By John F. McKenna (McJack): Saturday night’s disappointing performance by Odlanier Solis (17-1, 12 KO’s) has stirred up quite a bit of controversy. The punch that Vitali Klistchko (44-2, 39 KO’s) hit Odlanier with is very reminiscent of the “Phantom Punch” that Muhammad Ali KO’d Sonny Liston with in their second fight in 1965.
Many people who watched that fight were not convinced that Ali had hit Liston with a KO punch. The reaction to last Saturday nights KO loss by Solis was very similar to the reaction fans had in 1965 to Liston’s one round KO loss to Ali.
After watching the fight numerous times from many different angles, it is clear that Solis was hit by a shot in the temple area and that a thud could be heard when the punch landed. After Solis was hit there was a delayed reaction in which his legs seemed to be going in different directions as he fell to the floor. Apparently Solis was injured when he fell to the floor. Undoubtedly this is a controversy that will go on forever, just as the controversy over Alis “Phantom Punch” goes on to this day. Everyone has a different take on what actually happened. Many fans felt that Solis had bailed out when he fell to the canvas from a punch that did not appear to be that hard and then was unable to continue. Before the fight started Solis appeared to be intimidated by Klitschko and was unable to look at his face when the referee was giving his final instructions. This is not a good sign, although it does not always mean a fighter is going to lose. Witness the non stare down by Cotto against Mayorga a couple of weeks ago. Cotto would not look at Mayorga, but he still won the fight. You cannot always read too much into the stare down. Sonny Liston totally intimidated Floyd Patterson in their Heavyweight Championship fight in 1962. Patterson could not bring himself to look back at Liston’s baleful stare. Liston promptly went out and KO’d Patterson in the first round.
The pre fight theatrical show that Vitali Klitschko’s people put on would be intimidating to most fighters, especially a fighter who had fought only seventeen pro fights, mostly against second tier opposition. Couple this with the fact that the fight was held in Vitali’s adopted country of Germany. Vlad Klitschko went to Odlanier’s dressing room to oversee the hand wrapping by his handlers. At the referees instructions both Vitali and Vlad were glowering down at Solis who refused to look up. It was an obvious psych job that Vitali was attempting on Solis.
When the fight started things seemed to be going well for “Lasombra”. He landed a couple of pretty good right hands that did not appear to have any affect on the steel chinned Champion. Vitali as usual was holding his left hand down low, apparently in an effort to lure Solis into a trap. By the second half of the first round Klitschko had begun to establish his left jab as both an offensive and defensive weapon. Although Vitali did not land anything other than his jab he appeared to be setting a trap in which he would counter one of Solis’s right hand leads.
Everyone who viewed the fight was surprised at the outcome. It was not the outcome that anyone wanted. There have been numerous comments by Solis supporters who think the fight should have been ruled a No Contest. Unfortunately that is not the way is works. Even if the injury to Solis had not been caused by a knockdown Klitschko would have been the TKO winner. There are also some who think a rematch is in order. I do not think Klitschko, the bulk of the fans or the promoters would be interested in a rematch. Vitali was not thrilled about fighting Odlanier in the first place and only did so because he was the mandatory challenger. Solis will have a long rehab ahead to heal his injury. The big question for Vitali is who and when does he fight next? The next couple of months should be interesting.