A new, candid documentary charting the rise and remarkable career of heavyweight boxing champion, Lennox Lewis, featuring heavyweight boxing legend Mike Tyson, and narrated by rapper, Dr. Dre. Available NOW on DVD via Lennox.film, Amazon, and all major VOD services!
Contributors to the film of course include the last heavyweight to hold the undisputed championship, Lennox Lewis. Appearing throughout are his wife Violet, his mother, also called Violet, brother and business manager Dennis.
His close inner circle from his first days in the sport until today, Courtney Shand and Egerton Marcus discuss his rise. Boxing promoter Kellie (formerly Frank) Maloney and HBO commentator Jim Lampley offer several insights of how it felt at the time of the major boxing events in Lennox’s career.
Fellow heavyweight boxing legend Mike Tyson is also heavily featured, with the relationship between the two fighters from teenagers to present day, book-ending the film.
There are contributions (some archival) from trainers Arnie Boehm, Pepe Correa, Harold Knight and Emmanuel Steward, and footage of icons such as Nelson Mandela, George Foreman, Evander Holyfield, Frank Bruno, Don King and Muhammad Ali.
The documentary is narrated by Lewis’ friend, the hip hop producer and artist Dr. Dre.
“Lennox – The Untold Story” is the official Lennox Lewis documentary chronicling an incredible life and sporting career.
The film gives unprecedented insight into Lewis’ journey from a troubled youth in West Ham, London, to uprooting to Canada. There he discovered a natural ability in the boxing ring before going on to fulfil his destiny by reaching the top of heavyweight boxing.
Opening with the Lewis vs Tyson Fight Build Up
Opening with footage of the build up to the Lewis vs Tyson fight in Las Vegas in June 2002, some very candid interviews with Lennox himself, his wife Violet, brother Dennis and mother, also Violet, are threaded through.
It ignites the journey of how Lennox’s difficult start in life, somehow ended with one of the most anticipated clashes in heavyweight boxing history.
From Rough, Humble London Beginnings to Boxing in Canada
At the heart of this introduction you can see that an absent father, and for five years an absent mother, growing up as a young black boy in a rough part of London, with racial tensions bubbling in the background, Lennox’s life could have headed in a very different, very negative direction.
A move to Canada and his introduction to the sport of boxing gave Lewis the discipline and father figure he had been missing.
Cus D’Amato Prophesized both Tyson & Lewis to Dominate
In an interview, Mike Tyson recalls meeting and sparring with Lewis when they were both teenagers. At the time Tyson’s legendary coach Cus D’Amato told them after seeing them, “You are both ordained to become heavyweight champion. You’ll both dominate this sport”.
Lewis Strikes Olympic Gold
Following his stunning Olympic Gold Medal win against Riddick Bowe in 1988, respected promoters started to take an interest in him becoming a professional fighter. British promoter Frank Maloney set him on his professional career path, persuading the boxer with Jamaican, Canadian and British roots, to represent Great Britain.
He was soon moving up the ranks and in 1992 a fight with the highly-rated and experienced Donovan “Razor” Ruddock was arranged. Lewis won in stunning fashion in just 216 seconds and rose to be ranked #2 in the world behind the opponent he beat in the Olympic final, Riddick Bowe.
Lennox Lewis’ Devastating Knockouts & Spectacular Wins
There is some great archive footage of Lewis taking notable scalps in style throughout the 1990’s including Tony Tucker, Frank Bruno, Tommy Morrison, and his revenge over Oliver McCall. His change of trainer to Emmanuel Steward brought with it some devastating knockouts and spectacular wins, building to the inevitable showdowns with “Iron” Mike Tyson and Evander Holyfield.
Controversial Draw vs Evander Holyfield
There is some candid footage of raw emotions in the dressing room following the controversial draw with Holyfield in March 1999, considered a robbery of the undisputed title for Lewis by most observers.
Lewis’ Public Support of Frank Maloney’s Transformation
Lewis entered the new millennium as the first British undisputed heavyweight champion since Bob Fitzsimmons in 1897. It coincided with promoter Frank Maloney’s increasing personal struggle with gender identity. Maloney’s transformation into Kellie, wearing dresses and make-up in the testosterone-drenched and masculine world of boxing, must have been one of the toughest moments of her life. Kellie remembers with affection Lennox’s public support that helped make her transgender revelation more easily accepted within the professional boxing community. It is one of the standout striking moments of the film.
