Who had a better career, Lennox Lewis or Evander Holyfield?

Discussion in 'World Boxing Forum' started by ThaChampIsHere, Jan 3, 2023.

Who had a better career, Lennox Lewis or Evander Holyfield?

Poll closed Feb 3, 2023.
  1. Lennox Lewis

  2. Evander Holyfield

  1. Brighton bomber

    Brighton bomber Obsessed with Boxing Full Member

    Apr 4, 2005
    At the time Holyfield clearly had the more impressive career. 3 time world champion like Ali, wins over the types of Bowe and Tyson, was regarded after the Tyson win as the number 1 guy in the division, while Lewis was like Wilder in this era just the holder of the WBC belt who was seen as vulnerable after the loss to McCall. Holyfield was also involved in more exciting fights and seen as an ATG by many people after the Tyson wins.

    Obviously time has passed and people opinions have changed. I recall near the end of both their careers debating who would be rated higher between the two and it seems my view that Lewis while not rated as highly at the time would go on to be regarded as the better fighter and it does seem that is the general opinion now.

    While Holyfield did at the time have the more impressive career, it's also now viewed that Lewis' less impressive, albeit still very deep resume, is down to Bowe and Tyson ducking him and depriving Lewis of the big fights. Holyfield himself has said he benefited from Bowe and Tyson ducking Lewis resulting in him being chosen instead to fight them both and garnering the biggest wins of his career with the Bowe rematch and the two Tyson wins. Throw in Moorer also ducking Lewis when asked if he would unify after beating Evander he said he didn't think he needed to unify against Lewis.

    Lewis' longevity and ended up being the last man standing in a stacked era is where he's been able to separate himself from the likes of Holyfield, Bowe and Tyson and why he's ranked above them in the majorities eyes but in terms of resume and career highlights I do think Holyfield was more impressive though of course the Balco drug scandal which he was involved in has probably tarnished some of what he had achieved.
  2. Alo2006

    Alo2006 R.I.P Sean Taylor Full Member

    Jun 28, 2006
    Not better than Ali. Ali fought all the top HW fighters.
  3. Dubblechin

    Dubblechin Obsessed with Boxing Full Member

    Jun 25, 2014
    I was around during Holyfield's entire career, too. Holyfield was ridiculed during his first reign at heavyweight. He beat Douglas who quit. The Foreman and Holmes defenses were ridiculed. You had all these young heavyweights coming up, and Evander was fighting guys who were champs from the 1970s. (Those wins only look better with hindsight). And the Cooper defense was considered a huge embarrassment at the time. Evander was supposed to fight Tyson (who got injured) and then he was supposed to fight Damiani (who got injured) and Cooper was the only guy they could dig up. It was considered such a bad fight, Vegas didn't want it and the card was moved to Georgia. And Evander had to get off the floor against a very late sub to win.

    Evander wasn't considered among the great all-time heavyweights until he won the title from Tyson in 1996. After those two fights with Tyson, I think Ring rated Evander the third best heavyweight of all time, which was a ridiculous over-reach after they spent so much time badmouthing him.

    Then, of course, that blew up in Ring's face when Evander struggled with Vaughn Bean and then went on a nine-fight tear where he only won twice. By the time he fought Larry Donald, Evander was buried in the preliminaries on the undercard of a Don King PPV where guys like Rahman and Byrd and even John Ruiz were fighting in the featured bouts.

    Ali's fights in his later years were never buried on someone else's undercard.

    I don't want to come off as bashing Evander. I loved watching him fight. But if we're comparing his career and Lennox's career ... Lennox had the far better career HANDS DOWN.

    * Lewis won the gold. (Evander got disqualified in the Olympics)
    * Lewis beat everyone he fought as a pro (Holyfield avenged three of his 10 losses ... and his lone wins over Bowe and John Ruiz were both highly questionable).
    * Lewis made 14 successful heavyweight title defenses (compared to Evander's SIX).
    * Lewis retired as Heavyweight champ with a stoppage WIN over Hall of Famer Vitali Klitshko (Evander was still getting knocked out a year ago).
  4. Dubblechin

    Dubblechin Obsessed with Boxing Full Member

    Jun 25, 2014
    I listened to someone argue that Lennox Lewis may one day be rated above Ali by the next generation of fans coming up.

