Would Wladimir Have Beaten Corrie Sanders in a Rematch?
By Erik Schmidt: It’s been six years since Wladimir Klitschko, then 27-years-old, was knocked out in the 2nd round by 37-year-old South African Corrie Sanders (39-2, 29 KO’s) in Germany. Klitschko, who had an impressive record of 40-1, with 37 knockouts, at the time of their fight. Wladimir seemed to have no clue whom he is was in the ring with, because he showed no respect for the hard-punching southpaw.
After a brief feeling out period in the 1st round, Sanders opened up with some big straight left hands and quickly had Klitschko on the canvas. Before it was over, Sanders knocked Wladimir down three more times before the fight was stopped in the 2nd round by referee Genaro Rodriguez. The disappointing thing is that a rematch was never lined up by Wladimir to try and avenge the defeat.
Instead, it was left to the harder-chinned older brother, Vitali Klitschko, to seek out revenge. Vitali did end up stopping Sanders a year later in 2004, but only after Vitali took some huge shots that would have likely put Wladimir in a coma had they landed. The Sanders that Vitali fought wasn’t the same fighter that Wladimir fought a year earlier.
Sanders looked much heavier around the middle in the fight with Vitali, and didn’t appear to have trained all that hard for the fight. Despite being heavier than he was in the Wladimir fight, Sanders gave Vitali a lot of problems and hit him with harder shots than Vitali had been hit with in his loss to Lennox Lewis.
My question is would Wladimir have beaten Sanders if there had been an immediate rematch. Obviously, it would have had to have been an immediate rematch, because at 37, Sanders didn’t have much time left before he would have been too old to beat any world champion.
Sanders had a lot of power in both hands and was one of the fastest heavyweights in the division. He never made it big because of injury problems and because he lived in South Africa where it was difficult to set up big fights due to the logistics. His fight with Wladimir wasn’t really competitive. In the early part of the 1st, Wladimir stalked Sanders around the ring, showing little respect for him, and throwing a lot of left hooks.
Sanders circled the ring, shooting his jab out every once in awhile. Near the end of the round, Sanders caught Klitschko with a solid left hand just as Wladimir was out of position from throwing a right hand that had missed. The German crowd seemed to gasp in unison because Sanders had really tagged Klitschko.
This seemed to give Sanders confidence causing him to move forward quickly and hit Wladimir with lead left hands. Wladimir looked shell shocked, like he didn’t know what to do. Sanders then rushed in and opened up with a flurry of shots ending with a straight left to the head that sent Wladimir down on the canvas where he laid there with his eyes shut for several moments.
Wladimir got up but quickly stumbled to the canvas after tripping. The referee still called it a knockout. It didn’t matter whether it was legit or not. Wladimir was in trouble and didn’t seem to know what to do. As the round ended, Sanders was teeing off with big left hands as Wladimir was backing up in terror.
In the 2nd round, Sanders immediately dropped Klitschko after hitting him with a left-right combination followed by another big left hand. Wladimir got to his feet and was met with a hail of punches from Sanders that ended with a huge left hand that put Klitschko down for the final time. Klitschko got to his feet, but the referee stopped the bout.
If the fight occurred now with Sanders still being the same age as he was then, I still think he’d probably beat Wladimir. The reason is because Klitschko probably wouldn’t know how to deal with Sander’s southpaw stance and his ability to get near him so quickly. At 6’4’ with fast hands and big power, Sanders would have easily been able to get by Wladimir’s jab.
Once Sanders got in range, his straight left hand would be deadly for the weak-chinned Wladimir. If the two had fought a rematch immediately after their first fight, I wouldn’t have given Wladimir any chance at winning. I think Sanders was just too quick and powerful for Wladimir to beat. It’s not surprising that Klitschko never tried hard to get a rematch with Sanders, because the South African probably would have ended Wladimir’s career if they had fought.
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