Judges `rob' Lewis of world title

THERE WERE calls for Lennox Lewis to be awarded an instant rematch against Evander Holyfield after the fight between the two world heavyweight champions at Madison Square Garden on Saturday night ended in a controversial draw. Lewis, who had waited 10 years for his chance to win the undisputed title, will now have to wait a little longer to rectify what he and his camp see as a serious injustice.

Not many of the 21,284 people packing the Garden thought that the British- born fighter had failed to beat Holyfield on points over 12 rounds. But the dissident minority included one of the three judges, while another felt unable to decide in favour of either man. The split decision left both boxers holding on to their respective titles, but was received with widespread booing in the hall.

Many Americans, including newspaper and television commentators, shared the outrage of the 7,000-strong British contingent. "Robbery!" screamed the front-page headline in the New York Post a few hours later. "Robbed!" agreed the Daily News. "A heist," suggested the New York Times.

Lewis started the fight strongly and held Holyfield at bay during the later stages. "The whole world could see for itself what happened," he said. "This was highway robbery. I call for an automatic rematch next month. But I doubt if he's going to want to fight me again. He looked like an old man in there."

Holyfield, clearly the more bruised and exhausted of the two, admitted his luck, in his own devout fashion. "I go in with God and I come out with God," he said. "Usually the decisions don't go my way. I had a blessed day today, thank the Lord. Lewis really shone. He proved he was tough and that he's good for the game of boxing. In six months, if he wants to get it on, let's get it on. It's no problem with me."

Blame was levelled at the British judge, Larry O'Connell, a Kent engraver who scored the fight even, and at Jean Williams, the US judge, who gave the fight to Holyfield. But there were dark mutterings of the sort that tend to accompany any fight promoted by the flamboyant Don King, to whom a Lewis victory would have meant the end of his grip on the heavyweight division.

Among the more predictably extreme reactions was that of Frank Maloney, Lewis's manager. "If I was Tony Blair," he said, "I'd cut off all diplomatic relations with the United States. It's an absolute con."

Tony Banks, the Sports minister, added: "It was a bad night for boxing. The judging appears to have been bizarre and the result gives rise to the thought that it was more about business than sport. We need a rematch and it should be in this country."

Other boxers were quick to support Lewis. Frank Bruno, the last Briton to fight for the undisputed title, described it as "the most disgusting decision I've ever seen in a boxing ring; Lennox made the fight look easy". Chris Eubank called it "a travesty of justice".

Full story, Sport Section

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

Recruitment Genius: Junior Web Designer - Client Liaison

£6 per hour: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity to join a gro...

Recruitment Genius: Service Delivery Manager

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: A Service Delivery Manager is required to join...

Recruitment Genius: Massage Therapist / Sports Therapist

£12000 - £24000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A opportunity has arisen for a ...

Ashdown Group: Practice Accountant - Bournemouth - £38,000

£32000 - £38000 per annum: Ashdown Group: A successful accountancy practice in...

Day In a Page

The Last Word: Justin Gatlin knows the price of everything, the value of nothing

Michael Calvin's Last Word

Justin Gatlin knows the price of everything, the value of nothing
The saffron censorship that governs India: Why national pride and religious sentiment trump freedom of expression

The saffron censorship that governs India

Zareer Masani reveals why national pride and religious sentiment trump freedom of expression
Prince Charles' 'black spider' letters to be published 'within weeks'

Prince Charles' 'black spider' letters to be published 'within weeks'

Supreme Court rules Dominic Grieve's ministerial veto was invalid
Distressed Zayn Malik fans are cutting themselves - how did fandom get so dark?

How did fandom get so dark?

Grief over Zayn Malik's exit from One Direction seemed amusing until stories of mass 'cutting' emerged. Experts tell Gillian Orr the distress is real, and the girls need support
The galaxy collisions that shed light on unseen parallel Universe

The cosmic collisions that have shed light on unseen parallel Universe

Dark matter study gives scientists insight into mystery of space
The Swedes are adding a gender-neutral pronoun to their dictionary

Swedes introduce gender-neutral pronoun

Why, asks Simon Usborne, must English still struggle awkwardly with the likes of 's/he' and 'they'?
Disney's mega money-making formula: 'Human' remakes of cartoon classics are part of a lucrative, long-term creative plan

Disney's mega money-making formula

'Human' remakes of cartoon classics are part of a lucrative, long-term creative plan
Lobster has gone mainstream with supermarket bargains for £10 or less - but is it any good?

Lobster has gone mainstream

Anthea Gerrie, raised on meaty specimens from the waters around Maine, reveals how to cook up an affordable feast
Easter 2015: 14 best decorations

14 best Easter decorations

Get into the Easter spirit with our pick of accessories, ornaments and tableware
Paul Scholes column: Gareth Bale would be a perfect fit at Manchester United and could turn them into serious title contenders next season

Paul Scholes column

Gareth Bale would be a perfect fit at Manchester United and could turn them into serious title contenders next season
Inside the Kansas greenhouses where Monsanto is 'playing God' with the future of the planet

The future of GM

The greenhouses where Monsanto 'plays God' with the future of the planet
Britain's mild winters could be numbered: why global warming is leaving UK chillier

Britain's mild winters could be numbered

Gulf Stream is slowing down faster than ever, scientists say
Government gives £250,000 to Independent appeal

Government gives £250,000 to Independent appeal

Donation brings total raised by Homeless Veterans campaign to at least £1.25m
Oh dear, the most borrowed book at Bank of England library doesn't inspire confidence

The most borrowed book at Bank of England library? Oh dear

The book's fifth edition is used for Edexcel exams
Cowslips vs honeysuckle: The hunt for the UK’s favourite wildflower

Cowslips vs honeysuckle

It's the hunt for UK’s favourite wildflower