Boxing: Lewis wins another fight that wasn't
Sunday 13 July 1997
For the second fight in succession, the referee, Mills Lane, was forced to issue a disqualification when, in the fifth round and after points deductions and repeated warnings for holding, Akinwande, the challenger, was thrown out.
There was scant likelihood that Lewis and Akinwande, London-born 31-year- olds with reputations for caution and conservatism, would produce fireworks or controversy. But boxing shot itself in the foot again, even if the injury is not as damaging as when Tyson savaged Evander Holyfield.
Lewis, lighter than of late at 17st 4lb, started fast and Akinwande (16st 13.5lb), the 6ft 7in former World Boxing Organisation champion, was soon intimidated by the champion's power. He had no defence but to grab and maul. Referee Lane made his first point deduction from Akinwande as early as the second round. Akinwande's sole contribution, almost a telling one, was a right-hander in round three which forced Lewis to touch down with his right glove. But no count was given and Lewis continued to pile on the pressure. Several times Lane told Akinwande to clean up his act, but to no avail.
Once again, a Lewis victory is overshadowed. When he regained the WBC championship in March, the headlines centred on the astonishing manner of Oliver McCall's fifth-round capitulation - the psychologically troubled American refused to defend himself. And despite becoming the first man to beat Akinwande in 34 fights, Lewis's win now becomes meaningless.
"Boxing was looking at this fight to clean up its image," Lewis said. "I'm terribly disappointed. He obviously didn't want to fight. All he wanted to do is hold."
Were Lewis, now victorious in 31 of 32 fights, to go on to unify the heavyweight titles, the likelihood is that he would not be accepted as the world's leading heavyweight unless he could beat Tyson - banned for at least a year. Once more Lewis finds himself in a no-win situation.
Lewis, who earned around $2m, is on the wrong side of the promotional divide to figure in the biggest-money fights; his rival champions, like Akinwande (who received $1.2m) and Tyson, are promoted by the Don King-Frank Warren alliance. Lewis might well be the best heavyweight in the world, but proving it is a problem.
Latest in Sport
Manchester United's best XI of the season so far: No place for Angel Di Maria or Juan Mata
Which player sells the most shirts in the Premier League?
WrestleMania 31 results: Seth Rollins stuns WWE as he cashes in Money in the Bank contract to claim title from Brock Lesnar
Chelsea's best XI of the season so far: Petr Cech has been better than Thibaut Courtois
Chelsea's Eden Hazard, Arsenal's Mesut Ozil and Manchester City's Jesus Navas are the three best attacking midfielders in Europe in 2015
- 1 Replica Back to the Future Hoverboard released
- 2 Katie Hopkins attacked me on Twitter — so I reported her to the police for inciting racial hatred
- 3 Brixton squat flats now costing up to £3k per month show how out of control rent is in London
- 4 A new (old) cure for MRSA? Revolting recipe from the Dark Ages may be key to defeat infection
- 5 Gamers confess the worst things they've done in The Sims
Ukip supporters are 55 or older, white and socially conservative, finds British Social Attitudes Report
Street preacher quoting from the Bible fined for calling homosexuality an 'abomination'
Jeremy Clarkson sacked live: Alan Yentob 'wouldn't rule out' ex Top Gear host's BBC return
Woman filmed launching racist tirade against men on the Tube for speaking in 'own lingo'
The West has it totally wrong on Lee Kuan Yew
David Cameron calls Labour 'hopeless, sneering socialists' while announcing 7-day NHS plans
£35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Senior FF&E Project Co-ordinator is re...
£10 per hour: Recruitment Genius: A delightful, 11 year old boy who lives in t...
£20000 - £22000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An Office Furniture Installer /...
£25000 - £40000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is a fantastic opportunity...