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Sunday, 9 June, 2002, 10:49 GMT 11:49 UK
Lewis shines on a magic night
Mike Tyson pays tribute to Lennox Lewis after the fight
Mike Tyson pays tribute to Lennox Lewis after the fight
BBC Sport Online's Sanjeev Shetty

The Hollywood stars were in attendance and Lennox Lewis acted the part of hero to perfection.

In front of an audience that included Denzel Washington, Halle Berry and Samuel L Jackson, Lewis proved beyond a shadow of doubt that he is the best heavyweight of this era.

When people talk about boxing nights that transcend the sport, they inevitably refer to the first Joe Frazier-Muhammad Ali fight in 1971.

That was an epic collision in New York, the spiritual home of boxing, where the rich and the famous sat ringside as Ali and Frazier duked it out.

Samuel L Jackson leads the celebrity cavalcade at the fight
Samuel L Jackson: The stars were out in force
The Lewis-Mike Tyson fight could not compare, because it was essentially a one-sided battering, while Frazier-Ali was a fight that was in the balance until the end.

But the staging of this bout in Memphis, in front of a pro-Tyson crowd, was enough to make the spine shiver.

The atmosphere in the arena as the former champion walked to the ring was simply sensational.

It was also cruelly ironic - Tyson was offered the love of the mostly Memphis crowd before taking the most humiliating beating of his career.

For the last six years, he has found himself reviled and disparaged by most of America, with every transgression in and out of the ring adding to the image of an unpleasant human being.

During that period, people took every opportunity to say that Tyson was still the most dangerous gloved man in the world.

But on this humid night in Memphis, the full dissipation of his talents became apparent.

Bereft of skill, strategy and speed, Tyson was forced to show that the one attribute he still has is his chin.

But back to Lewis, who could not have been more devastating, powerful, authoritative and decisive.

He had talked for some time that Tyson was very much part of his agenda and that it was a fight he craved.

On the evidence presented here in Memphis, Lewis wanted this fight more than any other in his career.

After such a momentous week, the image that will linger longest in the mind is this.

Tyson flat on his back, beaten, marked and bloodied, a shell of the man who once ruled the heavyweight division.

 WATCH/LISTEN
 ON THIS STORY
Film star Denzel Washington
"The best man won"
A look at the Lennox Lewis-Mike Tyson fight

Lewis stuns Tyson

Our man in Memphis

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