oliver wore white shoes for that fight,” Steward said. “He was more like a Sugar Ray Leonard. He had never fought that way before. I trained him for speed. He moved better, he punched crisper.”
And he waited for just the right moment to exploit the ***** in Lewis’ armor, which he did when Lewis went to throw that huge right hand in the second round. But McCall’s right got there first.
“First thing I told Oliver when I started to work with him was, `Lennox is a better fighter than you. He’s bigger and stronger. He has a better amateur background. Really, he has a better everything. But he has a weakness, and I will train you to beat him by taking advantage of that weakness.”
To his credit, Lewis learned from his mistakes. He let Correa go and went shopping for the best trainer available, believing that that person was the man who had just helped a lesser fighter, McCall, defeat him.
Steward jumped at the opportunity to work with Lewis, even though he had prepped Briggs to beat him in the 1984 Olympics and then McCall to take him out as a pro a decade later.
“I still thought Lennox was the best heavyweight in the world, or at least he could be,” Steward said. “And when I did begin to work with him, I set out to eliminate the flaws I had seen in his before.
“I knew he needed a snappier jab. He needed better balance and conditioning, and to not be overly aggressive. He also needed top sparring partners because you adjust to the level of your competition, and I knew he did not have the right sparring partners when he was getting ready to fight Oliver the first time.”
It was a vastly different Lewis who entered the ring at the Las Vegas Hilton on Feb. 7, 1997, and, unfortunately, a vastly different McCall. For whatever reason, the Chicago native was over-anxious and mentally unprepared to replicate his watershed conquest of Lewis.
“He obviously was trying to deal with a situation he couldn’t handle,” Steward said of McCall. “I really think he had some sort of nervous breakdown that night. His corner people were yelling at him, calling him crazy and stupid, but it had just the opposite effect of what they were trying to do. He just went deeper into his shell instead of coming out of it.”
Steward also was having fighter-control issues. Try as he might, he couldn’t quite prod Lewis – who still might have been remembering the way he had previously been dispatched by McCall – into turning it loose. The Englishman was wary of McCall’s strange behavior, believing it was an act to lure him in for another putaway shot.
“Lennox was still very suspicious, cautions and confused,” Steward said. “He didn’t commit as fully as he could have, or should have.”
Since they last squared off, Lewis and McCall have gone their separate ways. Lewis retired after defeating Vitali Klitschko on cuts on June 21, 2003, and will be inducted into the International Boxing Hall of Fame in Canastota, N.Y., on June 14.
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Old 09-21-2009, 05:20 PM   #42
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Default Re: What did pre-Steward Lewis do better than post-Steward Lewis?

Lewis was a lot smoother and relaxed later in his career. He was bigger, stronger and more consistent with his jab. He also incorporated a lot of tricks like clinching, headlocks utilizing his massive body to wear out his opponents. Better footwork, straighter punches, etc..just better fundamentally which Uncle Manny always talks about.

IMO, Lewis got a lot better in his 30s as an overall fighter. I think Post-1997 Lennox blows young Lennox out of the water. DEFINITELY!
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Old 09-21-2009, 08:56 PM   #43
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Default Re: What did pre-Steward Lewis do better than post-Steward Lewis?

What did pre-Steward Lewis do better than post-Steward Lewis?

Maybe diet and maintain his ideal weight a bit more in between fights?
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