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Lewis unifies titles with unanimous decision

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Posted: Monday November 15, 1999 03:05 PM

  Lennox Lewis prepares to counterpunch as Evander Holyfield moves in. AP

LAS VEGAS (AP) -- This time, it was unanimous for Lennox Lewis -- and undisputed.

Even Evander Holyfield didn't dispute it when all three judges voted for Lewis and made him the undisputed heavyweight champion. In the first fight, Holyfield complained that his performance was affected by leg cramps. There were no excuses this time.

The scoring by the judges was Chuck Giampa 116-112, Bill Graham 117-111 and Jerry Roth 115-113. The AP scored it for Lewis, 116-113.

The first six rounds were routine and drew some boos. The 6-5, 242-pound Lewis appeared to have a slight edge on the strength of his left jab and some right uppercuts.

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"This was a much better fight than we saw in the Garden [in their first fight in March]. Both guys gave it all they had, and what we had this time that we didn't have last time, is that both guys were hurt in this fight. You can't ask for more in a heavyweight fight. It wasn't a great fight, but in the seventh round clearly Lennox Lewis was on the verge of getting knocked out. In the ninth round it looked like Evander Holyfield was badly hurt. So given what happened it March, we'll take it."

-Steve Farhood, CNN/SI Boxing Analyst
 

Lewis opened the seventh round with several good shots to the head. Then the 6-2 1/2, 217-pound Holyfield brought the crowd to its feet by staggering Lewis with a left hook to the head with little more than a minute gone. Lewis reeled back and Holyfield pounced to the attack, and hurt him again with a right to the head with about a minute left. Holyfield followed with a hook and a left-right to the head. Then they went toe-to-toe the last 30 seconds.

Lewis was ahead after seven rounds on each of the official cards.

Lewis reestablished control in the eighth round, landing a good counter and several hard body shots.

He won the last five rounds on one card, four of five on another and three of five on the third.

Neither man was ever close to going down, but Lewis was cut over the right eye by a head butt in the fifth round.

"I was jabbing [in the early rounds] because he was coming in with his head," Lewis said.

 
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"It [the decision for Lewis] sure surprised me, because I had Evander Holyfield winning the fight by a point. A six-point win for Lennox Lewis seems almost as ridiculous as some of the scores that we had from the Garden. I don't think it was a one-sided fight. Will there be enough controversy to bring the fans to call for a third fight? It's very possible."

-Steve Farhood, CNN/SI Boxing Analyst

Referee Mitch Halpern warned Holyfield on at least three occasions about using his head.

Lewis became the first heavyweight to hold all three titles since Riddick Bowe took them from Holyfield on a 12-round decision in Las Vegas on Nov. 13, 1992. Holyfield had won the undisputed title by knocking out James "Buster" Douglas in the third round on Oct. 25, 1990.

Before the fight, Lewis had predicted it would be Holyfield's last hurrah.

It remains to be seen whether Holyfield, one of boxing's true warriors, will quit after his fourth defeat against 36 victories and a draw. He has scored 25 knockouts.

Lewis is 35-1-1 with 27 knockouts.

The purse for each fighter was $15 million for their pay-per-view rematch.


 
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