- Category : Boxer
- Type : MGE
- Profile : 5/1 - Heretical / Investigator
- Definition : Triple Split
- Incarnation Cross : LAX Migration 2
Lennox Claudius Lewis, CM, CBE (born September 2, 1965) is a retired boxer and former undisputed World heavyweight champion. He won gold for Canada at the 1988 Olympic Games as an amateur after defeating Riddick Bowe in the final.
Professionally, Lewis achieved notable wins over Donovan Ruddock, Tony Tucker, Frank Bruno, Andrew Golota, Michael Grant, David Tua, Hasim Rahman, Mike Tyson and Vitali Klitschko. He was the undisputed champion after defeating Evander Holyfield by decision in 1999. Throughout his professional career, Lewis suffered only two losses, both of which he avenged in rematches. Upon retirement in 2003, he had defeated every opponent he had faced.
Along with Muhammad Ali, Holyfield, Klitschko and Michael Moorer, Lewis is one of only five boxers in history to have won the heavyweight championship three times.
Lewis is 6 ft 5 in (196 cm) in height and has an 84-inch (213 cm) reach, much longer than average for his height. During his boxing prime, he weighed about 250 pounds (113 kg). Lewis often referred to himself as "the pugilist specialist".
Lewis was born on September 2, 1965, in West Ham, London, England to Jamaican-born parents. At birth he weighed 10 pounds 10 ounces (4.8 kg), and was given the name Lennox by the doctor, who said he looked like a Lennox. Lewis moved to Kitchener, Ontario, Canada in 1977 at the age of 12. He attended Cameron Heights Collegiate Institute for high school, where he excelled in the sports of Canadian football, soccer and basketball.
Lewis eventually decided that his favourite sport was boxing. He became a dominant amateur boxer and won the world amateur junior title in 1983.
At the age of 18, Lewis represented Canada as a super heavyweight at the 1984 Summer Olympics in Los Angeles. He advanced to the quarter-finals, where he lost a decision to American Tyrell Biggs, the eventual gold medalist.
Lewis chose not to turn professional after the Olympics, and instead fought four more years as an amateur, hoping for a second chance to win a gold medal. After winning several more amateur titles during those years, he travelled to Seoul, South Korea for the 1988 Summer Olympics and achieved his goal. In the gold medal match, Lewis defeated future world champion Riddick Bowe by a second round technical knockout.
Professional boxing career
Having achieved that goal, Lewis declared himself a professional boxer and moved back to his native England. He claimed he'd always considered himself British, but many British fans regard him as "a Canadian at heart and a Briton for convenience", as he had only trained in Canada and the United States and already lived 1/2 his life in North America.
Once Lennox had won the Gold at the Summer Olympics, every promoter wanted to sign him. He first signed with the boxing promoter, Frank Maloney. Although Frank was based in London, England, He flew out there anyway. He was very new to the surroundings, despite being born in West Ham. Frank's wife, Jackie, and his close friend looked after him.
The early part of his pro career was filled with knockouts of journeymen, and after he signed with American promoter Main Event he captured the European heavyweight title late in 1990, added the British heavyweight title in March 1991 and the Commonwealth title in April 1992. By this time, Lewis was a consensus top-five heavyweight in the world.
On October 31, 1992, Lewis knocked out Canada's Donovan "Razor" Ruddock in two rounds for the No. 1 contender's position in the WBC world rankings. But ultimately, the victory won Lewis even more than that. Undisputed heavyweight champion Riddick Bowe refused to fight Lewis and Bowe's WBC title was declared vacant. On January 14, 1993, the WBC declared Lewis its champion, making him the first world heavyweight titleholder from Britain in the 20th century.
Lewis successfully defended the belt three times, defeating Tony Tucker, who was decked for the first time in his career, Phil Jackson and Frank Bruno. The Lennox Lewis vs. Frank Bruno fight was the first time that two British-born boxers had fought for the world heavyweight title. He suffered a technical knock-out loss at the hands of Oliver McCall on September 24, 1994. In the second round, McCall connected with a powerful right hand to the chin, putting Lewis down on his back. Lewis was up at the count of six, signalling that he wanted to continue, but the referee felt he was dazed and ended the fight. Lewis and others argued that the stoppage was premature and that a champion should be given the benefit of the doubt.
