The Last, Big Heavyweight Unification Fight..

Discussion in 'Classic Boxing Forum' started by Fergy, May 15, 2024.



  1. Fergy

    Fergy Walking Dead Full Member

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    25 years ago when Lennox Lewis faced Evander Holyfield of course.
    For those that remember the first fight fight, did anyone pick Holyfield? It seemed the majority at the time thought Lennox would win but there were some that favored Evander.
     
  2. Greg Price99

    Greg Price99 Boxing Addict Full Member

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    I was 15 years old Fergy. My best mates Dad bought the fight on Sky Box office and after a few drinks, lasted until about 2am before going up to bed, leaving my mate and I to watch the fight alone, which iirc correctly started about 5am UK time.

    I wasn't a huge boxing fan at the time, I favoured Holyfield going in, but I'm not sure how much that was down to an inferiority complex when it came to UK HWs, with Holyfield being the highest ranked HW from the US, rather than an informed tactical breakdown.

    Whilst i remember being suprised at the extent of Lennox's dominance, I was equally frustrated at his hesitation to fully force his advantage home. There were numerous times where to my untrained eye it appeared Evander was out of ideas, back to the ropes, there for the taking and Lewis just wouldn't fully commit to his offence.
     
  3. Fergy

    Fergy Walking Dead Full Member

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    Hi Greg mate.
    There's a lot of truth in that, it felt like Lewis was winning but at times holding back. I do remember at the end thinking 'oh crap this decision s gonna be really close'
    I was rooting for Lewis and hopeing like hell he was gonna get the win, he did deserve it imo, the decision could have been worse for Lennox tho.
     
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  4. Greg Price99

    Greg Price99 Boxing Addict Full Member

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    I couldn't believe the decision, Lewis was so dominant.

    I have a vague recollection that in the fall out in the coming days and weeks after the fight, Adalaide Byrd was summoned by some authority or other to explain her card, and claimed people stood in front of her blocking her view, by way of explanation for scoring a particularly dominant Lewis round to Holyfield.
     
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  5. Fergy

    Fergy Walking Dead Full Member

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    Ah yes good old Byrd, she really is caused a stink back then.
    A lot of kicking off about that decision, but most of the opinion that he got robbed.
    Which he did let's be honest..
     
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  6. sauhund II

    sauhund II Boxing Addict Full Member

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    I saw it live Ringside and it was a snooze fest.

    Lewis did win, the draw was a joke, still the fight was a stinker.
     
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  7. Greg Price99

    Greg Price99 Boxing Addict Full Member

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    Agreed Fergy. As you alluded to in your previous post, with hindsight, the robbery wasn't all bad for Lewis, such was the extent of the fall out, he was finally accepted in the UK and recognised globally as the true champion.

    The prevailing narrative of the fight was that Lewis was wronged in a disgusting roberry. If all 3 judges had scored widely to Lewis, the narrative may have leaned more to an excellent, but uninspiring, safety first HW beating a smaller, older opponent. I don't think that would have been fair, but it could have been the prevailing narrative in lieu of more newsworthy controversy.
     
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  8. Fergy

    Fergy Walking Dead Full Member

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    All true mate.
    And at least they agreed to a rematch, it would have been crap to never see Lewis get his chance to get all the belts.
    He was obviously the true champ then.
     
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  9. Man_Machine

    Man_Machine Boxing Junkie Full Member

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    I saw a thoroughly professional, technical and disciplined performance from Lewis :) against the number-1 rated Heavyweight in the World.
     
  10. Greg Price99

    Greg Price99 Boxing Addict Full Member

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    Agreed MM, with the benefit of a quarter of a century of watching boxing since, I now see it a little differently.

    Whilst I still think there were times Lewis was so on top he could have looked to press home his advantage to a greater extent, his approach likely maximised his chances of winning the fight (on fair scorecards).

    I think the extent of his dominance may have caused a little complacency going into the rematch, at least in the sense Steward got it into his head he so vastly physically superior, all he had to do was put it on Evander and he would fold.

    That approach led to the mid rounds being fought at a closer range that favoured Holyfield, before Lewis adjusted and took the late rounds at distance behind his jab again.
     
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  11. Man_Machine

    Man_Machine Boxing Junkie Full Member

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    I can imagine that there were a good few spectators who were thinking the same way, but Holyfield was nothing if not extremely durable and the gameplan was clear - Control the fight from beginning to end.

    I seem to recall Holmes publicly advising Lewis not to try for the knockout when he didn't need to, because that's when he'd most likely make a mistake and risk the loss. It was interesting to note the respect Lewis was getting in the build up before the bout, not only after the travesty of the scorecards, following such a brilliant performance.

    People were beginning to speak the truth about Lewis (as Foreman had been for years, i.e., no one wanted a bar of him and he'll be avoided).

    I cannot remember when exactly but I think Holyfield described the era as a period in which he was the preferred option to Lewis, because contenders saw him as an easier match.

    Agree on the rematch - I don't think Steward and Lewis concerned themselves too much with strategy for that one. It made for a more competitive bout, but the first fight had, for me, already demonstrated who was the best.
     
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  12. The Long Count

    The Long Count Boxing Junkie Full Member

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    The fight kind of stunk. Holyfield was flat, and I couldn’t blame him. He had reached his summit in defeating Tyson and avenging Moorer. Tyson had been his quest, and a fight between two Americans is going to motivate an American. Just like I would expect more sparks to fly in a bout between Joshua and Fury.
    Then in the rematch it was the reversal. Lewis having won the first fight imo and in the eyes of many others, it was a dubious draw, seemed to be lazy in the rematch. Lewis Figuring been there done that, Holyfield motivated by pride I would assume gave a much better account and with the two opposing motivations of the fight it made it a much more competitive bout. Holyfield was running hot and cold as early as 1995 and was past his best since then anyway.
     
  13. Ney

    Ney Well-Known Member Full Member

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    Don’t let the names or the unification basis mislead you - there was nothing ‘big’ about the fight at the time it happened.
     
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  14. Jel

    Jel Obsessive list maker Full Member

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    I’ve never watched the first fight. I saw the rematch live and thought it was a boring fight and that Lewis just about deserved the nod but didn’t cover himself in glory in the process. Consequently, I never went back and watched the first fight.
     
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  15. RockyJim

    RockyJim Boxing Addict Full Member

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    March 8, 1971...Ali-Frazier I...I was in high school....there hasn't been a bigger fight in my lifetime then this one. No amount of "HYPE" is going to make any other fight surpass this one. People who didn't even follow boxing knew of this fight...it captured the imagination of everyone...not just boxing/sports fans. When the decision was announced...TV programs broke in with the results...it was a great time to be a fight fan!
     
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