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Lewis Cuts Out of Town - Keeps Heavyweight Belts

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A heavier Lennox Lewis benefits by the rules of boxing and is declared victorious over Vitaly Klitschko at Staples Center in Los Angeles.

Los Angeles

By Jon D. Gaede
BVN Staff

It has been 44 years since the city of Los Angeles staged a heavyweight championship boxing match.

On August 18, 1958 Floyd Patterson defended his heavyweight championship title against Roy Harris. Dwight Eisenhower was the president, the Rams had just sent quarterback Norm Van Brocklin to Philadelphia, the Dodgers were playing their first season in Los Angeles and the price of gasoline was .20 cents a gallon.

Roy Harris, who lost to Floyd Patterson, was on hand Saturday night to watch the spectacle of a modern day heavyweight in battle for the crown. In this case, two crowns. Lennox Lewis defending his IBO (International Boxing Organization) and WBC (World Boxing Council) titles. On this night, challenger, Vitaly Klitschko matched Lewis’ size and demonstrated tremendous courage. The tale of the tape listed Lewis at 6’5”, 256 lbs. and an 84” reach. Klitschko, the European, lists a bit taller at 6’7”, a bit lighter at 248 lbs. and a bit shorter with a 78” reach.

The intrigue of the match-up would pit a Lewis opponent who would certainly match his rangy size and potentially give the fans in Los Angeles and the national audience on HBO a “rockum/sockum robot” evening of entertainment. More often than not, the paper match-up doesn’t live up to the hype, however, on this night, everyone got what they wanted, accept for Vitaly Klitschko.

Lewis started slow, as he usually does. Klitschko took advantage of this by tagging the champion with successive blows to the head and scoring points. Klitschko, who came in at 32-2 and 31 KO’s was very successful with his jab and snappy right hands. Lewis, 41-2 and 32 knockouts was heavier than he has ever been and a bit slow to react to the Ukranian’s accurate aggression. The first round went to Klitschko and the second round, Klitschko’s best, was more of the same. Lewis was again, slow to react to crisp rights from the challenger that found their way through the raised gloves of the champion and scored repeatedly. During the second round, Klitschko probably had his best chance to take Lewis out. Lewis did manage to stay on his feet and survive the round.

The challenger must live with the fate of round three. In that round, Klitschko sustained a massive cut to the left eye that would eventually favor Lewis, as the fight would be halted after six. According to the rules of boxing, the champion retains the title if the challenger cannot continue. Ironically, the judges had Klitshko ahead on the scoring cards. Klitschko won the crowd and probably the fight in the ring but not the belts. Lewis, who probably didn’t need to prove anything before coming to Los Angeles, will most likely fight Klitschko again.

On the under-card, Laila Ali (daughter of Muhammad) stopped challenger Valerie Mahfood in six rounds. She once again showed that her rangy skills, size, reach and quickness are too much for her opponents. It was a great night for boxing and one can only hope that it won’t be another 44 years before a legitimate heavyweight championship is fought in the “city of the angels.”

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