Lennox Lewis has named an under the radar heavyweight from his generation who, in Lewis’ opinion, would have excelled in the modern era.
In a career that spanned across three decades from 1989 to 2003, former undisputed world champion Lewis faced all contenders – except famously Riddick Bowe, who vacated his WBC title rather than face ‘The Lion.’
When engaging with fans on his official Twitter account, Lewis named ‘Merciless’ Ray Mercer as a heavyweight who, despite not having the name value of a Mike Tyson or Evander Holyfield, would do well if campaigning nowadays.
— Lennox Lewis, CBE, CM (@LennoxLewis) March 31, 2023
Mercer was crowned WBO heavyweight champion of the world in 1991, when he stopped Francesco Damiani whilst well behind on the three judges scorecards.
He had another crack at the same belt 12 years later in 2002, however ran into a certain Wladimir Klitschko, who stopped him in six rounds.
Lewis and Mercer actually locked horns in 1996, when the former emerged victorious by the skin of his teeth with a razor thin majority decision.
At only 6’1 inches tall, Mercer would be considered a small heavyweight compared to some of the behemoths of the modern era, many of whom stand at 6’5 plus.
Remarkably, the Floridian only hung up the gloves in 2008, at which point he was a staggering 47 years old.
Judging by recent interviews, however, fighting to such an advanced age looks to have not done Mercer any visible long term damage as he still appears to have all his faculties intact.
With the current heavyweight champions seemingly more concerned with issuing Instagram call outs than actually stepping in the ring, prime Mercer and Lewis would both be welcomed additions to the blue ribbon division in 2023.