The last heavyweight undisputed world champion, Lennox Lewis, faced some of the best of his era.
Wins over Frank Bruno, Ray Mercer, Andrew Golota, Mike Tyson and Vitali Klitschko stand proud on his resume, but who put up the best test of his career?
Speaking on The Ring Magazine’s Best I Faced series, Lewis gave Evander Holyfield the honour.
“Evander was very talented, although I was disappointed that he used his head as a punch in those fights. The word was that he was the greatest heavyweight of our era but nobody could say that until he fought Lennox Lewis. In the first fight he was overconfident, singing during his ring walk, so I went after him and he was shocked to get that draw. Second time around he knew what to expect so it was a tougher fight but I still won comfortably.”
The pair fought first in March of 1999, with ‘The Lion’ bringing the WBC title to the table against Holyfield’s IBF and WBA belts to make for the undisputed bout. A controversial split draw meant no sole champion was crowned that night, although two of the three judges would later say that they had scored it unfairly in Holyfield’s favour.
Eight months later, Lewis would win a unanimous decision against the American, becoming the first undisputed champion in seven years. He credit’s Holyfield’s ‘excellent’ defence as what took the fight the distance.
“Holyfield had excellent variety to his defence. He could cross his arms like George Foreman but he was also well schooled in the traditional type of defence you get taught in the amateurs. Evander presented a real challenge and I had to put in a lot of effort to break through. I couldn’t just land one or two shots and be content; it had to be threes, fours and fives.”
He would be three-belt champion for just six months before being shocked by Hasim Rahman Jr. Like his other professional defeat to Oliver McCall, Lewis avenged it before he hung up the gloves with a record of 41-2-1 with 32 knockouts.