A rematch between two boxing legends 19 years in the making is set to take place in September, when Mike Tyson is expected to take on former archrival Lennox Lewis as a strong betting favorite. These two fighters met in the ring once before, back in 2002, when Lewis handed Tyson a decisive eighth-round knockout to claim the WBC, IBF, IBO, and The Ring heavyweight titles.
CanadianBettingSites has got you covered with all the odds, trends, and backstories as these two former world heavyweight champions make their return to the squared circle.
Tyson Building on Renewed Fan Interest, Recent Comeback Success
The highly-anticipated clash with Lewis would mark the second trip to the ring for Tyson in less than a year. “Iron Mike” battled Roy Jones Jr. to a draw in an eight-round fight late last year. That contest built on the recent growing trend towards exhibition matchups featuring celebrities, with last December’s card also featuring a bout between former NBA star Nate Robinson and Youtube celebrity Jake Paul that created considerable media buzz.
— Sporting News (@sportingnews) November 29, 2020
Paul has since capitalized on that victory with a follow-up win over former pro-MMA fighter Ben Askren. And his brother Logan Paul has also seized on the trend, with his upcoming date with undefeated legend Floyd Mayweather, scheduled for June 6 in Miami. That event reportedly garnered over 1.5 million pay-per-view buys, and over $80 million in revenue, making it the biggest boxing payday of the year, by a wide margin. And while Tyson failed to get the nod for the win in that contest, he was widely viewed as having the upper hand over Jones.
Can Lewis Pick Up Where He Left Off
As for Lewis, September’s clash would mark his first ring appearance since retiring as world heavyweight champion back in 2003. The 55-year-old, who won Olympic gold while representing Canada in 1988, has been idle since, making it difficult to gauge his level of fitness for a return to action. However, there is no denying “The Lion’s” previous domination of the heavyweight division.
My Knockout of the Year;
Lennox Lewis KO4 Hasim Rahman II.
— 𝙏𝙖𝙝𝙟 𝙍. (@BoxingJournaIs) May 5, 2021
Lewis compiled a spectacular 41-2-1 record over an illustrious 14-year career as a professional, and held at least one world heavyweight championship belt for most of the final 10 years of his career. The 55-year-old regularly finished opponents during his pro career, with 32 of his 41 career wins coming by TKO or KO. However, Lewis is probably best remembered for a pair of closely fought clashes with former champion Evander Holyfield. The two battled to a draw in their first meeting in March 1999 before Lewis recorded a decisive unanimous decision win eight months later.
Bad Blood Lingering?
Of course, there are plenty of reasons to expect bad blood to linger between Lewis and Tyson. Clearly relishing the role of villain during the declining years of his heavyweight boxing career, Tyson was at his outrageous best while stoking a good old-fashioned pre-fight hate prior to their 2002 fight.
“All of a sudden, Tyson takes his hat off and throws it to the ground, and starts marching towards me.”
This is the inside story of Lennox Lewis and Mike Tyson’s infamous 2002 press conference brawl. pic.twitter.com/B7CU4cOIkq
— JOE (@JOE_co_uk) November 17, 2020
In addition to instigating fisticuffs with Lewis and members of his entourage at press events promoting the fight, Tyson also famously vowed to eat Lewis’ children as part of his trash talk. He was also forced to pay Lewis over $300,000 in damages after biting him on the leg at a pre-fight press conference that degenerated into a fist-swing melee.
Unfortunately for Iron Mike, his fist was unable to keep pace with his mouth in the ring. Lewis steadily took control of the fight despite being head-butted, wearing down Tyson before ending the fight with a pair of knockdowns in the eighth round.
Money, Title Shots Hold Allure
Time has healed much of the harsh feelings between these two fighters. And while a big payday may be a big motivator for Tyson to return to the ring, money may be less a concern for Lewis, whose net worth has been reported to exceed $100 million. Recent reports have suggested that Tyson could be in line for a shot at the WBA world heavyweight title currently held by undefeated champion Trevor Bryan.
— The Pugilist 🥊 (@_ThePugilist) May 7, 2021
The allure of reclaiming past glory could hold considerable appeal for Lewis, considering the current questionable state of boxing’s heavyweight division. Lewis has been publicly vocal about his disdain for celebrities entering the boxing game, and more likely views his return as a legitimate comeback attempt rather than a publicity stunt. But after an 18-year absence, will Lewis still have enough in the tank to once again get past Tyson? During his prime, few fighters could match Lewis’ speed, and his ability to avoid getting tagged while wearing down opponents.
— 2seconds International (@2secondsI) February 5, 2020
The relentless march of time and the toll it takes on such skills are likely to emerge as an issue as Lewis contemplates any future bid for a belt. But considering the long odds that he has pegged with ahead of his clash with Iron Mike, Lewis is clearly worthy of a value to bet to extend the three-fight win streak he took into retirement.
Take Lewis to pick up the win, with a $20 bet at Bodog (2.20) paying out $44.