- Dan Rafael, ESPN Senior Writer
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Former heavyweight champion Lennox Lewis is quite familiar with Vitali and Wladimir Klitschko. He fought Vitali and acted out fight scenes in a movie with Wladimir.
Lewis correctly believes both are bound for the International Boxing Hall of Fame, but he thinks Vitali is the better of the heavyweight champion brothers, although most have Wladimir ranked ahead of his older brother.
"It is definitely the era of the Klitschkos," Lewis said. "The fact is that both of them hold titles and
they're really the kings of the heavyweight division right now. And as far as the Hall of Fame,
that's an automatic question. You know whenever have we had two heavyweight brothers ever
holding titles at the same time? I mean, that's an award in itself. So, yes, I would definitely induct
them on just that premise alone."
Lewis, of course, had his final fight against Vitali in 2003, stopping him in the sixth round on
a terrible cut to retain the championship before retiring. Lewis will be an analyst on the broadcast team that will call his mandatory title defense against Odlanier Solis in Cologne, Germany, on Saturday. He will be in a studio in New York to call the fight, which headlines the first boxing event to be televised by fledgling American premium cable network Epix (5 p.m. ET, replay at 10).
As for which brother is better? Lewis quickly said Vitali.
"Well, obviously the older one is always the better one, I say," said Lewis, whose only in-ring
experience with Wladimir was when they filmed fight scenes in the film "Ocean's Eleven." "Plus,
he's the most awkward in my books. He's very long and lanky, and you know he uses that long
reach and his height very well. He also throws a good combination punching, and he knows
how to keep you off balance, so definitely Vitali."
Lewis was 37 when he fought Klitschko and retired several months later. He is impressed that Klitschko has maintained his hunger even though he will turn 40 in July -- although Klitschko did spend nearly four years in retirement because of injuries. He reclaimed a title in his first fight back in 2008.
"He's got a good diet and he's still got a lot of drive in him to continue, which is great," Lewis said.
"I've passed my prime in that sense, and I just want to do other things. My big show was Mike
Tyson. So [Vitali is] still really looking for his big show, something to really give him a true challenge out there. But, until he gets that glory, I think he's still searching in that sense with all these different opponents until some guy steps up and says, 'You know, I'm the man to really give him that true challenge that he needs.'
"To come back from a layoff like he did, and to have just a tremendous fight winning the
championship back again is a tremendous accomplishment. And even to continue winning at this
-- at the age he's at and still have the drive that he does is amazing."