Controversial Fight With Holyfield
In early 1999, Lewis faced the biggest challenge of his career to that point when he fought IBF and WBA titleholder Evander Holyfield in a title unification bout. Their March fight was extremely controversial. The judges ruled the twelve rounds a draw, though most observers believed that Lewis defeated Holyfield easily and cleanly with Lewis connecting on 348 punches while Holyfield only managed 130. The crowd at the Madison Square Garden match booed the decision, and the sanctioning bodies ordered a rematch within six months.