Former world heavyweight champion and often-ridiculed HBO boxing commentator Lennox Lewis has worked his last fight as a ringside analyst for the cable giant, according to Dan Rafael.
In an HBO press release, the company said that Lewis will be focusing on fundraising efforts for his international training academy, which is what The Ring's blurb focused on.
But Rafael goes beyond the company line (which is attributed to Lewis' handlers) and says there's more to it than Lewis wanting to go do other things:
Multiple sources with knowledge of the situation told ESPN.com that leaving was not Lewis' decision and the network did not want him back. Lewis, who was heavily criticized for his on-air style, was informed of the decision late last week.
There is no getting around the fact that most boxing fans had little use for Lewis' commentary. Look, he's a great guy. He's a class act, a gentleman, and he always conducted himself with professionalism, in and out of the ring. Lewis was a marvelous fighter, a Hall of Famer, and in theory he should have added a lot to HBO broadcasts.
He just rarely ever added much at all. A typical exchange might go like this:
Bob Papa: "Lennox, do you think he needs to use the jab more?"
Lennox Lewis: "Yeah, absolutely! He maybe needs to use his jab more. Maybe double up the jab."
But I see no need to dance on the man's grave, so to speak. He's out, I'm happy about it so long as he's replaced with some good, and I hope -- though wildly unlikely -- that this means HBO is hearing the fans and is considering the idea that their commentary teams are stale and too often, detract from the action in the ring.
A couple of my favorite Lennoxisms were:
- "There are no nightclubs in Las Vegas." Lewis offered this gem when talking about Zab Judah, who had moved to Vegas from New York. Lewis figured that in Las Vegas, there would be no distractions for Judah, such as nightclubs. Anyone who has ever read Zab Judah's Twitter must surely be aware that there are, in fact, some nightclubs in Las Vegas.
- During the terrifyingly awful Andre Dirrell-Curtis Stevens fight a couple years ago, Lewis expressed great admiration of Dirrell's legitimate running, comparing the performance to Muhammad Ali. This one was so ridiculous it seemed to stop even his broadcast partners dead in their tracks.
Do you have any favorite Lennox Lewis as commentator moments? Share them!