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Thank You Roy and Lennox

Feb 7, 2004  By Rick Caldwell
A major announcement was made, and a major rumor has been started in the heavyweight division this week. It seems as though Roy Jones, JR. will not defend his WBA heavyweight title in a rematch with John Ruiz (rumor), and Lennox Lewis will not defend either of his heavyweight titles in a rematch with Vitali Klitschko because he just announced his retirement today. I want to be the first to thank these two great fighters
for helping us get one baby step closer to clearing up the heavyweight picture.

I’ve said numerous times, whether it be on Doghouse Boxing, or in emails to the readers that though Vitali was ahead on all cards at the time of the stoppage, I think with or without the cut, Lewis would have eventually stopped Klitschko. It was obvious to everyone who saw the fight that Lewis simply wasn’t motivated for the fight, didn’t seem to be in shape for the fight, yet he still had enough in the tank to make Vitali’s face look like hamburger. Whether you like him or hate him, Lennox was starting to really come on, and he won 2 of the last 3 rounds convincingly. Vitali seemed to want it much more than Lennox did, fought the fight of his life, caught an out of shape Lewis on his worst day and still couldn’t come away with the title. What makes anyone think the second time will be different? Do they think Lewis would enter the fight in even worse shape than the last time?

Let’s look at this scenario. If they had fought a rematch, Lewis shows up in great shape and beats Vitali without controversy, then retires and vacates the title. Chances are Vitali fights for the vacant title. If he wins, imagine how much negative talk there will be about the champ. The retirement of Lennox Lewis is the best thing to happen to the heavyweight division, and especially Vitali Klitschko. Thank you for giving us great fights, Lennox, and thank you for not knocking out the guy we are supposed to look at as the savior of the division before you retired.

As far as Roy Jones, JR. goes, I don’t think I have to get into why he’d beat John Ruiz in the rematch. If you watched him pitch a near shut out in their first fight, you have to realize he is way too much for Ruiz. He would have beaten Ruiz, and made another contender look bad in the eyes of the fans. Who would want to see Ruiz fight for a title after losing to Roy twice? I know I wouldn’t. The same conclusion I made about the Lewis situation applies here. With Roy staying at light heavyweight to give a much needed rematch to Antonio Tarver, it also helps us clear up the heavyweight picture.

Everyone knew we would basically have to start from scratch to get the division back in order after some of the older champions and contenders retired. The retirement of Lennox Lewis, and Roy Jones not choosing to fight at heavy anymore gives us a head start to finding boxing’s new poster child. I’m glad we could start the rebuilding process in early 2004, and not early 2005. Thanks again boys. Though I hate to see you go, I’d hate to see you confuse us for another year even more.

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