Former undisputed heavyweight champion Lennox Lewis was forced to defend his honor recently after rumors surfaced of one-sided sparring with a young Mike Tyson.
Irishman and ex-Tyson sparring partner ‘Big’ Joe Egan made claims about a session which may have gotten a little out of hand and saw Lewis come off the worse of the two.
Responding to Egan’s claims, Lewis stated this wasn’t the case and that Tyson’s trainer at the time, Cus D’Amato was impressed with his work.
“The truth is Mike and I sparred and we both gave it as good as we took,” explained Lewis.
“Cus stopped it at a point and said we both would meet for the world title and I was impressed that he thought I was THAT good.”
On the Egan story, Lewis added: “If I wasn’t there to experience the truth myself, I would be convinced by Joe that it happened also.
“Telling people what they want to hear instead of the truth seems to be the era we live in now.
“I know Joe, so you can’t imagine how disappointed I am with his comments, which aren’t grounded in any sense of reality.
“People come up to me and I always wondered where people get these crazy stories, (well) now I know!
“Don’t take my word for it though. Ask Mike Tyson as he was there too!”
The pair eventually traded blows for real in June 2002 as Tyson’s career was firmly on the slide and Lewis was the all-dominating unified champion at the time.
It’s true both legendary heavyweights matured at completely different times during their respective professional runs, meaning fans can only wonder what if a 1986 version of ‘The Baddest Man on the Planet’ had shared the ring with the 1999 Lewis who defeated Evander Holyfield.
Sadly, Tyson was already struggling to make an impact during his comeback from a lengthy spell out of action and would only fade further over time.