The “Awkward Genius”: Lennox Lewis Credits Vitali Klitschko as His Smartest Foe

By ciaran123 - 01/19/2024 - Comments

Former heavyweight champion Lennox Lewis says Vitali Klitschko was the smartest opponent he ever faced during his long professional career from their war in June 2003.

Lewis (41-2, 32 KOs) came away with a sixth-round TKO, with the contest being halted by the advice of the ringside doctor due to a deep cut over the left eye of the 6’7″ Klitschko, who was ahead on all three judges’ scorecards, 58-56 at the time of the stoppage.

Vitali’s overall toughness and ring IQ proved a problem for Lewis, who was hurt in the third round by a right hand from the powerful Ukrainian and hit a lot in every round. Klitschko wasn’t loading up on his shots, but the power that he had from his huge frame troubled Lewis.

A Short Notice Showdown Of Giants

Lewis had planned on fighting Kirk Johnson, but Klitschko was brought in as a replacement when he was injured. His unorthodox and awkward style was a difficult puzzle for Lewis.

More than that, Vitali’s size was the real problem for Lennox because he’d been accustomed to fighting opposition much smaller than him that he could bomb or jab from long distance to win easily; Lewis couldn’t do that against Klitschko, as he was tagging him with shots repeatedly in every round due to his massive size, and he did not like it.

“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,” said Lennox Lewis to The Ring.

“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.”

Icing on the Retirement Cake

In the aftermath of Lewis’ victory over Klitschko, the boxing public wanted to see a rematch between the two. Unfortunately for the fans, Lewis retired after the victory at 38, which made a lot of sense.

He was wealthy, and not the young fighter he’d once been, and the chances are, he might have lost the rematch.

Klitschko would have fought more aggressively in the second fight, and Lewis, who never had the greatest chin to begin with, might have folded. Some fans thought Lewis had lost his nerve and didn’t want to chance it in a second fight.

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