Lennox Lewis has named the smartest fighters he ever faced in his decorated career at heavyweight.
Lewis is still the last undisputed heavyweight champion and is only one of three men in his division to have beaten all of the opponents he ever faced, including two in rematches after losing the first time around – one against Oliver McCall, and another against Hasim Rahman.
He finished in the amateur ranks by winning gold at the Seoul Olympics in 1988 and went on to beat Donovan “Razor” Ruddock, Mike Tyson, Evander Holyfield and Vitali Klitschko in his 44 fight career, ending with 41 wins, 31 KOs, one draw and just two avenged losses.
He has now named his last-ever opponent, Vitali Klitschko, as the smartest he ever faced. The pair had a thrilling battle in 2003 with the fight eventually being stopped in the 6th round due to savage cuts on the face of Klitschko, though the respect between the two has always remained.
Lewis remembered the fight while speaking to The Ring.
“Vitali used his awkwardness to good effect. Everyone said that I should have fought him again but he was just icing on my retirement cake. I took him on at short notice and despite being mentally ready, my physical preparation wasn’t ideal. I beat him at my worst so there was no need for a rematch. He definitely experienced the uppercuts.”
Much to the disappointment of boxing fans, one fighter Lewis never faced in the professional ranks having first met in that gold medal contest at the Olympics was Riddick Bowe, who was recently told to his face by one former champion that Lewis would have beaten him.