4. Evander Holyfield and Lennox Lewis draw
March 13, 1999
Madison Square Garden; New York, New York
In a heavyweight unification bout, the British Lewis and American Holyfield put their respective titles on the line, though both came out of the fight with their belts. It shouldn’t have gone that way, though, because Lewis entered the ring with a solid gameplan built around his jab and dominated the one-sided affair.
Lewis landed 348 punches out of 613 with Holyfield landing just 130 out of 386. Aside from a huge edge of 218 punches landed, Lewis almost matched Holyfield’s number of total punches thrown. It was a dominant performance for Lewis, but was sent to a draw after an American judge, Eugenia Williams, scored it an improbable 115-113 for Holyfield while claiming that she saw Lewis land less punches than Holyfield.
Lewis’ manager called the result a disgrace and urged the fighter to retire while his trainer, close to tears, claimed that it was decisions like this are what’s killing the sport. But Lewis and Holyfield had a rematch eight months later, which Lewis won in a unanimous decision to earn some redemption.
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