    And the more I thought about it, the more I believe that's possible.

    So much of the mystique around champs like Ali and Joe Louis (and Dempsey and Johnson) are tied to the times they fought in.

    But the further we get from those times, the more new fans just focus on the fights themselves.

    And there are a lot of bad Ali fights out there to view. A LOT of bad Ali fights.

    You sit down for a viewing of Lennox's fights and Ali's fights, Lennox's are far more entertaining. If you showed some of Ali's wins to people you tried to get interested in boxing they probably couldn't make it thru them.

    There weren't many boring Lennox Lewis fights in his 14-year career.

    And Lennox beat every man he fought as a pro. Ali didn't.

    Lennox retired as champ beating another Hall of Fame heavyweight champion. Ali didn't.

    Lewis won the gold against a future Hall of Fame heavyweight champ. Ali didn't. (Ali won the gold at light heavy against a guy who never turned pro.)

    Lewis didn't win the heavyweight title three times, granted. Then again, Lennox didn't lose three times.

    Like I said, Lewis arguably had the greatest career by a heavyweight ever.

    He had two bad nights in 14 years. And, truthfully, there isn't much difference in the knockdowns scored in the first Lewis-McCall bout and the Holmes-Snipes fight.

    Both Lewis and Holmes got dropped by one shot. Both got up.

    Lewis put his gloves up but his knees buckled a little so it was stopped.

    Larry got up, couldn't stand and went crashing face first into the corner (which held him up).

    If not, Larry would've gone down multiple times from one punch (like Berbick against Tyson) ... but since the corner kept Larry up ... the referee kept counting and resumed the fight. Larry was arguably in worse shape from that one Snipes shot than Lennox was from the McCall punch that waved off the fight.

    Lennox was legitimately stopped by Rahman. But he obliterated Hasim in the return.

    Those are Lennox's two losses. Ali's got five losses. Arguably, Ali should've had more than that. (A lot more, according to some.)

    Unlike Ali, Lennox was never dominated in a fight like Ali was at different times in losses.

    Basically, if you didn't knock out Lennox Lewis with one punch you didn't win.
    Last edited: Jan 5, 2023
    spravedlivylev likes this.
  5. Alo2006

    Alo2006 R.I.P Sean Taylor Full Member

    Jun 28, 2006
    Ali didn't get KO'ed twice in his prime like Lewis. Ali beat 6 hall of famers compared to Lewis's two hall of famers. Ali fought in a better and deeper HW era. Ali has the better resume which is not even close. He beat Archie Moore, Sonny Liston twice, Floyd Patterson twice, Zora Folley, Jerry Quarry twice, Joe Frazier twice, Ken Norton twice, George Foreman, Ron Lyle, Earnie Shavers and Leon Spinks.
    Noel857 likes this.
  6. Dubblechin

    Dubblechin Obsessed with Boxing Full Member

    Jun 25, 2014
    And Ali didn't beat a future Hall of Fame World Heavyweight champion for the Olympic Gold Medal. Ali didn't retire AS World Heavyweight champion with his last fight being a win over a future Hall of Fame World Heavyweight Champion. And Ali didn't beat everyone he fought as a pro.

    Ali retired after losing a terrible fight (that some fans here refuse to even watch) in a rundown baseball park, on a card where all the boxers had to share gloves and a cowbell was used for a ring bell.

    Ali didn't go out a winner, in a world heavyweight title fight, beating the next dominant Hall of Fame heavyweight to come after him, like Lennox did.

    Also, most people would rate Vitali Klitschko, Mike Tyson and Evander Holyfield (all Hall of Famers) higher at heavyweight than nearly all the people you listed there.

