Bowe vs. Lewis: The Best Fights – Which ‘Never’ Took Place Part 1

riddick bowe05.03.07 - By Neil Goodman: Let us fantasize for a wee while; imagine if you can the boxing fights which could have been made, albeit, had the politics and money been set aside.

Lennox Lewis Versus Riddick Bowe

Even after all these years, it is difficult to fathom out; why was this THE fight that never was? Back in 1992/3, this fight would never been easier to sell than arms to the Iraqi’s! Both fighters were undefeated and operating at world title level and best of all they had significant ‘previous.' At the 1988 boxing Olympics, Lewis stopped Bowe in the second round and thus was crowned the Gold medallist. This loss clearly irked Bowe and he would forever claim the stoppage of the fight had been premature.

In 1992, Lewis shocked the boxing world by blasting ‘Razor’ Ruddock to defeat inside two rounds; this was after all the man who had traded bombs with Iron Mike for a total of 19 rounds. The win also ensured Lewis pole-position for the next shot at the WBC title belt.

Less than one month after Lewis had laid claim to the position of number one challenge, Bowe faced off against Holyfield for the undisputed Heavyweight Title (WBC, WBA and IBF). The fight, or to be more precise battle, was a modern day classic and when the dust settled Bowe was hailed as the new champion.

It is at this point the challenger should have been given the opportunity to tackle the new champion. Bowe though had other ideas and instead famously threw the WBC belt into the bin. I think in hindsight it is fair to say that this action was ‘misjudged’! Bowe then did not exactly cover himself in glory biffing Dokes and Ferguson to defeat in defence of his remaining two title belts.

So had Lewis and Bowe been given an opportunity to square off against one another again, without the vests and headgear, who would have won?

If you analyse their respective careers you would have to say that 8 times out of 10 Big Lenny would probably have beaten Bowe. Lennox was the more consistent performer and showed great skill and power in dealing with other big men in heavyweight division. It is perhaps not as simple as that though. In 1992 Bowe was fresh, hungry and arguably looked a more complete fighter in handing Holyfield his first career defeat.

In 1992/3, Lewis still showed some amateurish tendencies and certainly did not appear as adept at infighting as Bowe. When the chips are down though, it is hard to pick against Lewis in this match-up. Lennox would have held the psychological edge over Bowe and his reach advantage, power and chin (yes, chin) would have taken their toll.

Throughout his career Lennox managed to turn fights around and land big punches to retrieve a losing situation. In his first defence Tony TNT Tucker started to turn the heat up on Lennox; then in the blink of eye Lewis retaliated and battered Tucker across the ring. Frank Bruno was doing damaged and looked on the verge of an unlikely win; then Lewis uncorked a left hook (which he was meant to possess) and the rest is history.

My prediction would have been a brutal opening four or five rounds; Lennox would then have looked to establish his jab and strength. Lennox wins the undisputed title in six or seven rounds, Bowe punched to a standstill and once again saved by the referee.

Article posted on 05.03.2007

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