This caution, picked up from James Bond films or somewhere else, obscures traits that are more celebrated among other heavyweight boxers than they are in Lewis. Unnoticed is the fact that he's a determined worker, a lifelong worker. Friends from high school remember that every day after practice for whatever sport was in season, Lewis—who started boxing when he was 12 because kids continually made fun of his British accent—always marched straight to the gym, to spar, to punch the bag, to skip rope. Also, like Holyfield, he is childishly competitive. Holyfield's camp remembers going bowling with the fighter and not being allowed to return until Holyfield won. Similarly, Lewis's friends are never stunned when, in the midst of losing a chess match, he rises and accidentally upsets the board.
For all those qualities, however, there is not in Lewis the usual heavyweight recklessness. There isn't that certain kind of foolhardiness that, with big men in a small space, sometimes causes spectacle. There isn't that wild and senseless conflagration of spirit that generates history, or at the very least a great fight. Lewis might never produce that. He may be too smart to produce that. He will win, because he hates to lose. But he won't give anyone any more than is necessary to do just that. The rest he keeps to himself, selfish beyond regret, safe in his own skin.