Four-belt Lennox Lewis dissed by BBC as undisputed heavyweight champ

Another example of media shunning Lennox Lewis despite his efforts as an undisputed heavyweight came to light last weekend.

On the back of Josh Taylor becoming the latest super-lightweight ruler after Terence Crawford matching the four-belt feat, the BBC released a poster.

In conjunction with BBC Radio 5 Live and BBC Sounds, the artwork saw Taylor leading the way prominently at the front in homage to his latest efforts.

Behind him on the right was Crawford, flanked by Ukrainian technician Oleksandr Usyk. On the left was Jermain Taylor, followed by Bernard Hopkins.

All great champions, and yes, all picked up a quartet of titles in their heyday.

Hopkins claimed his haul against Oscar De La Hoya in 2004 before ironically losing the straps to Jermaine less than a year later.

Crawford and Usyk achieved the feat more recently. “Bud” by dethroning all the belt holders at 140. Usyk by winning the World Boxing Super Series tournament format.

Josh took a punt on signing with Top Rank, having been a WBSS winner himself. As a result, the Scot got promised a four-belt unification with Jose Ramirez.

A close points win on the back of a similar verdict against Regis Prograis, both of which could have gone either way, was enough to secure Taylor’s place in history.

The quintet got celebrated by the BBC, and rightly so. But there was one man conspicuous in his absence.

Undisputed BBC

Lennox Lewis, who, as WBN has explained on many occasions, won four belts against Evander Holyfield in 1997. It just so happened that one of those straps was the IBO version.

It’s acceptable to think that the IBO is seen more as the fifth organization or a “minor” trinket today. But back in the mid-1990s, they were right up there and considered above the WBO.

Initially founded in the late 1980s, it took the WBO well into the 2000s to become a bonafide sanctioning body. Naturally, therefore, Lewis was a four-belt ruler in his own right.

The IBO had champions like Floyd Mayweather, Ricky Hatton, Manny Pacquiao, and Wladimir Klitschko around that time and were one hundred percent in the mix-up as a unifier.

LENNOX LEWIS GUTS

When two title-holders met and the IBO was involved in the 1990s, it was labeled a unification. So it’s hard to take Lewis getting punched in the guts time and time again.

Even winning the WBA, IBF, And WBC at that time was seen as an undisputed feat, but, these days, it’s seen more as holding four titles at one time.

But Lewis did this, and the sooner his own country recognizes that fact rather than rewriting history, the better it will be for everyone in the sport.

A three-time world heavyweight champion and the last to be undisputed, it’s a wonder what Lennox Lewis has to do to get the acceptance he thoroughly deserves.

Phil Jay is the Editor of WBN. An Auxiliary member of the Boxing Writers Association of America since 2018. And a member of the Sports Journalists’ Association. Follow on Twitter @PhilJWBN.