LAS VEGAS – Lennox Lewis has discussed strategy and technique countless times with Deontay Wilder.
The unbeaten WBC heavyweight champion has always welcomed Lewis’ tips. Each time, Wilder walked away from their talk appreciative of the legendary former WBC champ’s attempt to help him.
“Getting that jab working,” Lewis recalled Thursday night of what he has instructed Wilder to do. “Being more fluid in the ring. Being more of an accurate puncher. You know, I love guys like him because they just like, they listen and they say, ‘Thanks,’ and they go away. And they love to hear what I have to say. Not only heavyweights, [fighters at] smaller weights as well.”
Lewis has had no such interactions with Anthony Joshua.
The British superstar has no relationship whatsoever with Lewis. Joshua even expressed frustration in recent months with what he considers constant criticism from Lewis.
While promoting his upcoming rematch against Andy Ruiz Jr. over the summer, Joshua told reporters in New York that he went back at Lewis through the media because he had grown tired of Lewis commenting on how Joshua should handle his career.
The 30-year-old Joshua can’t understand why Lewis has never reached out to talk to him. Lewis, one of the most accomplished champions in heavyweight history, feels it is Joshua’s place to initiate contact with him.
“I think it’s just the people around him,” Lewis said of why there’s friction between them. “He’s never spoken to me. He’s never tried to phone me or anything like that. The mountain doesn’t go to the pupil. The pupil comes to the mountain. You know what I mean? You wanna know something, you come to me. Don’t sit there and say, ‘Oh, Lennox Lewis doesn’t phone me. He doesn’t do this.’ I’m like, that’s silly to me.”
Nevertheless, Lewis gladly would advise Joshua if the former IBF/IBO/WBA/WBO champion ever wanted to pick his brain.
“Sure,” Lewis said. “I welcome all phone calls. Listen, I’ve got so much knowledge in my head, I don’t wanna go away with it. I’m here to give it out, you know, give you the knowledge so that you can help with what you need to do.”
Lewis believes Joshua has heeded some of his advice, albeit indirectly, by adding to a team headed by longtime trainer Rob McCracken. Joshua (22-1, 21 KOs) is winding down training camp for his immediate rematch against Ruiz (33-1, 22 KOs), who upset Joshua by seventh-round technical knockout June 1 at Madison Square Garden in New York.
“Well, he has taken notice of what I’ve said to a certain degree, and he has brought in other people, which is very wise,” Lewis said in reference to Joshua’s training camp for their December 7 rematch in Diriyah, Saudi Arabia. “That shows that, you know, you wanna learn as a fighter and be a lot better. You always have to try and improve upon yourself and, you know, if that trainer’s not giving that to you, and you wanna stay with him, then you’ve gotta bring in other people.”
Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.