By Phil D. Jay
In a candid interview with Adam Smith and Johnny Nelson for a Sky Sports’ Ringside boxing special, former undisputed heavyweight champion Lennox Lewis has called for the aging heavyweight generation to back away from the sport.
Lewis, 45, who retired from boxing seven years ago at the top of his game and now commentates for HBO in America, believes that a lot of the boxers from his era who are still boxing, should give it up let your younger fighters take over the mantle.
“Holyfield should call it a day, he thinks he can do what he did at 23, at 46 or 47 years-old and he has no chance,” Lewis explained to Smith and Nelson.
“The likes of Holyfield, Shannon Briggs and Hasim Rahman should retire. When they fight, I think I could still beat them now and I don’t train as much, they should get out of there.”
Former two-weight world champion Holyfield is now 48 and still harbours hopes of claiming a fifth heavyweight world title. 'The Real Deal' has vowed to continue in the sport until he fulfils his dream, even if it takes him up to his 50th Birthday.
Shannon Briggs, 39, is contemplating his future after a sickening points defeat against WBC Champion Vitali Klitschko, who pounded “The Cannon” for the full twelve rounds in Germany last October and put the American in hospital for several days.
Hasim Rahman, who fought Lewis twice in 2001, pulling off a shock victory in South Africa, before crumbling in the Las Vegas rematch, has won all five of his bouts in the last two years, including a sixth round stoppage of Galen Brown last night, but none of his wins have been against any recognized opposition.
The 38 year-old is hoping to gain a shot at the heavyweight title in 2011 after losing his last two title challenges in recent years to Wladimir Klitschko in 2008 and Oleg Maskaev in 2006, but Lewis believes all three men have had their day.
The fact that Lewis fought and beat all three men is maybe his reasoning on the matter, but as he bowed out on top of his game, the other men obviously believe that have unfinished business. Lewis admitted that he did “feel sorry” for the aging fighters, who think they need to keeping proving that they still have the skills, even as father time is “tapping them on the shoulder.”
Phil D. Jay covers the boxing scene for worldboxingnews.net