For many people, Lennox Lewis has been thought of as a glass jawed champion who reigned when there was nobody else around to challenge him. In other words, he has much been thought of at times as a transitional champion, however it is only now in his absence that people are beginning to realize just how good the boxer from West Ham, England was.
The man who replaced him as champion, Vitali "Iron fist" Klitschko, has now retired after defending his title only once since he beat Corrie Sanders to claim the WBC title. Heavyweight boxing has now again been given its "last rites" and there appears to be no future dominant force to take over from the apparently "transitional" Lewis.
People are now coming to realize that Lewis was perhaps the great champion he proclaimed himself to be after he demolished an ageing Mike Tyson in 8 rounds. People have always questioned Lewis?s competition. However, he did what Tyson had done in the late eighties and what Larry Holmes did in the early eighties and that is beat what was put in front of them.
Despite this, he has faced some generally high-class opposition over the years such as Evander Holyfield, a man who defeated a not so washed up Mike Tyson twice, and other big names such as Riddick Bowe. As I have said he also beat Mike Tyson although it must be added that "Iron Mike" was a shadow of his former self. Lewis also defeated David Tua by unanimous decision, Andrew Golota by a first round KO, Donavon "Razor" Ruddock by a second round KO and Ruddock had taken Tyson the distance just one year prior to the fight. He also defeated a host of other champions such as Frank Bruno, Tony Tucker and Oliver McCall.
Another quality of Lewis often underestimated the les knowledgeable boxing fans is the ring generalship that he possessed and the fear which he put into other fighters; Lewis was famously "ducked" by Riddick Bowe and many claim that was a result of Bowe not wanting another fight with Lewis to go the same way as their amateur one, in which Lewis destroyed him.
Lewis' jab is commonly underrated by man boxing journalists, as is the power he possessed in his right hand. He floored Tony Tucker, Ruddock Tyson and many more as well as stopping opponents such as Frank Bruno.
Lewis held at least one of the titles all the way from 1997 ?2003, minus the few months in which he lost to Hassim Rahman. Lewis knocked out Rahman in the fourth in thier rematch.
"The Lion" is one the few people along with Muhammed Ali and Rocky Marciano to have beaten everyone at he has ever faced at least once. He beat McCall in their rematch and as I have already stated he knocked out Rahman in the second fight.
Lewis overall may not perhaps be a candidate for best heavyweight of all time however he must be recognized as one of the greats in the division and I think that everyone will start to see just what a great champion he was if the heavyweight division does not sort itself out in the near future.