Former undisputed world heavyweight champion Lennox Lewis says he corrected one of his notorious losses almost instantaneously.
Lewis was famously banged out with a solid blow from Hasim Rahman in a 2001 South Africa upset. Guilty of taking his foot off the gas, Lewis knew his over-confidence had cost him dearly.
Quizzed in the aftermath of Anthony Joshua’s similarly shocking knockout, Lewis stated his fellow-Brit has a lot more to do than he did back in the day.
“From my point of view, when you lose, you kind of re-focus and think about what happened,” Lewis told Inside PBC Boxing.
“For me, I knew the mistake straight away. I’d already corrected it before I stepped out of the ring.
“It was just a one-punch. Anybody can get dropped by one punch.
“Now for Anthony, I wasn’t one punch. It was a combination of punches. I don’t know whether he wasn’t mentally prepared for that.
“When you’re not mentally prepared there’s a shock period. You got through a shock period where you are not really focused and you just want to get out of there.
“I didn’t see the focus there that he needed to have. And in some ways, he was disarmed.
“Anytime anyone comes up to you and say, ‘hey, this guy is gonna be easy’ or ‘you’re gonna knock this guy out easy’ – they’re disarming you.
“I never wanted people to say that to me when I was fighting. I was like, ‘na, na, na’.”
On taking opponent Andy Ruiz lightly at Madison Square Garden, Lewis added: “Once a guy weighs over 200 pounds, and this guy was over 260 pounds.
“260 is the weight that’s coming at you and punching you. It doesn’t matter what he looks like, that’s the weight coming at you.
“It takes less weight than that to knock you out. So at that weight, everybody is dangerous. And he was dangerous, Andy Ruiz has always been dangerous!
“I commentated on a fight with him (in it) and I was at ringside. All I could hear was ‘boop, boop, boop’ – and that was the power of his punches. So I know he hits hard,” concluded the Pugilist Specialist.
Joshua faces an immense task to regain his belts due to Ruiz gaining comfortability as the new title-holder. The 29 year-old will also more than likely have to do it at the same venue.
Psychologically, this is not an ideal scenario for Joshua, who remains the bookies favorite despite the first encounter.