Regaining the WBC title
He received a chance to fight for the mandatory challenger position within the WBC and won it by knocking out contender Lionel Butler in the U.S. However, at the behest of promoter Don King the WBC chose to bypass him and give Mike Tyson the first shot at the title that had recently been won by Frank Bruno. Bruno had previously lost to both Lewis and Tyson.
While Lewis had the No. 1 contender's slot in the WBC rankings, he defeated Olympic gold medallist Ray Mercer by a close majority decision and contender Tommy Morrison. Lewis successfully sued to try and force Tyson to make a mandatory defense of the WBC title against him or force Tyson to give up the title, winning a four million dollar settlement from promoter Don King. Rather than fight Lewis, Tyson relinquished the WBC belt to fight Evander Holyfield, and the title was declared vacant. This set up a rematch between Lewis and McCall, who squared off on February 7, 1997 in Las Vegas for the WBC title. In one of the strangest fights in boxing history, McCall refused to box in the fourth and fifth rounds and actually began to cry in the ring, forcing the referee to stop the fight and award Lewis the victory. On March 28, 1998, Lewis retained the WBC world title when he knocked out lineal champion Shannon Briggs in five rounds (Briggs had recently outpointed George Foreman in a controversial fight, to win the lineal title). Lewis also successfully defended against former WBO world champion Henry Akinwande, who was disqualified after five rounds for excessive clinching. Lewis then met Andrew Golota, whom he knocked out in the first round, and beat formerly-undefeated European champion Željko Mavrovi? in a 12-round unanimous decision. Lewis stated in 2006 that his fight with Mavrovic was the most awkward win of his career.
Undisputed heavyweight champion
On March 13, 1999, Lewis faced WBA and IBF title holder Evander Holyfield in New York City in what was supposed to be a heavyweight unification bout. Lewis fought a brilliant tactical fight, keeping Holyfield off balance with a long jab and peppering him with combinations almost at will. Although most observers believed Lewis had won the fight, the bout was declared a draw, to much controversy. The raw statistics of the fight suggested the bout belonged to Lewis, who landed 348 punches compared to Holyfield's 130. Lewis also out-jabbed Holyfield 137 to 52. Judge Eugenia Williams, who scored the fight in Holyfield's favour, said she saw Lewis land fewer punches than the champion.
The sanctioning bodies ordered a rematch. Eight months later in Las Vegas (November 13, 1999), the two men fought again and Lewis won by unanimous decision, in doing so becoming undisputed heavyweight champion of the World
In 1999, Lewis was given one of the most prestigious sports awards in Britain, being voted the BBC Sports Personality of the Year.
After Lewis defeated Holyfield the WBA mysteriously ordered Lewis to defend the title against John Ruiz, then an obscure Don King fighter who had been made the WBA's #1-ranked contender. Though he had been undefeated since a loss against David Tua in 1996, the level of competition Ruiz had been facing was suspect and the only name he had beaten was a nearly 40 year old Tucker. Lewis refused to fight Ruiz, however Ruiz litigated the matter on the basis of a clause in the Lewis Holyfield rematch contract.
Rather than face Ruiz in a commercially unattractive bout, Lewis elected to instead fight Michael Grant, who was considered to be a very worthy contender at the time having knocked out a series of recognized 'name' opponents on HBO. In doing so, Lewis forfeited the WBA title. He did however successfully defended his title against Grant in two rounds, despite Grant's aggressive start to the fight.
Lewis then also knocked out Francois Botha in two, before winning a 12-round decision against the highly-fancied Tua. However, on April 21, 2001, Lewis was knocked out by 15-to-1 underdog Hasim Rahman in a bout in South Africa. The loss, coupled with Lewis' earlier TKO loss to McCall, led many ringside observers to question Lewis' heart and chin. Prior to the bout, Lewis had a role in the film Ocean's Eleven in which he "boxed" against Wladimir Klitschko, and many feel that the distraction and disrupted training schedule contributed significantly to his loss.
While promoting the rematch with Rahman on ESPN's Up Close, the fighters got into a brawl similar to the one between Muhammad Ali and Joe Frazier in front of Howard Cosell on Wide World of Sports. Many felt the brawl was staged to promote the fight, so the reality of the episode is still a matter of debate. Lewis regained the title on November 17 by knocking out Hasim Rahman in the fourth round of their rematch.
