“I am“It was funny,” says Lennox Lewis, “because I was going out with my son, Landon, and people were raising their fists and shouting for my name. He was so confused and frightened. He was saying, ‘Why are these people raising their fists as if they were fighting you?”
Landon Lewis is now 16 and he and his sisters understand why strangers keep waving their fists and yelling at their father with respect. The undisputed former world heavyweight champion’s son is interested in boxing and Lewis expresses his pride when he described his children’s reaction to New documentary film about him. “They like it. They see me with Nelson Mandela and Muhammad Ali and it was narrated by Dr. Dre, which means a lot.”
Dr. Dre, the great rap artist, was at his wise peak during the 1990s when Lewis was also at his best. It was Louis’ last two battles and their victories Against Mike Tyson in June 2002 And the A year later, Vitali Klitschko – showing how different eras of heavyweight boxing linked. After he made his name by stopping US arch-rival Riddick Bowie in the 1988 Olympic super heavyweight final to win the gold medal for Canada, Lewis returned to his hometown Britain, to start his career.
Lewis has always been a smart and unique guy, so it was fitting that, even while stalking Don King, Bob Arum and every other major promoter in the world, he caught up with the little London man but loudly at Frank Maloney – contrast that big shots of American boxing. We’ll finally learn about the extent of this disparity when Frank, a middle-aged father of three, chose to change the gender and became Kelly Maloney in 2015.
Maloney Features in the documentary As Lewis’ mother and wife, both named Violet, do along with his tight-knit squad. Inevitably, attention is drawn to Lewis’ interaction with Tyson. The closing scenes, when Tyson praises eloquence and tenderness to the man who defeated him, move on. They are the opposite Archive footage that appears to echo the installation through the film As the deranged Tyson jokes: “Lennox Lewis, I am coming for you… I am the most brutal, brutal and brutal hero ever. Lennox is the conqueror? No. I am Alexander. He is not Alexander. I am the best ever… My style is reckless, my defense is invincible and I am Just fierce. I want your heart. I want to eat his children. “
Louis is laughing. “When he said he’s coming for me, I’m like: ‘He’s coming for me? he’s crazy. Does he not realize that I am coming for him? When he said he was going to eat my kids, my mom said, “What is he talking about? You have no children. I’m not interested in this vulgar talk about prison.”
Has Lewis ever felt afraid of Tyson? “Yes and No. Yes, because TV made him look like King Kong. But no, because Mane [Lewis’s legendary trainer Emanuel Steward] Always tell me Tyson will be my easiest fight. I used to say: Come now. It will be a little tricky. But Mane said: No. It’s your easiest fight. “
Lewis was much older than Tyson. He could also count on his technical prowess and steadfast temperament to defeat Tyson by pausing in the eighth round that shattered the Iron Mike legend once and for all. Was it as easy as Mane promised? Lewis is laughing. “No.”
There was a misconception that Lewis, because he played chess instead of throwing rubbish talk, was not as difficult as his American counterparts Tyson, Bo, and Evander Holyfield. His complex British and Canadian pasts were also misleading because it indicates that he had not withstood the adversities endured by the heavyweights of America. But Louis lost his mother for five years at a crucial point in his young life and only known his father in passing.
There is evocative material in the documentary about Lewis’ early years in East London, when his mother had to leave him to make a living in Canada. He slipped into a troubled existence until his mother finally managed to bring him to Canada – where he soon discovered boxing. He was nurtured by his first coach, Show Me Boom, which Lewis still talks about warmly.
“Show me he’s the first man to see my talent and he also saw a little kid who could help him out of the ring. He took care of the kids. He was one of those guys who had 15 kids in his car and we’d travel three hours to the tournament.”
He also escorted Bom Lewis to the Catskills so he could compete with Tyson who was a year younger than him and was 15 years old. Did Bohem know the famous Tyson coach Cos Damato? “No. They met the first time after that and got along wonderfully. They had the same kind of love of boxing and taking care of us as kids. It was an important visit because I wanted to learn my profession and become a mortar specialist.”
Did he have an affinity with Tyson when they were both teenagers? “I like him. We got to know each other so well. We talked, we got down to town, we went dancing together. He was gigantic because while training at Catskills you were watching him knock people off easily. I thought he was cool. When it was time I knew we were going to meet in the ring.” I wanted to know if what Cus had said would materialize. “
Damato expected Tyson and Lewis to become world champions and to fight each other. “I felt it, too,” says Lewis.