Epic Fight vs Tyson in 2002, Retirement & Inspirational Charity Work
For the epic 2002 fight with Tyson there is no voiceover or music; the television footage from the event tells the story all by itself. The documentary concludes with a look at Lewis’ retirement into family life and inspirational charitable work. It is also touching to see Lewis with the youngest of his three daughters, who was born with Trisomy 18, a rare and serious condition that affects growth and development. As with his own life and career, he remains positive and takes it a day at a time.
Stick around for the end credits featuring some great sound bites and a couple of outtakes.
I was (and remain) a big fan of Lennox Lewis. Watching this documentary brought back a lot of memories of sitting up until the early hours to watch his international fights, the “Battle of Britain” with Frank Bruno, the shock defeat at the hands of Hasim Rahman, and triumphant comebacks against Oliver McCall and Evander Holyfield.
For a documentary titled “The Untold Story”, there isn’t a great deal of shocking revelations. It can’t be a “warts ‘n’ all” tale either, as lovely Lennox doesn’t really have any warts to expose! However, it is an affectionate account of the career of one of the modern greats of heavyweight boxing.
Lewis initially struggled to gain acceptance as such from British or American fans, with his soft Canadian accent, Olympic representation of their nation, and his Jamaican heritage. As the years have passed, he is now deservedly recognised for what he brought to the sport on both sides of the pond.
The best bits of the documentary are highlights of so many classic boxing matches. Some of the behind-the-scenes footage in the dressing room, or of Lewis in private before and after the various events in his life, help paint the picture of a relatively quiet, but ultimately intelligent and determined sportsman.
Lewis never lost, he learned. His gentle giant persona and positive deportment, enamour him not only to all the friends and family who contribute throughout the film, but also to the viewer. I personally would have liked to have seen and heard a little more about the technical aspects of Lennox’s training and preparation for his fights. I also found Dr. Dre’s narration a little bland, which was a bit of a shock considering what a wordsmith he usually is!
Lewis’ journey is an inspirational one that demonstrates how sport can have a positive effect on people’s lives, and even lead to greatness.
For boxing fans this is definitely worth a watch to relive some classic boxing bouts and enjoy the complete pugilism that Lennox Lewis brought to the heavyweight division.
- “It was like a game of tag to me. That’s when I realised I enjoyed boxing. I loved it.” – Lennox Lewis (on his first time sparring)
- “You know if you look at the Holyfield fight, Holyfield made $15m in one fight, I made $10m, Don King made $10m, but he never stepped in the ring” Interviewer: “You know what you guys should’ve done, honesty, after the fight? Beat the $#!£ out of him!” (Lennox Lewis chat show interview after his first fight with Evander Holyfield)
- “Lewis throws more and he lands more!” – Boxing Commentator
- “He [Lewis] is, no doubt, the best heavyweight of all time. What he’s done clearly puts him on top of the heap.” – George Foreman (after the fight with Mike Tyson)
- “I think he would beat every heavyweight champion in history. I saw most all of them fight, in training camps. Ali and Joe Frazier, Sonny Liston, I’ve been with all of them, Larry Holmes. Lennox Lewis would have beaten all of them.” – Legendary Boxing Coach Emmanuel Steward
- Along with Ingemar Johansson and Rocky Marciano, Lewis is one of three world heavyweight champions to have retired with victories over every opponent he faced as a professional. He is also, along with Gene Tunney, Rocky Marciano and Vitali Klitschko, one of four heavyweight champions to have ended his career as world champion, and with a world title fight victory as his final fight.
- The Lewis vs Tyson fight in 2002 was the highest-grossing event in pay-per-view history, generating US $106.9 million from 1.95 million buys in the US, until it was surpassed by De La Hoya-Mayweather in 2007.
- Lennox Lewis’s Professional Fight Record shows: 44 fights, 41 wins, 2 losses and 1 draw. 32 wins were by knockout.
- In 2001, Lewis became the fourth boxer (after Muhammad Ali, Evander Holyfield and Michael Moorer) to have held the world heavyweight championship on three occasions.
- Lewis is the only British heavyweight to have won both a Lonsdale belt outright and the world title.
- At the 1988 Summer Olympics Lewis became the first Canadian to win boxing gold in 56 years.
- In 2002 Queen Elizabeth II made Lennox Lewis a Commander of the Order of the British Empire (CBE).
- In 2000 Lennox Lewis hired several Jackie Chan movies in a North London Blockbuster rental store. The girl serving told him her boyfriend (our reviewer!) was also a fan of Jackie Chan. Lewis laughed and replied, “These are for my mum!”