Lennox Lewis Retires

By Francis Walker
Updated: August 29, 2005

New York, NY –The world heavyweight champion, Lennox Lewis has decided the hang-up his gloves at age 38. Lewis, a native of London, England, retires after pondering whether to retire or fight Vitali Klitschko in a rematch from their entertaining slugfest last June.

Lewis was trailing on all three judges scorecards before the fight was stopped after the sixth round when lacerations across Klitschko’s face forced a stoppage to the bout. Lewis was awarded a TKO victory in what is now recognized as his final fight.

Lewis’ marquee boxing achievements during a career that expanded more than 14 ½ years include a 1988 Olympic gold medal and three world heavyweight titles, 16 defenses.

Lewis, who began his professional career with a second round knockout of Al Malcolm on June 27, 1989, finished as only the third fighter in boxing history to end his career as the heavyweight champion. His record stands at 41-2-1, 31 KOs.

Lewis’ career defining fight came in June 2002 when he knocked out Mike Tyson in 10 rounds in defense of his undisputed world heavyweight championship.

Other defining fight was the infamous and controversial “draw” against Evander Holyfield on March 13, 1999 at Madison Square Garden. Many though Lewis had unified the heavyweight title, as Lewis single handedly out-boxed Holyfield through 12 rounds. But the judges ruled the bout a draw, robbing Lewis of one of best performances of his career.

Lewis would defeat Holyfield, via 12-round decision in September 1999 to become the undisputed heavyweight champion.

It was not until Lewis defeated Holyfield that Lewis was recognized as the best heavyweight in boxing. Prior to defeating Tyson, Lewis’ three championship reigns included victories over overmatched and barely recognizable contenders that include David Tua, Michael Grant, Shannon Briggs, Andrew Golota, and Frans Botha.

Lewis has had his share of difficult fights, as both of his championship reigns ended by upset knockouts. Lewis suffered one-punch KO losses by both Oliver McCall (KO 2) in 1994 and Hasim Rahman (KO 5) in April in Johannesburg, South Africa, April 2001.

Though Lewis would avenge both defeats to regain his championships.

Even though Lewis has defeated every top fighter he has faced, there was always a knock against Lewis. Whether it was Lewis’ questionable chin, tentativeness, or selection of outmatched opponents, or occasional awkwardness, Lewis never fought the best of his generation during their primes.

Lewis never again fought Riddick Bowe in a rematch of their 1988 Olympic gold heavyweight match, nor did he fight Michael Moorer.

Unlike Muhammad Ali, George Foreman, Joe Frazier, Larry Holmes, and Ken Norton, Lewis did not have a series of heavyweight fighters that could test his greatness and bring the best out of him. By the time Lewis fought Holyfield and Tyson both fighters were pushing 40.

Lewis’ career looks impressive on paper he will not be recognized as a fighting champion. Since 1998, Lewis has not fought more than twice a year. During the last 26 months of his career, Lewis only fought twice.

However, at 6’ 5,” 245 pounds, Lewis will not only be remembered as one of the biggest heavyweight champions in boxing history.