Even imaginary fights are enough to give enthusiasts fits. When you are arguing about boxing, the first thing you do is pick apart the other guy.
One of the knocks on Lennox Lewis is that some of his career wins are suspect. By the time Tyson-Lewis happened, Mike was on the downside. Lennox's victory over Klitchsko was stopped because of cuts, in a fight that many believed the Russian would win. He turned down a reported $20 million for a rematch, retiring instead. The books only say that Lewis won, and the fact that he beat a younger fighter like Klitchsko, who was just as powerful and tactical, is a tick in the positive column.
As for Ali, his critics believe that time has made him seem more invincible than he really was. Film reveals some flaws in his technique, like his occasional half-hearted glove position after jabs. Ali did encounter trouble against quick, strong fighters who kept him close, like Joe Frazier.
The fists that punished other big men, including Foreman and Frazier, are still at work, swift as ever. Lewis backpedals, brushes the ropes, and sits down. One boot rises as he half-rolls on his back, and the photos of that instant become the collective image of the fight. He rises at the count of five, but doesn't respond to the referee's satisfaction. The fight is stopped by way of technical knockout(TKO).
It became obvious that Ali is too quick and strong for Lewis--a combo that the Brit cannot solve tonight. In the end, it is Muhammad Ali's night. Lennox's jab posed no difficulty for him, and Ali was simply lighter on his feet. He faced a few men of Lennox's size and intelligence, and almost always beat them. But Lewis never boxed such a combination of strength, intelligence, and grace.
Much was made of the strength of Lewis, who is almost thirty pounds heavier, but it is now clear that Ali's power was underrated. True punching power isn't just about physicality--it is timing and accuracy. Muhammad Ali may have been the best ever at picking his spots. No rope-a-dope needed.