One of the most anticipated fights of a boxing generation had to be when Lennox Lewis and Mike Tyson finally got it on in Memphis after years of talk and hype and long after it should have taken place. Lewis was conclusive with a masterful boxing display and ultimately violent knockout against a shot Mike Tyson, but how might a Tyson v Lewis in prime contest actually went down?
I can remember watching a documentary before where they had Tyson’s original trainer and mentor Cus D’Amato on, who once spoke of how Tyson and Lewis sparred together as teenagers and how he predicted that one day the two would meet in the ring for the heavyweight title. His premonition was proved to be right but I doubt he thought it would have happened when the two were in their late thirties. I also remember Lennox Lewis speaking of their sparring sessions that they had as teenagers and talking of Tyson as “an animal” who he hoped he didn’t come up against in the ring at that point. Obviously this was when the two were in their teenage years but it makes you think about how psychologically Lewis would have coped with Tyson had they fought when Tyson first became champion and not long removed from their spar?
Obviously it’s a bit unfair to look at that time period as Lewis was barely even a pro at that time having had a stellar amateur career winning Olympic Gold and turning pro a lot later than Tyson. At the
same time though I think when your talking about a boxer’s prime you must look at when exactly that would have been. For Tyson, your talking mid to late eighties and probably at his peak when he first became champion around at 20. But for Lewis his prime was probably when he actually beat Tyson in 2002 in Memphis. You are looking at a serious gap of almost fifteen years. I guess the question I’m trying to ask is how would these two versions of Lewis and Tyson matched up with one another if they met at the same time?
When you look at Tyson in his prime he loved fighting taller guys and used a lot of his head movement, upper body speed and low center of gravity to get leverage on his vicious combinations (that he stopped using later in his career) to great effect against big men. Lewis on the other hand liked to keep his opponents at the end of that unbelievable jab but also could go to the trenches and fight if needed. You’d have to think that the speed, elusiveness and all round relentlessness of a prime Tyson would have certainly caused a lot more problems for Lewis then when he fought a mere shell of Tyson that night in Memphis.
Don’t get me wrong, I think Lennox Lewis is arguably boarder line top five greatest heavyweights of all time. He beat every man that ever got in the ring with him (avenged his only two losses) and had all the skills and physical attributes to compete with anyone, combined big heart and toughness for good measure. However I just think that somewhere along the line if the two had fought in their primes that Tyson’s combinations, speed and elusiveness would have caught up with Lennox in the mid to late rounds and more than likely caused a stoppage. That’s just my opinion though. I guess we’ll never know for sure but can always speculate on how it might have went down, had these two heavyweight legends met at the peak of both their powers.