Seems fitting that last Saturday night, while Tyson climbed into the ring again in a pointless show against Roy Jones Jr., Lewis was on the smart side of the ropes, presenting the analysis to TV. When we first spoke last week, Lewis was somewhat amused by the prospect of two great heroes pulling gloves in their 50s. When I praised him for resisting all the siren calls to return to the ring, Lewis joked, “I’m facing the winner.”
The Night Line belongs to Snoop Dogg Dog, Dr. Dre’s old friend, who helped caption: “This shit is like two of my uncles quarreling on a barbecue.”
When we spoke again on Sunday night Lewis laughed long and hard: “I think my friend Snoop summed it up better. But what caught my eye was that my son was really happy he’s back in the era of boxing. He had a chance to see a guy I was surrounding. So I was happy from As far as performance goes, it was null at an age that gives us a little bit of the past. “
Lewis’ fame increased over time. When he was world champion, Frank Bruno was preferred by many British fans. The Canadians felt Louis pulled out of them while the United States couldn’t understand a man of subtle charisma. However, Lewis is one of three World Heavyweight Champions, along with Rocky Marciano and Muhammad Ali, who defeated every player he encountered in the ring. Only Jane Toni, Marciano and Lewis finally retired as World Heavyweight Champion. It belongs to a strong company.
Louis won 41 of his 44 fights. A solo draw, against Holyfield in March 1999, was widely accepted as a farce and won a rematch in Las Vegas later that year. Guilty of complacency, Lewis was caught with brilliant punches, in his lonely defeats, against Oliver McCall and Hasim Rahman in 2001. He expelled both men when they fought again.
Lewis’ defeats had shocking results, but there were reparations. After losing to McCall, he appointed Steward as his head coach and improved significantly. He lost to Rahman in South Africa, with the support of Mandela, the boxing connoisseur who admired Lewis. “As soon as I met him he said, ‘Don’t worry. I grabbed you with a lucky punch. All you have to do is run the jab again. You will defeat him next time.
“I spent the whole day talking to him in Soweto. I heard stories when wrongdoers used to come to his house and try to poison my milk. He taught me a lot of history. I remember they said,“ President Mandela, we must go out, the press is waiting for you. ”So you got up and cleared the way for him. He pushed me out of the house in front of him. Everyone looks at me and says, “This is not Mandela.” I thought that was cool – seeing his cheerful side.
Ali, Louis’ other great hero, also spent time with him. “He would ask me questions and talk to me,” says Lewis. “For me, being with him, talking to him over a meal, was something special. He once said, ‘I was the greatest. But now you are the greatest. I said,’ No, you will always be the greatest.” He just smiled at me.
Was Louis surprised five years ago when he heard that Frank Maloney was about to reappear as Kelly? “I was a little shocked. At first I couldn’t understand it when I thought about his age. I was like, ‘This is a very big step.’ But I supported Kelly because I think it’s your life.”
Lewis always kept his core private, and so, by sticking to his principles and having good people around him, he avoided the unfortunate accidents and accompanying mental health problems that affected many of his contemporaries including Bruno, Tyson and McCall. Still jubilant and instead of claiming his era was ahead of the one now dominated by Tyson Fury and Anthony Joshua Lewis he says, “I’m a fan of heavyweight boxing. In the last couple of fights Tyson [Fury] Show a lot about him [against Deontay Wilder]. Adapt to what happened in the first battle [when Fury had to settle for a draw after getting up from a heavy knockdown] “I’ll fight differently and get it out,” he said. The fact that he did exactly that Shows good manners. “
Who does Lewis think will win the planned battle between Fury and Joshua next year? “They both have the potential to win, but Fury goes there with a lot of assets.”
The youngest of Louis’s three daughters was born with her Trisomy 18It is a rare and serious condition that affects growth and development. It wasn’t easy but Lewis stayed positive. “She’s doing a good job,” he says of his daughter. He’s also philosophical about luring his son into boxing. “He’s been in all of the Lennox Lewis Champions League camps in Canada and Jamaica. So he’s interested in boxing – but also in music, basketball and football. If he becomes anything, he’ll be a boxer. I feel good, because he’s already got it in his DNA.”
Landon Lewis, like his father, will make his decision himself. But is Lewis, 55, still missing the boxing intensity? “No, but I remember it. I make a lot of comments and when I hear the crowd roar, it looks like this: ‘Yes it was for me once. I remember it.’ But I don’t need it. “
Lennox: The Untold Story is now on DVD and digital, watch it at www.lennox.film
“Extreme organizer. Problem solver. Passionate web buff. Internet expert. Devoted travel nerd. Professional troublemaker.”