Lennox Lewis handled being knocked out by Hasim Rahman in a huge upset in April 2001 by returning the favor with a pulverizing KO of his own in their rematch about seven months later.
However, just because Anthony Joshua handled his June 1 upset TKO loss to Andy Ruiz Jr. very differently six months later by jabbing his way to a unanimous decision Saturday, that doesn't mean Lewis thinks anything less of the effort.
In fact, the former three-time world heavyweight champion took to his Twitter account Sunday and praised Joshua's smart strategy to keep Ruiz at bay with the jab and for not falling into any trap set by the "Destroyer," who wanted to trade leather with the British boxer in the center of the ring.
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Every fight isn’t going to be a KO. I thought AJ fought a good tactical fight and didn’t fall into trap of trying to mix it up in exchanges. This was a good addition to his experience. He also wisely unpacked his jab for this one. https://t.co/u1wmQZZJfR— Lennox Lewis (@LennoxLewis) December 8, 2019
Lewis additionally tweeted:
I understand that ppl want blood... but, as a fighter, you have to be disciplined enough to wait for the opportunities to open up. Sometimes they don’t come. When that happens you play it safe and stick to game plan. https://t.co/xQo9igxWh3— Lennox Lewis (@LennoxLewis) December 8, 2019
Lewis and Joshua haven't seen each other eye-to-eye lately over what AJ has described as the retired champ criticizing him publicly. However, perhaps Lewis defending Joshua's management of the Ruiz rematch will help change that.
While Lewis saluted the now two-time unified world heavyweight champion Joshua on the rematch, WBC heavyweight titleholder Deontay Wilder wasn't impressed at all. He ripped Joshua's performance over the weekend.
"Joshua did what he had to do to get the win," Wilder told The Athletic. "He ran around the ring and was on his bike all day. Basically, he had [Wladimir] Klitschko in the camp and he was a lot like Klitschko: that jab-grab-hold method. That's all he did tonight.
"He was so hesitant ... Joshua's mentality was to survive," Wilder continued. "The Klitschko method. You want to dominate guys, man. I'm not coming in, after losing to this guy, to just dance and grab and jab and hold. I'm going to show the world and convince them I am the very best and that no one is close to me, especially with what's going on in the division right now. It's a time of proving who is the best."