Lewis vs. Tyson
Main article: Lennox Lewis vs. Mike Tyson
On June 8, 2002, Lewis defended his title against Mike Tyson. A fight many had hoped would be a classic turned out to be one-sided as Lennox used his jab and superior reach to score a dominant knockout victory over "Iron Mike." By the end of the seventh round Tyson was tired and sluggish, his face swollen and his eyes cut. Tyson was knocked out in the eighth by a right hook from Lewis.
This fight was the highest-grossing event in pay-per-view history, generating $106.9 million from 1.95 million buys in the U.S., until it was surpassed by De La Hoya-Mayweather in 2007.
Ticket sales were slow because they were priced as high as $2,400, but a crowd of 15,327 turned up to see the biggest sporting event ever in the city of Memphis, Tennessee. Tyson also had to pay Lewis $335,000 out of his purse for biting him at the news conference to announce the fight, which was originally scheduled for April 6, 2002 in Las Vegas. Las Vegas, however, rejected the fight because of Tyson's licensing problems and several other states refused Tyson a license before Memphis finally bid $12 million to land it.
Lewis vs. Klitschko
In May 2003, Lewis sued boxing promoter Don King for $385 million, claiming that King used threats to have Tyson pull out of a rematch scheduled with Lewis for a month later. Lewis then scheduled a fight with Kirk Johnson for the championship belt of the less-recognized IBO, but dropped it when Johnson suffered an injury in training. Instead, Lewis fought Vitali Klitschko, the WBC's No. 1 contender and former WBO titlist. Lewis had planned to fight him in December, but since Klitschko had been on the undercard of the Johnson fight anyway, they agreed to square off on June 21. Lewis entered the ring at a career high 256 1/2 pounds. Lewis was dominated in the early rounds and was wobbled in round two by solid Klitschko punches. Lewis opened a cut above Klitschko's eye with a right cross in the third round and gave a better showing in the fifth and sixth rounds. Before the start of round seven the doctor advised that the fight should be stopped due to a severe cut above Klitschko's left eye, awarding Lewis victory by TKO.
Interviewed about the fight by HBO, doctor Paul Wallace explained his decision: "When he raised his head up, his upper eyelid covered his field of vision. At that point I had no other option but to stop the fight. If he had to move his head to see me, there was no way he could defend his way against a punch."
Klitschko was leading 58–56 on all three judges' scorecards when the fight was stopped.
Hanging up the gloves
Because Klitschko had fought so well against Lewis, boxing fans soon began calling for a rematch. The WBC agreed, and kept the Ukrainian as its No. 1 contender. Lewis decided to pursue other interests, including sports management and music promotion. Lewis said he would not return to the ring. At his retirement, Lewis' record was 41 wins, 2 losses and 1 draw, with 32 wins by knockout. Though it was rumoured in an article published by the Daily Mail on the February 24 that he would return to fight Klitschko once again, Lewis quickly shot down those rumours on his personal website. He announced once again, on March 4, 2007 (after the Edison Miranda vs. Allen Green fight), that he was not coming out of retirement. In 2008 Lewis commented on a possible match up with Riddick Bowe. "He waits until I am in retirement to call out my name," said Lewis. "I will come out of retirement to beat up that guy. I'll beat him up for free."
Along with Gene Tunney and Rocky Marciano he is one of three world heavyweight champions to have retired after defeating every opponent he had faced—in doing so Lewis avenged his only two defeats.
In May 8, 2010 Lewis was let go by HBO as a commentator for Friday Night Fights. In 2002, Lewis was reportedly offered £5m by WWE chairman Vince McMahon to take up wrestling with WWE. His camp held discussions over a possible match with former WWE superstar Brock Lesnar in February 2003, at the No Mercy pay-per-view event.
Lennox played at the World Series of Poker in both 2006 and 2007, and was knocked out without winning any money.
Lewis appeared on NBC's Celebrity Apprentice in 2008. He came in fourth place (out of 14).
In 2008, Lewis was inducted into Canada's Sports Hall of Fame. In 2009, in his first year of eligibility, Lewis was inducted into the International Boxing Hall of Fame.
Upon retiring from boxing, Lewis moved to Miami Beach with his wife, Violet Chang, a former Miss Jamaica runner-up. The couple have a daughter named Ling, and a son, Landon. Lewis told AventuraUSA.com in 2007 that he is contemplating opening an "international boxing academy" and perhaps one day starting a record label, but contrary to rumours, he has yet to embark on either endeavour.
Lewis has also done a public service announcement against domestic violence for Do Something.
