Alex Stewart lost all of his big fights – to Mike Tyson, George Foreman, Evander Holyfield (X2), to Michael Moorer – yet “The Destroyer” was at times more than capable of giving any man he faced sheer hell. Case in point, the somewhat forgotten slugfest the British-born warrior engaged in with former WBO light-heavyweight champ Michael Moorer in July of 1991.
Stewart, who really was a fighter who lived by the adage, kill or be killed, was willing to test Moorer, to welcome the Kronk fighter to the heavyweight division. And, boy did he ever do so.
Moorer, an absolute beast at 175 pounds, where he had never lost a round let alone a fight, had bulked up and won a couple of fights at heavyweight, but this was his first real test. Stewart had given Holyfield a nasty and torrid time of things in their 1989 battle, but he was coming off a quick wipe-out at the lethal and intimidating hands of Mike Tyson; Stewart having given an Oscar-winning portrayal of a deer frozen in the headlights in the 1990 fight.
But if Stewart could get going, if he could overcome the serious case of nerves he battled throughout his entire career, he could do damage, he could hurt anyone he hit (as Foreman would no doubt agree, this after the 1992 war he went through with Stewart).
Moorer, a southpaw who loved to inflict pain (Moorer once telling a 1990s boxing mag that he “craves violence”) got the chance to both give and take pain and hurt in the Stewart war. Opening up fast, Moorer was soon bleeding from the nose. Then, Stewart knocked Moorer back with a body shot. Moorer countered and he countered hard, his combinations, punctuated by a right uppercut to the chin, sending Stewart down. Stewart got up and now he too was bleeding, above his left eye. Moorer, tasting his foe’s blood, unleashed another bomb, this time a monster left hook to the head. Down went Stewart again, seemingly done for the night.
But Stewart, despite his lack of ability to relax when going into a fight, was never short on guts and courage. The fight raged on into round two, and Stewart, now flowing, landed some power shots of his own in the second session. Stewart struck with a right hand shot that had Moorer in bad shape, with him wobbling into the ropes. At the end of this, a torrid session, both fighters walked to the same corner, this being Moorer’s.
Round three saw more great action, of the two-way kind. Who would win this one? Moorer was either willing to stand and trade with Stewart, or perhaps he had been dragged into a fight that afforded him no choice. Moorer was now looking tired and Stewart was coming on. It was a fight in a phone booth and Stewart was testing Moorer’s midsection.
“Welcome to the heavyweight division, Michael Moorer,” HBO’s Larry Merchant said at the end of this round.
Moorer showed real heart himself in suddenly turning the fight back in his favour in round four. Moorer uncorked another right uppercut and Stewart was drained of all he had left, going down again, this time on his face. Yet amazingly, Stewart got up once again.
But this time, his face covered with blood, his other eye now pouring, Stewart was saved from any further punishment by the referee. One of the best heavyweight slugfests of the 1990s was over.
Sadly, Stewart passed away, far too young, in 2016. Moorer would go on to make history as the first southpaw heavyweight champion.
During this red-hot month back in 1991, Moorer and Stewart shared something special, in doing so giving us fans something that deserves to be remembered.