Lennox Lewis - Don't Call It A Comeback

BY Joey Knish ON January 25, 2005
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The tabloids say ‘this’, Lennox Lewis says ‘that’ . . . who can we believe?

A ‘tabloid’ by dictionary definition is a paper that features stories of “violence, crime or scandal presented in a sensational manner.” It seems to me that we were fed a juicy bit of news many wanted to hear but which had been “sensationalized” to the point where it simply was not the truth.

Lennox Lewis says ‘no’ it isn't happening. Contrary to reports last weekend in the Sunday Mirror that the former heavyweight King will be making a comeback to clean the division of its jokers and jesters, Lewis says ‘no’- the King is gone.

For good.

Lewis retired on his own terms on February 6th of 2004 after having defeated Vitali Klitschko in June the previous year and seems to be set on staying that way. Retired, that is. The “news” this past weekend suggested Lewis had said he "needed the money just like everyone else" and the money was "too good to turn down" to come back and fight Vitali in a rematch. While I can imagine that, at some point, the money does become too good to turn down, I assume that everyone does have their price, but I’m still not buying it. I simply cannot fathom Lennox ‘needing’ the money as the report suggested.

Lewis rocked and rolled through the heavyweight division fighting mega-fight after mega-fight. Perhaps his opposition wasn't always the big attraction, but at 6'5" 250-pounds and having beaten the best of the best at his time, Lewis was a star whether it was because people liked him or because they were holding their breath for him to be knocked from his perch. Needing the money? I don't think so.

In addition to having his own promotional company, Lewis has always been a smart bloke and intelligent with his money. No lavish lifestyle or caged lions on his property. Just tea and a chess match seem to suit the regal one just fine.

So, if it weren’t for money, what would motivate Lewis to comeback?

Vitali Klitschko has been trying to bait Lewis into a rematch ever since their 2003 bout in which Klitschko, ahead on cards, was stopped due to a grotesque cut over his left eye. The cut was gaping and in such a dangerous location that his vision would be - or was - impaired as blood ran into the eye. The ringside doctor correctly stopped the bout and Lewis was rightfully awarded a TKO 6 victory.

I don't know what it is with these Klitschko Brothers, but I do find it a tad frustrating. For being so academically decorated and linguistically versed they definitely seem to have a cloudy knowledge of the rules of the sweet science. Klitschko moaned and complained to anyone who would listen, and still does, how he should have been permitted to continue on that night at the Staples Center in Los Angeles.

Yes, Vitali was narrowly ahead - he was leading 58-56 on all three judge’s scorecards - when the fight was stopped, but it was stopped for the right reason. The rules are the rules. Just as little big brother Wladimir cried outrage when he lost his WBO title to Lamon Brewster after punching himself out and not being able to continue, Vitali lost because he could no longer go on in the condition he was in. The rules are there to protect fighters and in both cases they served their purpose. Surely these two can put their heads together and come up with the truth.

The bottom line for Vitali Klitschko is that Lennox Lewis doesn't need to come back to the sport and fight him again. The ‘bottom line’ is also the financial bottom line for Vitali. There is simply no fight on the horizon for any fighter in the heavyweight division that could match the economic windfall of a Vitali-Lewis rematch.

Perhaps equally important to Lennox Lewis - the English-born son of Jamaican parents who won an Olympic Gold medal for Canada in 1988 - is to take the high road and stay one up on Vitali. To succumb to the constant verbal badgering of Vitali Klitschko would be to stoop to his level. Staying retired is the surest way for Vitali to never avenge the defeat, and to forever have the edge in the game of one-upmanship on the elder Ukrainian.

The comeback of Lennox Lewis is the stuff that tabloids can run any day of the week - sensationalizing the truth, as they are known to do. In England, they do it as well as any and could teach the National Enquirer a thing or two on how far one can twist the facts.

Fortunately, it appears that Lewis is retired and intends to stay that way. I say fortunately because I believe Lewis accomplished many great things in his career and made the appropriate decision to leave the sport when he did and how he did - on top.

The next time we hear rumors of a Lewis comeback I just hope we get a better excuse than that he needs the money. Lennox Lewis needs the money about as much as the Klitschko Brothers need another excuse.

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