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EDITIONS
lewis vs holyfield Sunday, 14 March, 1999, 23:55 GMT
Yes, he was robbed - Your reaction
Not the face of a champion: Holyfield appears battered
BBC News Online readers have almost unanimously agreed with Lennox Lewis that he was "robbed" of the undisputed heavyweight championship of the world in his unification bout with Evander Holyfield on Saturday night.

Lewis vs Holyfield
Staunch American Holyfield fans, die-hard British Lewis supporters and impartial readers alike wrote in to give their views on the highly controversial draw at Madison Square Garden, New York.

Coming in for particular criticism were the three scoring judges, Holyfield and the sport of boxing as a whole.

Lewis and King at post-match press conference
Lewis with promoter Don King: Rematch promised
But Lewis did not escape, with several readers faulting him for not stamping his authority more firmly on the bout.

That said, a majority of readers were in favour of a rematch - possibly on British soil - while others decided that the controversy had put them off boxing for good.

George Davis, from Holyfield's home town in the US, wrote: "Was Lewis robbed? Was he ever. Unfortunately, I must say I'm disgusted with the entire sport of boxing after this decision.

"Hats off to Lewis for fighting an incredible fight - and, in my opinion, for showing Holyfield what it means to be a true champion."

Lewis jabs at Holyfield
Holyfield takes more punishment
Adam Sheppard, also from the US, described it as "the worst decision in boxing history", while Philip Johnson of the UK, said: "Fight statistics don't hold bias - they just show the winner."

American Alistair Budd also awarded the fight to Lewis while suggesting the judges were not 100% impartial.

"The American judge was obviously influenced by the fact that the US media would not have welcomed a victory by the British boxer," he wrote.

Of the three judges, the American gave the fight to Holyfield, the neutral South African judge gave it to Lewis and the British judge called it a draw - a decision described as "too fair" by one reader.

US boxing judge Eugenia Williams
US judge Eugenia Williams: Went for Holyfield
Chris Salmon, UK, was more scathing: "The only two people in the whole world who thought Holyfield got something out of the fight were two of the people who judged it. Unbelievable."

Paul Rigg, UK, said: "Yes, but why not have 3 neutral judges?"

Writing from India, Rishi Prasad saved his criticism for the American fighter: "Lewis is the champion. Holyfield in the ring looked like the father of the champion."

Benmira, US, also felt the fight had done the American little good: "I think Holyfield has been humiliated by this embarassing decision."

'Lewis never hurt Holyfield'

But the British hope did not receive the full backing of everyone. Daryl Penny, UK, wrote: "Lennox Lewis didn't take full advantage of the chances he had to take Holyfield down."

Tom Glenn, US, said: "Lewis never hurt Holyfield, he just jabbed away and didn't come up with anything else."

He also defended the judges, adding: "At the end of the day you have to abide by the judges' decision. If you don't like it then get out of the game."

British readers were generally in favour of a rematch in the UK, while Alistair Budd, US, said: "There's no real need for a rematch - everyone knows Lennox deserves the title of undisputed heavyweight champion of the world."

'Ban boxing'

Chris Salmon, UK, agreed, calling for "an authority that over-rules [the decision] and gives Lewis the result."

From Canada, Sonny Athwal said the whole episode had put him off the sport completely.

"I'm absolutely disgusted. I feel sorry for Lewis. It's the last boxing match I'll ever watch."

Charlotte Harris, UK, went further by questioning the legitimacy of boxing.

"It's a barbaric sport anyway. I'm just glad that neither boxer got seriously hurt. The sooner boxing is banned the better," she wrote.

See also:

09 Mar 99 | lewis vs holyfield
14 Mar 99 | lewis vs holyfield
09 Mar 99 | lewis vs holyfield
14 Mar 99 | lewis vs holyfield
14 Mar 99 | lewis vs holyfield
14 Mar 99 | lewis vs holyfield
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