BBC SPORT Arabic Spanish Russian Chinese
BBCi NEWS   SPORT   WEATHER   WORLD SERVICE   A-Z INDEX    SEARCH 

BBC Sport
 You are in: Boxing  
Sport Front Page
-------------------
Football
Cricket
Rugby Union
Rugby League
Tennis
Golf
Motorsport
Boxing
Statistics
Athletics
Other Sports
-------------------
Special Events
-------------------
Sports Talk
-------------------
BBC Pundits
TV & Radio
Question of Sport
-------------------
Photo Galleries
Funny Old Game
-------------------
Around The UK: 
N Ireland
Scotland
Wales

BBC Sport Academy
BBC News
BBC Weather
SERVICES
-------------
LANGUAGES
EDITIONS

Monday, 17 February, 2003, 17:35 GMT
Wilderness beckons for heavyweights

Lennox Lewis, WBC heavyweight champion
What will Lewis do next?
The idea that the heavyweight division is in turmoil is hardly a new one, but seldom has it been more true.

The man recognised as the real world champion, Lennox Lewis, is not scheduled to fight until the summer.

The man he wants to fight, Mike Tyson, is currently suffering from anything and everything and the status of his fight with Clifford Etienne on Saturday is uncertain.

Meanwhile, Roy Jones Jr could make the situation even more complicated if he beats John Ruiz, the WBA champion, and then vacates the title.

Tricky IBF champ Chris Byrd is seen as a man to avoid, while the Klitschko brothers, Wladimir and Vitali, are also a danger.

Believe it or not, it was just over three years ago that the division had an undisputed champion in Lewis.

The world got what it wanted last year when Lewis beat Tyson in the biggest heavyweight fight of the decade so far.

But it then emerged that the winner was contractually obliged to give the loser a re-match, despite the one-sided nature of the original bout.

Lewis believes that Tyson is the most lucrative option for him, but was relying on the former champ looking impressive in his comeback.

With Tyson's fight with Etienne in Memphis looking questionable, promoters and managers have to discuss other alternatives.

The most obvious one is for Lewis to take on either of the Klitschkos, with Vitali, the older and more ponderous, likely to get the first shot.

But heavyweight title fights take an eternity to sort out - so June might be the earliest we can expect Lewis to step into the ring.

By that time, Jones may have beaten Ruiz. And, although Jones is scheduled to fight Byrd in a unification tournament to find an opponent for Lewis, his intentions for the division are limited.

The light-heavyweight superstar has admitted that he does not wish to fight Lewis and will probably return to his normal weight division by the end of the year.

If either Byrd or Ruiz emerge victorious from the tournament, neither is likely to face Lewis, as the British fighter has turned them both down in the last three years.

All of which brings us back to Tyson.

The signs are not good. The splits inside his obscenely-large entourage are bigger than ever, with close friends like Jeff Fenech walking away after years of frustration.

Tyson's indifference to Saturday's contest suggests that his mental struggles continue to grow.

For the money men behind boxing, plans based around as unreliable a fighter as Tyson do not make good business sense.

See also:

25 Jan 02 | UK News
28 Jan 03 | Boxing
Internet links:


The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites

Links to more Boxing stories are at the foot of the page.


 E-mail this story to a friend

Links to more Boxing stories

© BBC ^^ Back to top

Sport Front Page | Football | Cricket | Rugby Union | Rugby League |
Tennis | Golf | Motorsport | Boxing | Athletics | Other Sports |
Special Events | Sports Talk | BBC Pundits | TV & Radio | Question of Sport |
Photo Galleries | Funny Old Game | N Ireland | Scotland | Wales