Why didn't Lewis face Ruiz and Byrd?

Discussion in 'Classic Boxing Forum' started by Bokaj, May 9, 2024.



  1. Bokaj

    Bokaj Obsessed with Boxing Full Member

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    He lost two belts for failure to face these two. Has he given any reasons for this? What do you yourself think were the reasons?
     
  2. mcvey

    mcvey VIP Member Full Member

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    They would have been stinker fights with relatively little monetary reward.
     
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  3. Fergy

    Fergy Walking Dead Full Member

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    Nothing to gain really, they brought nothing to the table as such imo.
    IMO Lewis beats both but looks awful doing so.
     
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  4. West of Hollywood

    West of Hollywood Active Member Full Member

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    It would have been kind of interesting to see what Byrd could have done. I have a lot of respect for Byrd - he was a very small heavyweight with a lot of skills and gonads. Lewis-Ruiz would have been a horrifically bad fight.
     
  5. Bokaj

    Bokaj Obsessed with Boxing Full Member

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    He faced Grant instead of Ruiz, and you can see how he could seem a better challenge st the time.

    As for Byrd Lewis more seemed to face no one instead of him. I think he might have thought Byrd could make him look bad.
     
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  6. Dynamicpuncher

    Dynamicpuncher Boxing Junkie Full Member

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    Apparently I've heard Ruiz got the better of Lewis in sparring maybe Ruiz might of been a bit of bad style match up for Lewis. Regardless I don't think he ducked Ruiz as someone else pointed out he fought Grant instead who was undefeated and had alot of hype about him at that time.

    I mean what would you choose ? The ugly clinching style of Ruiz that gathers no interest ? Or fighting the undefeated Grant who had alot of backing and hype from HBO and was considered the next big thing ?

    As for Byrd well Lewis chased the Tyson fight instead which was a massive fight and despite what people say that in regards Tyson being past it. Still fans gave Tyson a good shot at Lewis based on Lewis being KO'ed by Rahman recently.

    So to answer the question neither Byrd or Ruiz were appealing fights to the public based on their styles and Lewis had other big fights instead.
     
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  7. Bokaj

    Bokaj Obsessed with Boxing Full Member

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    But Lewis was stripped for not facing Byrd after the Tyson fight. There was a clear window for him to face Byrd in 2003, I think, but he opted not to take it. Instead he signed with Kirk Johnson, who then was injured and replaced by VItaly.

    Grant instead of Ruiz is hard to fault him for if you look at how they were viewed at the time, but no one instead of Byrd is a harder sell.
     
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  8. Saintpat

    Saintpat Obsessed with Boxing Full Member

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    Tyson gave up a belt rather than face Lewis. What’s your point?

    Here’s the bottom line with Lennox in this period:

    1) HBO was calling the shots. They were building a promotional machine around Grant because they thought he was the real deal, they wanted an American champion who was basically a ‘house fighter’ for their network.

    2) HBO had no interest in selling a Lewis fight vs. Byrd or Ruiz … both had some utility but were basically B sides. There wasn’t any demand for either vs. Lewis in a major fight.
     
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  9. zadfrak

    zadfrak Boxing Junkie Full Member

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    Correct.

    During that timeframe both HBO and Showtime were essentially promoters. They had contracts with some of the fighters like DLH/Tyson/Jones/etc. and approved or disapproved potential matches. An agenda to maintain and a strong vested interest in fighter A and zero interest in fighter B. Just follow the money back then. Sure sounds like a manager or promoter, doesn't it?
     
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  10. Bokaj

    Bokaj Obsessed with Boxing Full Member

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    And they didn't want Ruiz or Byrd?
     
  11. MaccaveliMacc

    MaccaveliMacc Member Full Member

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    He fought the best available contender in Grant instead of Ruiz.

    He didn't want to fight Byrd as he was eyeing a rematch with Tyson.
     
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  12. Pepsi Dioxide

    Pepsi Dioxide Boxing Addict Full Member

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    I'll add a couple more points to your post (which I agree with), who did Ruiz fight before getting a shot at lewis' vacant title? No one. People remember him as the guy who was decapitated by Tua in less than a minute. While Grant was showcased for years prior and had actually beaten Golota (despite Golota exposing some chinks in his armor). Grant was being billed as the future, the super heavyweight future (where have I heard that before? Strange this super heavy didn't beat everyone just based on size :))

    Lewis fighting Byrd in 2003....Lennox was just about done, I was actually surprised he agreed to fight Kirk Johnson let alone take a Kltichsko ad a late replacement.
     
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  13. JohnThomas1

    JohnThomas1 VIP Member Full Member

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    Here's the real story regarding Grant instead of Ruiz......

    When Lewis and Holyfield fought they'd agreed to take on the WBA #1 next fight.

    January 15th 2000 Lewis signed to fight Grant instead on April 29.

    The WBA actually decided to sanction it as long as the winner fought the #1 within 180 days.

    Don King (Ruiz promoter) sued to have Lewis stripped and Holyfield fighting Ruiz for the title.

    17 days before Lewis - Ruiz the judge ruled Lewis would be stripped it he fought Grant.

    Lewis flipped Don and co the bird and took his $7.5mil.
     
  14. catchwtboxing

    catchwtboxing Obsessed with Boxing Full Member

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    Money. There was no demand for these fights, and I am a huge Byrd fan.
     
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  15. Bokaj

    Bokaj Obsessed with Boxing Full Member

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    But he did sign to fight Johnson, when he could have fought Byrd. Yes, he was absolutely eying retirement and a rematch with Tyson was probably the only fight that really interested him and there wasn't much money in Byrd but can't have been in Johnson either. I think he just might have felt he didn't fancy meeting Byrd.