My name is John Reeves and I'm a boxing fan. Perhaps, even somewhat a historian of the sport. I have written articles for Bleacher Report, Fan IQ, and Rootzoo. When I was a kid I wanted to box. I'd watch all the fights that I possibly could. When I was a kid Tyson was the heavyweight champ and boxing was doing well. Boxing did well in the 1990's. The heavyweight division was absolutely loaded. I'm always tempted to place Lennox Lewis #1 all time on my list of greatest heavyweights, but then I just think of Ali in the late 60's and early 70's. The division was pretty damn good back then too. It's hard to put Lennox above Joe Louis and the division wasn't great at that time. Some experts have Louis over Ali. I don't see it that way at all, and if the two men had boxed each other in their prime Ali would have beaten him. I've always said Ali, Louis, and then Lewis, however Lennox is arguably better than both of them.
How Could Lennox Lewis be considered #1 All Time?
It's quite simple really. The guy cleaned out the division at a time when it was absolutely loaded with talent. Lennox Lewis beat every fighter that ever beat him. So that means he was able to defeat every fighter he ever faced. Keep in mind that when he was coming up the best fighters were avoiding him. That list includes Tyson, Holyfield, and Riddick Bowe. Both Tyson and Holyfield would fight him later down the road, but neither wanted any part of him when they were all young. Bowe threw his belts in the trash symbolizing he wouldn't fight the mandatory fight with Lewis.
Ali might have boxed in a time frame comparable to the 90's. Muhammad Ali beat two guys that nobody in the world thought he could defeat. He beat Sonny Liston in the beginning of his career and George Foreman late in his career. Twice he did what was thought to be impossible. If Ali was going to fight Lennox Lewis it would again seem impossible. I have Ali #1 all time in my list of greatest heavyweights, but I'm not convinced he could beat Lennox...and if he did could he do it again. Nobody else beat Lennox in a rematch. Ali always found a way to defeat his opponent, but physically he doesn't match up well against Lennox Lewis. One could argue that Lennox was the best ever.