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
Arsenal vs Besiktas: Seven reasons why Arsenal could suffer a Champions League upset
Arsenal transfer news: Could Arsene Wenger move for Danny Welbeck, Loic Remy or Edinson Cavani after Olivier Giroud's injury?
Manchester United transfer news: Is Angel Di Maria really worth £59.7m?
MK Dons vs Manchester United League Cup match report: Louis van Gaal is humiliated after Jonny Evans' error sparks drubbing
Fernando Torres: Chelsea striker insisting on permanent AC Milan deal - reports
- 1 Rice Bucket Challenge: India's take on the Ice Bucket Challenge 'for Indian needs'
- 2 Pamela Anderson rejects ice bucket challenge because of ALS experiments on animals: 'Mice had holes drilled into their skulls'
- 3 ALS ice bucket challenge co-founder Corey Griffin drowns, aged 27
- 4 Rubble Bucket Challenge: Ice Bucket Challenge adapted in solidarity with Gazans whose homes have been destroyed in conflict
- 5 Car tax disc changes: Make sure you know the new rules from 1 October or risk £1,000 fine
Exclusive: We share blame for creating 'jihad generation', says Muslim strategist
Robin Williams Emmys tribute led by Billy Crystal criticised for including 'racist' joke about Muslim woman
The Rotherham child abuse scandal is a tale of apologists, misogyny and double standards
Scottish independence TV debate: Pumped-up Alex Salmond bounces back in bruising second round against Alistair Darling
Jeremy Clarkson is a cultural tumour and needs to be removed, says comedian Frankie Boyle
Air strikes? Talk of God? Barack Obama is following the jihadists’ script after James Foley beheading
Negotiable: Randstad Education Crawley: This independent Nursery is looking fo...
£500 - £550 Per Day: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: Our client are currently...
£50 - £55 per day: Randstad Education Cheshire: SEN TAWe are looking to recrui...
£40000 Per Annum dependent on experience: The Green Recruitment Company: They ...