Wladziu Valentino Liberace (May 16, 1919 – February 4, 1987), better known by only his last name Liberace (LIB-ber-RAH-chee), was an American entertainer.
Early life and stage name
Liberace, known as “Lee” to his friends, was born in West Allis, Wisconsin to Frances Zuchowski, a Polish American, and Salvatore ("Sam") Liberace, an immigrant from Formia, Italy. He grew up in a musical family. He had a twin who died at birth. He was classically trained as a pianist and gained wide experience playing popular music. Lee followed the advice of famous Polish pianist and family friend Paderewski and billed himself under his last name only. As his classical career developed he found that his whimsical encores, in which he played pop songs and marches, went over better with audiences than his renditions of classical pieces, so he changed his act to "pop with a bit of classics". At other times, he referred to his act as "classical music with the boring parts left out." During the mid- and late 1940s he performed in dinner clubs and night clubs in major cities around the United States.
In his early career days he used the stage name Walter Busterkeys.
In 1943, he appeared in a couple of Soundies (the 1940s precursor to music videos). He re-created two flashy numbers from his nightclub act, "Tiger Rag" and "Twelfth Street Rag." In these films he was billed as Walter Liberace. Both Soundies were later released to the home-movie market by Castle Films.
He had a network television program, The Liberace Show, beginning on July 1, 1952. Producer Duke Goldstone mounted a filmed version for syndication in 1955, and sold it to scores of local stations. The widespread exposure of the syndicated Liberace series made the pianist more popular and prosperous than ever. His brother George often appeared as guest violinist. Liberace signed off each broadcast with the song "I'll Be Seeing You." This show was also one of the first to be shown on UK commercial television in the 1950's where it was broadcast on Sunday afternoon's by Lew Grade's ATV company. This exposure gave Liberace a dedicated following in the UK.
Liberace became known for his extravagant costumes, personal charm, and self-deprecating wit. His public image became linked with one ever-present stage prop, a silver candelabrum perched on his piano. By 1955 he was making $50,000 per week at the Riviera nightclub in Las Vegas and had over 160 official fan clubs with a quarter of a million member fans (who throughout his career were mostly middle-aged women). He received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in 1960 for his contributions to the television industry.
In 1966 he appeared in two highly-rated episodes of the U.S. television series Batman. During the 1970s his appearances included guest roles on episodes of Here's Lucy and Kojak. In a cameo on The Monkees he appeared at an avant-garde art gallery as himself, gleefully smashing a grand piano with a sledgehammer as Mike Nesmith looked on and cringed in mock-agony.
Liberace was also the guest star in an episode of The Muppet Show. His performances included a "Concerto for the Birds" and an amusing rendition of "Chopsticks." In the 1980s he guest starred on television shows such as Saturday Night Live (on a 10th-season episode hosted by Hulk Hogan and Mr. T), The Tonight Show and the 1984 film Special People.
He released several recordings through Columbia Records (later on Dot and through direct television advertising) and sold over 2,000,000 records in 1953 alone. Liberace's highly colored style of piano playing was characterized by some critics as fluid and lyrical but technically careless.
Liberace appeared as a guest star in two compilation features for RKO Radio Pictures. Footlight Varieties was an imitation-vaudeville hour released in 1951; a little-known sequel, Merry Mirthquakes (1953), featured Liberace as master of ceremonies.
He was at the height of his career in 1955 when he starred in the Warner Brothers feature Sincerely Yours with Dorothy Malone, playing 31 songs. The film (about a concert pianist who loses his hearing) was a commercial and critical failure, which was attributed in part to his having been overexposed on television.
In 1965, he had a small part in the movie When the Boys Meet the Girls starring Connie Francis, essentially playing himself.
In 1966, Liberace received kudos for his brief role as a casket salesman in the film adaptation of The Loved One, Evelyn Waugh's satire of the funeral business and movie industry in Southern California. It was the only film Liberace made in which he did not play the piano.
His fame in the U.S. was paralleled for a time in the UK. In 1957 an article in The Daily Mirror by veteran columnist Cassandra (William Connor) mentioned that Liberace was "...the summit of sex--the pinnacle of masculine, feminine, and neuter. Everything that he, she, and it can ever want... a deadly, winking, sniggering, snuggling, chromium-plated, scent-impregnated, luminous, quivering, giggling, fruit-flavored, mincing, ice-covered heap of mother love," a description which did everything it could to imply he was homosexual without saying so. Liberace sued the newspaper for libel, testified in a London court that he was not a homosexual, had never taken part in homosexual acts, and won the suit. But he did acknowlege his homosexual orientation and told his lifetime partner to keep it a secret until he died.
