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Lewis' Retires from Boxing : Decision Worthy of Applause
Feb 6, 2004 By Aaron Imholte
Photo © HoganPhotos.com
As a boxing fan I will always remember where I was February 6, 2004. I woke up at 8:05 Central time, went downstairs of my cousins' St. Cloud, MN home, plopped down on the couch and turned on "Cold Pizza" the ESPN2 TV Show. No sooner did the picture come on when I heard sound bytes of the Lennox Lewis press conference announcing his retirement.
Now like a lot of huge heavyweight boxing fans in America, I was not a big Lennox Lewis fan, don't get me wrong I thought he was a brilliant fighter, top ten of all time. It was the almost plodding way he fought and the annoyingly confident way he carried himself that bothered me. This is why I thought I would never hear myself say it, but I will miss Lennox Lewis. The heavyweight division however, will miss him more.
If you will recall, the stage was set after the big fight in June of '03. Vitali Klitschko, the unlikely hero of the night was declaring himself "People's Champion" and some started to believe it. Ever since that day the public was starving for a rematch. Especially after Vitali's second round destruction of Kirk Johnson.
In recent weeks the hints were coming that Lewis would fight again. Emmanuel Steward, Lewis' trainer said "Their crew should be on stand by for a rematch." The World Boxing Council (WBC) even gave Lewis a deadline to agree to a rematch. That was all brought to an astonishing halt on Friday morning as the Heavyweight Champ retired as the Champ, the first fighter to do so in nearly 5 decades (the last being Rocky Marciano in'56).
The decision however was very wise and very health savvy by Lewis. He is in amazing health and his speech along with brain have appeared to suffered no injuries in his boxing career. He is a wise man in and out of the ring. I can only give kudos to a classy champion. The kind of kudos you would give to other champions who left on top, most notably Hall of Fame Quarterback John Elway.
So what now? Well, it seems Vitali Klitschko will have to annihilate...... I mean fight Corrie Sanders for the vacant WBC title. It is foreseeable that in '04 the heavyweight division could be more than dominated by the Klitschko Family. It was thought even before Lewis retired that the two brothers would unite the belts together this year. Now with Lennox gone their seems to be very little opposition in the way of the Ukrainian two-man wrecking crew.
With one of the greatest champions in the history of boxing gone, it is gut check time for the heavyweight division. Will it's young up and comers like Joe Mesi or Dominick Guinn carry the torch and make the division entertaining for awhile? Or will it toil in obscurity until a true savior is found? It is anyone's guess as to what will transpire from this shocking announcement. May the flagship of the Sweet Science stay afloat for years to come.
Also See: Vitali Klitschko Reaction to Lennox Retiring
Email questions or comments to Aaron at: ImholteRimholte@compuserve.com
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