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Lewis’s utter dominance of the heavyweight division had led many commentators to say that the only worthy and potentially dangerous opponent he had left to face was Mike Tyson.
The Briton’s easy victories last year over American Michael Grant and South African Frans Botha did little to generate interest in a sport that seemed to be producing fewer and fewer exciting and talented heavyweights.
Then along came Rahman, a little-known American who won the hearts of his South African hosts before causing one of the biggest upsets in boxing history with his fifth-round knockout victory over the seemingly invincible Lewis.
“This is absolutely great for boxing, it just makes it much more exciting,” said the fight’s publicist Terry Petiffer.
“It just goes to show that you can never take anything for granted especially where heavyweights are involved. You never know when one man is going to land that one shot and down his opponent,” he said.
Attention will now focus on the possibility of Rahman taking on Mike Tyson instead of the long-awaited Lewis-Tyson showdown.