Boxing: Questions remain for Lewis

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LENNOX LEWIS was detained for little more than 10 minutes in Atlantic City in the early hours of yesterday morning on his way to a possible world heavyweight title fight, but despite his fourth-round win over Mike Dixon at Harrah's Casino, the smart money is on Razor Ruddock to halt his progress in their final eliminator on 31 October at Earl's Court.

On the surface, Lewis was completely dominant in the 21st victory of his career, scoring at will against a boxer he outweighed by nearly two stones. But the man Lewis beat in the 1988 Olympic super-heavyweight final, Riddick Bowe, who fights Evander Holyfield in November, was not impressed.

'Lewis doesn't have the experience to fight Ruddock,' Bowe said after the fight. 'He's wide open to the left hook and he'll be huffing and puffing after five rounds. He isn't up to par and can't stand pressure and I think Ruddock realises that too.'

It was Dixon's fifth consecutive defeat, taking his record to 10-6, and Bowe said: 'Lewis should have knocked Dixon cold and didn't. Ruddock is the more seasoned athlete, and if he hits him with the left hand, smash - goodnight.'

The fact that Lewis, who is 27 next month, could not put Dixon down placed a question mark against his punching power at this level, Bowe said, though he added: 'I'm not taking anything away from Lennox. He's young, he's hungry and there's a great prize out there at the end of the rainbow which we both want.'

The thumping left jab of Lewis, a rarity in recent fights, was in full working order in the first round and a half, repeatedly finding Dixon's face. Only raw courage kept the Tennessee fighter going through the first three rounds.

A blow around the back of the head sent Dixon reeling in the fourth and, after the formality of a standing eight count, the referee, Rudy Battle, stopped the contest after 62 seconds of the round.

Lewis was predictably more positive. 'I've definitely put some apprehension into Ruddock,' he said. 'Razor saw those right hands landing on Dixon. They must have left an impression. I was relaxed, concentrated on my boxing and doing what comes naturally. I'm glad Razor, came, I showed him I'm not going to be easy to fight - my style can change at any given moment.'

Like Bowe, Ruddock was ringside, and he was similarly unimpressed. 'I learned something,' he said. 'I literally want to take him out. I've been in with Mike Tyson twice, Michael Dokes, you think I'm going to worry about this guy? Be realistic here guys.'

A few hours after the fight Lewis learned that he had lost the services of Roger Levitt, who became Lewis's commercial manager shortly after the well-publicised fall of his financial services group in December, 1990.

'Due to family illness and personal commitments, I regretfully have to take a back seat and step down in my involvement with Lennox in running his commercial affairs,' Levitt said. 'My family and I wish him every success in winning the world title.'

Before his company folded it was Levitt's backing, with a generous sponsorship package, which tempted the East End-born Lewis back to Britain to turn professional after winning gold in Seoul.