    Who has Floyd Patterson, Jerry Quarry, Zora Folley, Ken Norton, Ron Lyle, Earnie Shavers, Leon Spinks, or Archie Moorer HIGHER on an all-time heavyweight list than they have Vitali Klitschko, Evander Holyfield or Mike Tyson?

    Where are these heavyweight lists where Zora Folley ranks Higher than Mike Tyson?

    Vitali, Holyfield, Tyson and Lennox Lewis are among the 10 best heavyweights, like Ali, Frazier and Foreman.

    And you can find page after page after page of posts where people thought Ali lost - in addition to his actual losses to Frazier, Holmes, Norton, Berbick and Leon - all three of his fights to Norton and his fight to Jimmy Young.

    Ali isn't head and shoulders above Lewis at all. Lewis got one-shot KOed twice, once by a guy (McCall) who had his eyes closed. And Lewis won the rematches. Nobody dominated Lennox Lewis round after round in the pro ranks EVER.

    If you didn't land that one lucky punch YOU DIDN'T WIN against Lennox Lewis. And it only happened twice.

    Ali got dominated round after round and was stopped by Holmes. Didn't avenge his loss. Ali got dominated by Berbick. Didn't avenge his loss. Ali didn't have one dominant win over Ken Norton or Jimmy Young at all.

    I understand the appeal of Ali. I started following boxing in the mid 70s when Ali was the champion. I had a Muhammad Ali action figure. I had the Muhammad Ali "Black Superman" 45 that I'd play on the record player.

    But I also acknowledge that when you just focus on Ali's fights and not on all the outside the ring stuff, he's going to get passed up by heavyweights when fresh eyes start watching these fights.

    And I can see Lewis being rated above him by future fans of the sport. Without question.
    Last edited: Jan 5, 2023
    spravedlivylev likes this.
  7. Noel857

    Noel857 I Am Duran Full Member

    Mar 24, 2019
    Well all i can say is those future fans would be wrong
  8. spravedlivylev

    spravedlivylev "See you, Tyson." Full Member

    Nov 17, 2022
    This is exactly my problem with Ali's legacy. There were so many at the very least questionable wins and some outright gifts in his resume.

    There is a very legit claim that Jones beat him. Then the second Frazier fight was abysmal with all the holding and clinching from Ali. Granted, it was the referee who didn't do anything about it, but I still consider it cheating. Then in the third Frazier fight, Ali wanted to quit after round 14. Ali apologists would try to claim it would have been out of character, but it was confirmed by various sources that he didn't want to get up for that fifteenth round and asked his corner to cut his gloves off. In my book, Ali never beat Frazier - he was awarded two wins against him, but never beat him.

    Then there were the robberies of Young and Norton.

    There were a few more, but these were the most memorable ones.
    Dubblechin likes this.
  9. Johnny1987

    Johnny1987 Active Member Full Member

    Sep 20, 2019
    I don’t understand why this is even a thread anymore, the question was who had the better career.

    Holyfield has 10 losses for gods sake, that’s a horrendous career for that era
  10. Austinboxing

    Austinboxing British Boxing fan Full Member

    Jul 8, 2021
    Holyfield was robbed against Valuev. Plus he was like a million years old during that fight so please don’t use that as a reason to discredit Holyfield. Your just gonna end up looking like a fool.
  11. White Bomber

    White Bomber Boxing Addict Full Member

    Mar 31, 2021
    Lewis, easy.
  12. White Bomber

    White Bomber Boxing Addict Full Member

    Mar 31, 2021
    So what if he shared the ring with them if he also lost to half of them.
  13. White Bomber

    White Bomber Boxing Addict Full Member

    Mar 31, 2021
    Wrong, Lewis was the best HW of the 90s
    Mike_b likes this.
  14. White Bomber

    White Bomber Boxing Addict Full Member

    Mar 31, 2021
    Lewis beat his arse and only has 2 losses, which he avenged.
  15. hobby rider

    hobby rider Well-Known Member Full Member

    Aug 4, 2020
    Do you think Chisora had a great career because he shared the ring with Fury x3, Haye, Vitali, Parker, Usyk, Whytex 2, Kabayel, Pulev and Helenius?