Happy 51st Birthday Lennox Lewis. Lennox Lewis is a well known figure and not just in boxing circles. He has been successful in many areas of his life. Lennox was part of one of the best heavyweight eras in the history of the sport and despite not facing all of the top guys in that era, he did have success against the majority, racking up wins over the likes of Vitali Klitschko, Holyfield, Tyson, Tua, Golota, and many others. There were many colorful moments throughout his career so let’s take a minute to have a look at the man inside and outside the ring.
Lennox was British-born to a Jamaican mother who was worried that he would get into too much trouble if he stayed in London’s dangerous neighborhoods. So, at the age of 12 he was off to Canada where he picked up boxing a few years later. He was instantly successful due to his size and talent and became a world junior amateur champion. Before long he was the best amateur boxer in Canada and made the Olympic team in 1984 only to lose in the quarterfinals to eventual gold medalist Tyrell Biggs. Four years later he would achieve his goal of winning a gold medal after stopping tournament favorite Riddick Bowe. Subsequently, a rift developed between the two fighters that lasted throughout their pro careers. Many remember the incident where Bowe threw his belt in a trash can rather acquiesce to the dictate that he fight Lennox Lewis.
Lennox would go on to fight a plethora of good fighters not named Riddick Bowe. Instead of going over all of his big wins that can easily be found online what this writer finds interesting are the three fights he didn’t win. His two losses were shocking — one would never have expected him to lose to fighters of this caliber — and then there was the dubious draw with Evander Holyfield.
First up we have Oliver McCall, where Lewis walked into a right hand. This was early in his career where he hadn’t yet adopted the more cautious approach for which he was known. Against McCall in their first meeting he walked right in on McCall behind not only no jab but his left hand held down by his waist. He then cocked a right hand and squared himself up only to get blasted by a 1-2 combo that was the beginning of the end. Lennox’s legs were rubber when the referee waved the fight off.
He would avenge this loss several years later in a bizarre bout in which Oliver McCall had an emotional breakdown while the fight was in progress.
Lennox’s other defeat came at the hands of Hasim Rahman. Lennox was doing well in the fight but, akin to his first bout with Oliver McCall, simply got careless. It only took one punch to make Rahman an overnight sensation as he knocked out Lewis with a stiff right hand, ruining a potential megafight between him and Mike Tyson, for the time being anyways. Lewis would end up having to take Rahman to court to press the rematch clause where he returned the favor with a highlight reel one punch knockout of his own.
With his ring earnings, Lennox purchased a beautiful mansion in Jamaica overlooking the Caribbean Sea. He loves playing chess and still turns up at many of the big fights, claiming that he is glad he retired as a champion and that he doesn’t miss the competition.
Lennox in known in boxing circles as a class act. Almost everyone you talk to that met him would say that he is just that. In this writer’s few encounters with him, he was very gracious. Happy 51st birthday to a great ambassador of the sport.
Happy 51st Birthday Lennox Lewis / Check out more boxing news and videos at The Boxing Channel.