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Bad Left Hook Best of the Decade - Heavyweight

Lennox Lewis defeated the T-101 in one of the better heavyweight fights of the decade.
Lennox Lewis defeated the T-101 in one of the better heavyweight fights of the decade.

Now that 2009 is getting close to wrapping up, it means this decade is almost over. Before the end of the year, I hope to get through all the weight classes, presenting to you some choices for the best fighter in a given weight class in the decade. I'm not going in any particular order here, but we'll get through all 17 weight classes.

When voting, please only consider the time that the fighter was in the specified weight class during this decade. Also, I'm not going to count obvious ballot stuffing when I tally these up at the end of the year.

The heavyweight division, for the most part, was dominated by a few guys, but there still may be some contention as to who is the best. Lennox Lewis ruled the early part of the decade, but only fought for a few years and appeared to be past his best for the most part. Lewis defeated Vitali Klitschko, but there's an argument that Vitali was green at the time. Vitali and Wladimir Klitschko have owned most of the remainder of the decade (excluding a few years when Vitali was temporarily retired), but the two brothers made a promise never to fight each other, and so it will probably always be unsettled as to which brother is really better.

Vitali Klitschko - Vitali went 10-2 in the weight class, and spent a short time as the lineal champion after Lennox Lewis retired. While his roster of wins isn't super impressive, he's generally fought ranked competition in the weight class and has generally beaten them convincingly. His best wins include Cris Arreola, Samuel Peter, Corrie Sanders, Danny Williams, Kirk Johnson, Larry Donald and Timo Hoffmann. Both losses were somewhat questionable. One was to Lennox Lewis in the fight described below, where the fight was stopped on cuts over Vitali's objections, and the other was to Chris Byrd in a fight that Vitali was winning handily, but he injured his shoulder and quit rather than risking further injury.

Wladimir Klitschko - Wladimir has gone 22-2 over the course of the decade, unifying three of the belts and becoming Ring champion. Much like his brother, the names on Wladimir's resume don't necessarily look spectacular, but nearly everyone he's fought (other than immediately after losses or early in the decade) has either been a mandatory or someone who was ranked in the division's top 10 at the time. Key victories include Chris Byrd (twice), Ruslan Chagaev, Sultan Ibragimov, Samuel Peter, Lamon Brewster, Danell Nicholson, Jameel McCline, Ray Mercer, Franz Botha, Monte Barrett and faded Hasim Rahman. The losses came to Corrie Sanders and Lamon Brewster (in a fight where Wladimir gassed and won the rematch easily). While Wlad's losses are far worse than the losses suffered by the other two here, there's also a solid argument that Wladimir was somewhat green at the time of the losses, and has improved considerably since those defeats.

Lennox Lewis - Lewis went 6-1 in the early part of the decade, all of the fights being for the lineal championship and multiple belts. His best win was a somewhat controversial stoppage win over Vitali Klitschko, where Vitali was ahead on the cards at the time of the stoppage, but was extremely busted up, and the tide of the fight seemed to be turning in Lennox's favor. Other good wins include Hasim Rahman, David Tua, Michael Grant (who at the time was thought to be the next big thing), Franz Botha and a severely faded Mike Tyson. The loss came to Rahman, which Lewis avenged shortly thereafter.

Others for possible consideration: Chris Byrd, Ruslan Chagaev, John Ruiz, Nicolai Valuev, Hasim Rahman, Samuel Peter

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