For years Liberace had joked, "I don't mind the bad reviews, but George (his brother and business partner) cries all the way to the bank." The £8,000 ($22,400) damages he received from The Daily Mirror led Liberace to alter this catchphrase to "I cried all the way to the bank!"
In 1982, Liberace's live-in boyfriend of some five years, Scott Thorson, sued the pianist for $113 million in palimony after an acrimonious split-up. Liberace continued to publicly deny that he was homosexual. In 1984, most of Thorson's claim was dismissed although he received a $95,000 settlement. Later in the decade Thorson emerged as a pivotal witness in the prosecution of reputed gangster Eddie Nash in the 1981 quadruple murders of the Wonderland Gang.
In 1960 Liberace performed at the London Palladium with Nat King Cole and Sammy Davis Jr. (this was the first televised "command performance", now known as "The Royal Variety Show" for Queen Elizabeth II). His career then went into a slump but he skillfully built it back up by appealing directly to his fan base through live appearances in Las Vegas and elsewhere. Liberace was a favorite subject of tabloid magazines throughout his life and he published an autobiography in 1973. Liberace owned an antique store for some years in Beverly Hills, California. In 1982 he guest starred on one of his own favorite television programs, "Lives...of the curious" on the renowned two parted, "The Mystery of Mother's Murder." He had a keen interest in cooking, often preparing meals for friends and associates. In addition, he owned a restaurant in Las Vegas for many years and even published cookbooks, the most famous of these being Liberace Cooks, with co-author cookbook guru Carol Truax. The book features recipes "from his seven dining rooms" (of his Hollywood home).
Throughout the 1970s Liberace's live shows were major box office attractions in Las Vegas at the Las Vegas Hilton and Lake Tahoe where he would earn $300,000 a week. These glitzy shows were a continued success for the next eleven years, helped along by infrequent but flamboyant television appearances and the opening of a promotional museum of his extravagant jewelry and stage costumes in 1979.
Liberace's final stage performance was at Radio City Music Hall in New York City on November 2, 1986. He died of complications related to AIDS at the age of 67 on February 4, 1987 at his winter house in Palm Springs, California. His obvious weight loss in the months prior to his death was attributed to a "watermelon diet" by his longtime and steadfast manager Seymour Heller. But he had been in ill health since 1985 with other health problems including emphysema from his daily smoking off-stage, as well as heart and liver troubles. How and exactly when he became HIV+ has never been determined, as Liberace vehemently denied that he had AIDS or that he was homosexual. At the end of his life, still convinced that his fans were unaware of his sexuality or the disease he was battling, he confided in Heller his belief that if his fans knew, "that's all they'll remember about me." He is entombed in Forest Lawn - Hollywood Hills Cemetery in Los Angeles.
The Liberace Museum in Las Vegas contains many of his stage costumes, cars, jewelry, and lavishly-decorated pianos, along with numerous citations for philanthropic acts.
References in popular culture
Entertainers inspired by him include Little Richard (who called himself "the bronze Liberace"), James Brown (who also cited Gorgeous George as a stage influence), and Elton John, whose costumes early in his career often included feathers and furs as Liberace's sometimes did and is called "The Liberace of Rock and Roll" for his flamboyant style, having Robin Williams mentioning that John makes Liberace look Amish.
Several Looney Tunes cartoons (and other theatrical cartoons) have either caricatured Liberace or used his catchphrase, "I wish my brother George was here," most notably in the Bugs Bunny cartoons "Wideo Wabbit" and "Hyde and Hare" and the musical cartoon "The Three Little Bops" ("The Three Little Bops" also has a line that goes "The piano playing pig was swinging like a gate/Doin' Liberace on the 88," before the pig says, "I wish my brother George was here.")
In 1954, cartoonist Al Capp sent a letter to Liberace, addressing his intention to portray him in his comic strip Li'l Abner as "Liverachy". Liberace's lawyers contacted Capp, informing him not to do so. Capp went ahead anyway, changing the name to "Loverboynik". About the character, Capp stated "Loverboynik is not Liberace because he can play the piano quite well and he doesn't giggle hysterically."
In 1988, actor Victor Garber starred as the performer in "Liberace: Behind the Music" which is a LGBT-related biographical film based on his life.