Dillian Whyte is a big Evander Holyfield fan. No doubt about it. A story ran yesterday, with Whyte talking about “The Real Deal” and his place in boxing history. Whyte was talking on the Sirius XM Ak and Barak show and what the British warrior had to say was soon picked up by a number of boxing web sites.
Whyte’s statement that Holyfield “should be higher up than Mike Tyson in history,” went down okay. After all, Holyfield twice defeated Tyson. But then Whyte went too far, stating how “there is a case is saying that he (Holyfield) won both fights against Lennox Lewis.”
As fans know, the first fight between Lewis and Holyfield was somehow scored a draw, the decision soon being condemned and referred to as the worst in world heavyweight championship boxing history. The return fight was a good deal closer (and to be fair, some journalists did feel at the time that Holyfield had done enough to have won), but plenty of fans disagree with what Whyte had to say.
And Lewis himself was moved to put out the following tweet:
“Maybe Dillian went to the Eugenia Williams school of Boxing Scoring,” Lennox wrote.
Williams is of course the female judge who managed to score the first Lewis-Holyfield fight for Holyfield, this despite the fact that practically everyone else struggled to give Evander more then three rounds at the most.
Whyte is right in praising Holyfield, yet he had to know he would encounter a ton of criticism when he said what he said about those two fights with Lewis.
“Holyfied fought everyone,” Whyte said, correctly, when praising Holyfield’s career achievements. “He fought Lennox Lewis, Mike Tyson. He fought Michael Moorer and he fought Riddick Bowe. Plus, he also fought George Foreman. Mike Tyson didn’t even fight all those guys. He only fought Lennox Lewis and he lost to Lennox Lewis. I believe in Evander Holyfield, there is a case is saying that he won both fights against Lennox Lewis.”
Everything Whyte said, barring that final sentence, is bang on the money. Holyfield, “too small to be a heavyweight,” according to the critics back in the late 1980s/early ’90s, overcame enormous odds and really did “fight everyone.”
So of the two, Holyfield and Lewis, who should be placed higher when it comes to the greatest-ever heavyweights? That’s a tough one. Lewis did fight a past his best Holyfield, and even then he only just managed to beat him, in the second fight anyway. Maybe you agree with Whyte and rank Holyfield as one of the true greats. Even better than Lewis.