Boxing: Lewis rumpus leaves only the shape of the ring undisputed

"MY BOY won the fight - and you know it," railed the mother of Lennox Lewis to his controversially unvanquished opponent Evander Holyfield, following their world heavyweight boxing title bout in New York. And boy, didn't everyone agree with her?

The scene may have brought the noble art down to the level of trailer- trash daytime TV confrontation, but few on either side of the Atlantic seemed to have any doubt that the redoubtable dame was right.

Boxing officials ordered a re-match for the drawn fight, headlines screamed of robbery, and the British sports minister pitched in. Commenting on the verdict of the one judge who gave the fight to Holyfield, Tony Banks told radio listeners: "Now we don't know why ... but quite clearly it was the wrong decision ... What fight was she actually watching?"

The trouble was that most of the British public being invited to join this "we woz robbed" debate hadn't seen any fight at all, and are unlikely to. Unless they were domestic cable or dish subscribers willing to pay between pounds 11.95 and pounds 16.95 for the fight, or had a friendly landlord willing and able to open to the early hours, the argument would be all sound and no fury.

And commentators who saw it in the flesh agreed with the eventual outcome. Not that you would think that by reading theheadlines. "STITCH- UP," screamed The Sun's front page, outlining allegations of a "CRIME OF CENTURY". Only after reading Colin Hart, the paper's boxing correspondent, was it revealed that he, too, had scored the fight as a draw. In the Daily Mail, under the headline "Robbery", the writer Jeff Powell had also "made it a draw".

In New York, The Independent's Richard Williams was another to agree with Larry O'Connell, the beleaguered British judge who gave both fighters 115 points and effectively held the contest's casting vote.

But all the fuss seemed to have had an effect on Mr O'Connell's perception yesterday. "Judged on the weight of opinion, I would say I was wrong," he conceded after arriving back at his home in Kent. "But I did what I thought was right at the time. I can't be any more honest than that".

Speculation was that a re-match was good news for the money men of the fight game, particularly Don King. But Mr O'Connell dismissed any suggestion that the fight may have been fixed as "absolute crap".

Undoubted winners have been the bookmakers. Punters normally back one fighter or the other, so the bookies have a very good day when nobody wins.

Even Ladbrokes, which gave the best odds for a draw of 40-1 and had to fork out pounds 20,000 to one punter, maintained that it was still the best result for them. Turnover across Britain for the fight would have been above pounds 1m, a spokesman said.

For William Hill, a spokesman said: "We couldn't have pre-ordained a better result."

Brave words indeed, under the circumstances.

Rematch ordered

page 26

Leading article

Review, page 3

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Guru Careers: Business Development Manager / Sales

£30 - 40k (£65k Y1 OTE Uncapped): Guru Careers: We are seeking a Business Deve...

Guru Careers: Graduate Media Assistant

Competitive (DOE): Guru Careers: We are looking for an ambitious and adaptable...

Guru Careers: Solutions Consultant

£30 - 40k (DOE) + Benefits: Guru Careers: We are seeking a Solutions Consultan...

Guru Careers: Software Developer

£30 - 35k + Benefits: Guru Careers: We are seeking a Software Developer (JavaS...

Day In a Page

Fishing for votes with Nigel Farage: The Ukip leader shows how he can work an audience as he casts his line to the disaffected of Grimsby

Fishing is on Nigel Farage's mind

Ukip leader casts a line to the disaffected
Who is bombing whom in the Middle East? It's amazing they don't all hit each other

Who is bombing whom in the Middle East?

Robert Fisk untangles the countries and factions
China's influence on fashion: At the top of the game both creatively and commercially

China's influence on fashion

At the top of the game both creatively and commercially
Lord O’Donnell: Former cabinet secretary on the election and life away from the levers of power

The man known as GOD has a reputation for getting the job done

Lord O'Donnell's three principles of rule
Rainbow shades: It's all bright on the night

Rainbow shades

It's all bright on the night
'It was first time I had ever tasted chocolate. I kept a piece, and when Amsterdam was liberated, I gave it to the first Allied soldier I saw'

Bread from heaven

Dutch survivors thank RAF for World War II drop that saved millions
Britain will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power - Labour

How 'the Axe' helped Labour

UK will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power
Rare and exclusive video shows the horrific price paid by activists for challenging the rule of jihadist extremists in Syria

The price to be paid for challenging the rule of extremists

A revolution now 'consuming its own children'
Welcome to the world of Megagames

Welcome to the world of Megagames

300 players take part in Watch the Skies! board game in London
'Nymphomaniac' actress reveals what it was really like to star in one of the most explicit films ever

Charlotte Gainsbourg on 'Nymphomaniac'

Starring in one of the most explicit films ever
Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi: The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers

Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi

The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers
Vince Cable interview: Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'

Vince Cable exclusive interview

Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'
Iwan Rheon interview: Game of Thrones star returns to his Welsh roots to record debut album

Iwan Rheon is returning to his Welsh roots

Rheon is best known for his role as the Bastard of Bolton. It's gruelling playing a sadistic torturer, he tells Craig McLean, but it hasn't stopped him recording an album of Welsh psychedelia
Morne Hardenberg interview: Cameraman for BBC's upcoming show Shark on filming the ocean's most dangerous predator

It's time for my close-up

Meet the man who films great whites for a living
Increasing numbers of homeless people in America keep their mobile phones on the streets

Homeless people keep mobile phones

A homeless person with a smartphone is a common sight in the US. And that's creating a network where the 'hobo' community can share information - and fight stigma - like never before