By Eric Thomas: WBC heavyweight champion Vitali Klitschko (36-2, 35 KOs) has filed a complaint against the WBC for making him fight two consecutive mandatory fights for his heavyweight title. Normally, a fighter only is expected to fight one per year, but Vitali, 37, who is fighting his WBC mandatory challenger Juan Carlos Gomez on March 21st, will be looking at fighting former heavyweight champion Oleg Maskaev, currently number #6 in the WBC, only four months later on. Instead of doing that, Vitali has filed a complaint to the Court of Arbitration for Sport to try and get the WBC order reversed.
Maskaev, a former WBC champion, lost his title to Samuel Peter in a 6th round stoppage in March 2008. In his fight after that, a 10-round unanimous decision over Robert Hawkins in September, Maskaev looked poor, showing little hand speed and missing often with his punches. Vitali, naturally, would prefer to fight an opponent that bring in much more money for him than a fight against a slightly faded Maskaev.
With popular heavyweights David Haye and Chris Arreola out there, Vitali would prefer to fight one of them in a non-mandatory defense rather than have to fight another mandatory back to back that makes him much less money. Vitali is already facing Gomez, 35, a German based former cruiserweight champion that many people in the U.S have neither hear of or care about.
Though Gomez has a good record of 44-1, 35 KOs, many of those wins have come as a cruiserweight and against lesser heavyweights in the division. The fight against Gomez will likely bring Vitali much less than he would get in a fight against Haye, who he was previously in line to fight until Vitali was informed by the WBC that he had to face his mandatory challenger Gomez next or risk being stripped of his title.
In Vitali’s last fight, a 9th round stoppage against WBC heavyweight champion Samuel Peter in October, he dominated Peter with his jab and long right hand, beating him up until Peter eventually quit on his stool in between rounds.
A fight against Maskaev would likely be an extremely one-sided affair at this point in Oleg’s career. Maskaev would have been a tough opponent for Vitali 10 years ago, but too much time has gone by since then and Maskaev’s hand speed, never good to begin with, has slowed dramatically over the years to the point where he’s now painfully slow. Maskaev would likely have a hard time laying a glove on Vitali, and it wouldn’t be a fight that boxing fans would be interested in seeing.
At the same time, at 37, Vitali would be one year older by the time he’s finished fighting both Gomez and Maskaev and it could hurt his chances of making big money down the road because of the likelihood of his body breaking down once again with another age-related injury.