Irritated spectators decided that Lewis was weaker than Klitschko
"I do not feel like a real champion at the moment, but I feel like the people's champion. The victory was so close - I was strongly against the referee to stop the fight. My strategy was to take it into the seventh and eighth rounds. My strategy was working perfect. I knew his condition was not good. It was not easy, but I felt like I was winning. I know that I was hurting him with my punches.''
This was said by Ukrainian boxer Vitali Klitschko right after the dramatic fight with Lennox Lewis, which took place in Los Angeles on Saturday (it was early Sunday morning in Moscow at that time of the day). Klitschko, who was quoted by Gzt.Ru, lost the fight on the advice of ringside doctor Paul Wallace. The referee stopped the fight after the sixth round because of a gruesome cut around Klitschko's left eye.
The technical knockout helped Lewis keep the WBC heavyweight title. Yet, the referee's decision irritated spectators: the majority of them decided that Lewis was weaker than Klitschko. People in the audience believed that the referee's decision had saved Lewis from being defeated by the Ukrainian boxer.
Vitali Klitschko was very indignant about the outcome of the fight. He stated that he could continue fighting anyway, despite the cut. Lewis had not managed to take the advantage of Klitschko by that time. Moreover, Lennox Lewis was losing at that moment, although Vitali's face looked horrid by the end of the fight.
When the fight was over, Vitali Klitschko said that he would win the title of the champion anyway. Lennox Lewis stated that his rival had absolutely no chance: "I was getting to him. Just look at the state of his face," he said. "I was going to stop him. It was only a matter of time. He was deteriorating. The referee was saving his face. He couldn't go the distance." Lewis said that Klitschko was supposed to be happy with the way the things had turned out. The British boxer added that he was ready for a rematch, "if the money was right."
The German newspaper Bild held a poll about the referee's decision. According to the poll, 42.5 respondents believe that the fight should not have been stopped, 31.8 percent think that a rematch will reveal the truth, whereas 25.6 percent that the decision was right.
One has to mention that spectators - about 16,000 of them - took the Ukrainian boxer's side; he became the sports hero of Los Angeles.
Every effective blow delivered by Vitali raised an echo of approve on the stands. There were lots Ukrainian flags waved by fans. According to NEWSRu.com, spectators made a transparency that may turn into some kind of Klitschko's family emblem. An inscription on the transparency says: "Dr. Iron Fist".
Daily Telegraph sums up the Lewis-Klitschko match; the newspaper says that Lewis has hardly managed to hold out on the bloody throne. It is reported that according to the protocols of all the referees Lewis performed weaker than Vitali Klitschko when the referee stopped the fight because of a cut on the rival’s face before the 7th round. The return match, which is highly likely to follow in this situation, may rank Lewis among those legendary boxers who believed they were immortal.
According to results of the fight, Lennox Lewis was paid $5 million and Vitali Klitschko - $1.4 million.
Picture: Gzt.ru (announcement) & NEWSRu.com (in the text)