MEMPHIS, Tennessee, AP
Lennox Lewis showed the bully who was boss.
Using a masterful left jab and landing his right hand at will, Lewis battered a befuddled Mike Tyson before stopping him with a crashing right hand in the eighth round to keep his heavyweight titles Saturday night.
Tyson was bleeding from cuts over both his eyes and from his nose when Lewis landed a punch that sent him sprawling on his back in Lewis’ corner. Tyson tried to stand up at the count of eight, getting to one knee, but he was counted out by referee Eddie Cotton at 205 of the round.
“Some of the punches he took, I was shocked,” Lewis said. “I felt them right through to my hand.”
It was a sudden end to a dominating performance by Lewis, who overwhelmed the former champion from the opening bell at the Pyramid Arena.
“There’s no way I could ever beat him,” Tyson said. “He’s just too big and too strong.”
Lewis, the IBF and WBC champion, had vowed to beat Tyson to restore order to the heavyweight division. He pounded him with jabs from the first round on, keeping Tyson away and out of range. When Tyson did get close, Lewis hit him with a right uppercut or an overhand right.
“I wanted to prove I was the best fighter in the world,” Lewis said. “Nobody gets away from my jab.”
Tyson certainly didn’t. He was exposed as a fighter with limited skills who kept trying to throw punches at the champion but connected only occasionally. Tyson kept trying to rush in and land a big punch, but he never hurt Lewis with any of them.
The sight of Tyson being so thoroughly dominated was almost as shocking as his behavior afterward, when he tenderly wiped the blood off of Lewis’ cheek as the two answered questions.
“He’s a magnificent, a prolific fighter, and he should continue fighting,” Tyson said. “I love him and respect him too much to do something to him.”
Early in the eighth round, Tyson was already bleeding when Lewis hit him with a series of punches that buckled his legs and nearly put him down. Cotton ruled it a knockdown and gave Tyson an 8-count.
When the fight resumed, Lewis went after Tyson again, throwing right hands and jabs before finally connecting with a huge right hand that crashed into the side of Tyson’s face, sending him sprawling on his back.
Tyson had gone into the ring an underdog for the first time in his career, and it was quickly apparent why.
He had said he would “crush” Lewis’ skull, but Lewis made him look like an amateur, dominating inside and out with his jab and big right hands.
Punch Stats showed Lewis threw 328 punches and landed 193 of them, while Tyson threw 211 and landed only 49.
Officials had worried so much about Tyson fouling Lewis that there was a contract clause that a fighter who committed a vicious foul had to pay the other US$3 million if the fight ended because of it. In 1997, Tyson was disqualified for biting Evander Holyfield on both ears in a title fight.
Once the fight started, though, it was Lewis who was warned by Cotton for elbowing, pushing and holding. Cotton took a point away from Lewis in the fourth round for holding.
The three ringside judges gave Tyson only the first round, while The Associated Press had Lewis winning every round.
Lewis, who said he needed to beat Tyson to cement his legacy as a great heavyweight, not only did just that, but looked very impressive in the process.
At 6-foot-5 (195 centimeters), 249 pounds (113 kilograms), he was bigger, faster and stronger than the 5-11 (180-centimeter) Tyson, who weighed 234 (106 kilograms). Pacquiao stops Julio to keep IBF junior featherweight crown Manny Pacquiao of the Philippines defended his International Boxing Federation junior featherweight title by stopping former world bantamweight champion Jorge Julio of Colombia in the second round.
Pacquiao rose to 34-2 with one drawn here Saturday with his 25th pro knockout when referee Bill Clancy halted the fight after 69 seconds of round two. Julio fell to 44-4.
The Asian star jumped on Julio quickly, throwing a stunning left to the head and attacking the staggered South American with repeated left hands along the ropes until Clancy jumped between them.
“I did not think it would be that easy,” Pacquiao said. “The plan was to come out and let him feel my power early. I knew after the first knockdown that it was just a matter of time.”
Pacquiao won the title 50 weeks ago by stopping champion Lehlohonolo Ledwaba of South Africa in the sixth round and kept it after a draw against Mexico’s Agapito Sanchez last November.
Pacquiao’s goal is to unify the title and then move up to the featherweight division.
“I hope that now people will start to respect me a little more. I feel that I am a good fighter.