MEMPHIS, June 8 (UPI) -- Lennox Lewis hammered Mike Tyson over seven rounds Saturday night before knocking him out in the eighth and not only retained his WBC and IBF heavyweight titles but may have earned himself an elevated place in boxing history.
Lewis dropped Tyson with a vicious overhand right with 25 seconds left in the round and the former champion could not beat referee Eddie Cotton's count.
Lewis (40-2-1, 31 KOs) controlled the majority of the action as Tyson was a mere shell of his fighting self. The champion outboxed Tyson with steady jabs and right hands. Tyson (49-4), bleeding from both eyes after the methodical beating, had none of the punching power that was his trademark as champion.
"I wanted to prove to the people I am the best fighter, in the world -- on the planet," Lewis said. "I showed boxing who the best is, a pugilist specialist."
"In competition the best man has to win," Tyson said. "I am happy for him to give me a fight, the payday was wonderful, and if you could be kind enough, I would like to do it again.
"He fought magnificantly. He was the better fighter. He wore me down. He was goo big and strong. I just want everybody to be happy. I'm glad we both came out of it healthy."
Tyson appeared to run out of steam early and became a punching bag for the taller Lewis --- whose constant jabs and occasional uppercuts brought blood to Tyson's face and swelling over his right eye.
By the fourth round, Lewis was in complete control --- even though he had a point taken away from him in that round for holding.
Early in the eighth round, Tyson went to one knee after a solid right uppercut and received a standing eight count. Once the fight resumed, however, Tyson was unable to defend himself and went down for good when he took the big overhand right.
Statistics kept at ringside showed Lewis landed 193 punches to 49 for Tyson.