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ISSUE 115 VOL 18 PUBLISHED 4/19/2002

Lewis vs. Tyson:

By Ben Schleuss
Contributing Writer

Friday, April 19, 2002

The purpose of this article was to encapsulate the excitement and anticipation that is building for the Lennox Lewis heavyweight title fight versus Mike Tyson on June 8th. But somewhere in the process of the research and writing I came to the conclusion that this match isn’t worth any investment of my time. I’m looking for a pugilism contest, not a car accident. Following boxing tradition, the challenger is introduced first. In this corner, standing five feet eleven inches tall and weighing 223 pounds... Mike Tyson! Settle down, Iron Mike has not had a legitimate fight in over ten years, unless you count his daily exercise hour while in prison. Once known as for his ability to destroy his opponents with intimidation and a devastating uppercut, he is now infamous for a rape conviction and occasionally tearing off an opponent’s appendage with his teeth. Back in the eighties the adjective “scary” was used to describe his ring mystique, now it has become synonymous with his social life. Tyson grew up without a significant father figure in his life ‘till a trainer named Cus D’Amato offered to guide his boxing career and ended up guiding his life as well. Since his spilt with D’Amato and union with Don King (surprise), Tyson has been lost both morally and professionally. And now introducing the champion, standing six foot five, and weighing 247 pounds... Lennox Lewis. He is a great fighter. He is always in control. He has only been involved in one bad fight due to horrible judging. He is respectful, well spoken, and the consummate professional. But his greatest distinction comes as being the most boring heavyweight champ ever! He is so dull that even members of his entourage fall asleep at his press conferences. Don King can’t even conjure up a rhyming nickname for him. I don’t care how great a fighter he is I can’t stay awake through his montage of interview clips. And the coup de grace, he’s British. The best thing Lewis has going for him is that it will always be hilarious to hear him talk trash with a heavy English accent. Put that on pay-per-view. Boxing purists will recognize the date of March 8th, 1971 as the first meeting of Mohammed Ali and Joe Frazier. This was the greatest boxing match of all time, and the biggest cultural event of that year. There was almost a pageantry atmosphere at Madison Square Garden that evening, and you could tell who was important in America by who was sitting ringside. The fight itself far surpassed the expectations and pomp that characterized the evening. “Smokin’ Joe” won an obvious decision in fifteen rounds, handing Ali his first loss and retaining the heavyweight title. Almost every fight since then has been contrived and manipulated into a circus of sorts that could never live up to its hype. I am a boxing fan, and I haven’t abandoned the sport. Thankfully, I have about fifteen hours of great fights cataloged on DVD. There are very few current boxers out there worth my time and money. If you enjoy boxing I heartily recommend When We Were Kings, Mohammed Ali: The Whole Story, and the Champions Forever series. If you are looking to watch a train wreck, tune into Lewis-Tyson on June 8th.

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