Lennox Lewis vs Gary Mason – Highlights (Underrated SLUGFEST & KNOCKOUT)

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March 6th, 1991. In “Undefeated Giants”, 2 hard punching British Heavyweights collide in an explosive albeit underrated slugfest; Gary Mason and future 3 time World Heavyweight Champion, Lennox Lewis. The BBBofC British Heavyweight Title is on the line where reigning champion Gary Mason makes his 2nd defense while Lewis, the EBU (European) Heavyweight Champion defends his title for the 1st time.

Going into the fight, both Lewis and Mason were undefeated with records of 14(12)-0 and 35(32)-0. Mason, the slight betting favorite was rated No. 5 by the WBC while Lewis was not rated as a Top 10 at this point.

20 years ago in the same ring, British Heavyweight Greats Henry Cooper and Joe Bugner fought in a bout where Cooper defends his Commonwealth (British Empire), BBBofC British & EBU (European) Heavyweight Crowns. Cooper was outpointed by the 21 year old Bugner, and retired from the sport at 37 years old. Lewis vs Mason is considered to the be biggest British boxing fight since Cooper vs Bugner.

Nearly a year before this fight, Mason suffered a detached retina in a bout against Everett Martin. It would be 9 months before he fights again; winning a TKO9 over James Pritchard. There was also talks of a potential clash with Mike Tyson during this time, but Mason’s eye injury hindered its possibility.

In this battle with Lewis, Mason displayed tremendous heart and determination along with his power as well as a rock solid chin against the young upcoming Lewis but would re-injure his eye and as the fight progresses, both his eyes suffer increasingly serious damages.

Referee Larry O’Connell eventually stops the fight as Mason’s vision was badly impaired and literally fighting on heart alone. Mason retired from boxing after this loss, but came back 3 years later to win 2 more fights before a permanent retirement with a final record of 37(34)-1.

Mason scored 10 first round knockouts & 14 knockouts within 4 rounds in his career. He had notable victories over Hughroy Currie, James Tillis and Tyrell Biggs. His lone loss was to Lennox Lewis.

As for the 26 year old Lewis, he would embark on a journey to true greatness as he eventually cemented his legacy as a 3 time World Heavyweight Champion and widely considered to be the Greatest British Heavyweight of All Time.

Interestingly, Glenn McCrory correctly predicted Lewis’ victory; a TKO in the mid rounds. Lewis would fight and knocked out McCrory 6 months later in September 1991, after the Mason victory. Also, Frank Bruno was guest commentator along with the famed Harry Carpenter for this bout. Bruno and Lewis would clash in October 1993 in an exciting bout, with Lewis winning a TKO7.

Another interesting fact is that both Lewis and Mason won their pro debuts against a common opponent in Al Malcolm. Both won by knockouts; Mason in October 1984 and Lewis in June 1989.

On January 6th 2011, Gary Mason tragically passed away at 48 years of age in a cycling accident after being hit by a van in Sandy Lane South, Wallington, South London.

Rest in peace champ!

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