. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Three Former Champs Have Their Day

NEW YORK -- Lennox Lewis wants Mike Tyson, Tim Witherspoon wants Riddick Bowe and Bobby Czyz might want an investigation.


Evander Holyfield, the former undisputed heavyweight champion, stopped Czyz after five rounds during a tripleheader of heavyweights Friday night at Madison Square Garden.


In the other two scheduled 10-rounders, former WBC champion Lennox Lewis scored a roundly- booed, majority decision over Ray Mercer. And Tim Witherspoon, a former WBC and WBA champion, stopped Jorge Luis Gonzalez in the fifth round.


"This was a positive step toward a Tyson fight," Lewis said. "I'm not taking any easy fights. This was a preparation for a Mike Tyson fight. ... I don't think he is going to duck me."


Witherspoon, meanwhile, said he thinks he deserves a shot at Bowe.


"I think he's the best heavyweight out there today," said the 38-year-old Witherspoon, who earned his first world title in 1984. "Better than Mike Tyson."


Holyfield won his fight when Czyz was unable to answer the bell for the sixth round, complaining of blurred vision.


Ringside physician Dr. Rufus Sadler asked Czyz, "Can you go on?"


Czyz, a former middleweight champion, answered, "Not realistically."


Czyz complained that his vision began to blur after the second round because there was a foreign substance on Holyfield's gloves, but referee Robert Lipton said he checked the gloves and found them clean. After the fight, the gloves were impounded by the New York State Athletic Commission.


"Somebody put something on his gloves, and it's unfortunate because I'm going to have to go to the hospital in a little while," said Czyz, whose eyes still were burning at a post-fight news conference. Czyz said he was not accusing Holyfield.


Holyfield totally dominated Czyz, who seemed much the smaller man despite giving away only one half a kilogram to Holyfield, who weighed 96 kilograms. Holyfield bludgeoned Czyz in every round, forcing him to take a standing 8-count in the third round.


In the fifth and final round, Holyfield pinned Czyz on the ropes, and Czyz couldn't move him. Holyfield hurt Czyz late in the round with a right hand high on the head.


"This is the first time in a long time that I've fought somebody my size," Holyfield said. "I kind of rushed myself. ... It was easy to hit him, and all of a sudden I found myself trying to take that one big shot." Holyfield now is 32-3 with 23 knockouts, while Czyz has a career record of 44-7 with 28 knockouts.


Lewis won a close, unpopular decision over Mercer, who might have fought the fight of his life, chasing Lewis for almost the entire 10 rounds and scoring often with a hard left jab, a punch he had seldom used in the past.


Lewis, a former WBC champion who fights out of England, found Mercer a stubborn, unmoving target and while he paid dearly every time he hit Mercer, Lewis hit him often -- with rights and lefts and upper cuts. The right was his best punch, yet Mercer was never close to going down.


"I did the best I could," Mercer said. "Lewis took the best shots I had to give. I didn't think I lost the fight."


When the fight was over, Mercer had blood coming out of his mouth and nose and his left eye was almost closed. Lewis had swelling under his left eye and was obviously a spent fighter.


Judge Melvina Latham scored the fight even, 95-95, while the other two saw it narrowly for Lewis -- George Colon making it 96-95, Luis Rivera calling it 96-94. The AP scored it 97-93 for Mercer.


"I felt that I did enough to win," Lewis said. "I'm telling you, Ray Mercer has a tough chin."


Lewis, who weighed 111 kilograms, now is 29-1 with 24 knockouts, while Mercer, 106 kilograms, of the United States, is 23-4-1 with 16 knockouts.


Witherspoon unleashed a flurry of right hands in Gonzalez's corner and dispatched the Cuban native at 2:54 of the fifth round of their scheduled 10-rounder. Witherspoon landed the final punch of the eight-punch flurry on the top of Gonzalez's shaved head as he slumped to the canvas.


"I felt this was the best perforamance of my career," Witherspoon said. "I gradually gained confidence as the fight went on."


Witherspoon, who weighed 102 kilograms and fights out of the United States, now has a record of 45-4 with 30 knockouts. Gonzalez, 113 kilograms, who now lives in Las Vegas, fell to 24-2 with 23 knockouts.