By John F. McKenna (McJack): It is mind boggling to think that after all his dominating performances in the ring WBC heavyweight champion Vitali Klitschko (43-2, 40 KO’s) is finally starting to get some recognition from the American media. The recognition is way overdue and even now sometimes given grudgingly.
“Dr. Ironfist” has been a superstar in his adopted country of Germany and of course in the Ukraine for years. Vitali put on what may have been his finest performance on Saturday night when he TKO’d former light heavyweight and cruiserweight champion Tomasz Adamek (44-2, 28 KO’s) in ten rounds in Wroclaw, Poland.
At 40 years old Vitali put on a masterful performance against “Goral”. Legendary trainer Emanuel Steward, who was one of the HBO commentators for the fight, seemed to be the only commentator who really had a grasp of what they were witnessing. Emanuel pointed out that Klitschko uses subtle techniques to lure his opponents into a trap. Vitali leans forward to make his opponent think he has a chance of landing a power shot then uses his quick reflexes to pull back when he attempts a punch. Vitali in such situations usually follows up with bone jarring counter punches. As Emanuel also pointed out, Klitschko has the ability to throw punches while backing up. Many of the punches he throws are arm punches. But Vitali is so strong that his arm punches after a period of time have a devastating effect.
Even one of Steward’s co-commentators wondered aloud why Tomasz did not attempt to throw a right hand with Vitali’s left hand held down at his side. Emanuel let him know that if Adamek attempted a right hand all he would have hit at best would have been Klitschko’s shoulder after which Vitali would have countered with a short hook of his own.
The Vitali Klitschko of today is a far better fighter then he was when he fought Corrie Sanders and Lennox Lewis. He has perfected his skills so that he only rarely gets hit with solid shots. The criticism by some, that Klitschko is only a dominant fighter because of his size is ludicrous. That is like saying that a seven foot center in the NBA is a great basketball player only because he is taller than everyone else.
It is especially annoying when those involved in boxing pay Vitali a grudging compliment and follow it up with several criticisms. It is probable that if Vitali was from Philadelphia, Chicago or any city in America he would be hailed as a great fighter.
When one looks at Vitali’s statistics they are amazing. He has never been behind in a fight. He has the highest KO percentage of any heavyweight champion in boxing history. In the eight fights Klitschko has had since returning to the ring in October of 2008 he has not lost a round. In addition to all that Vitali has an iron chin and has never been knocked down in a fight.
It goes without saying that boxing fans in the west have been slow to appreciate how good Vitali Klitschko is. But to some extent that appears to be changing. There are some young fighters on the horizon such as Tyson Fury and Robert Hellenius. At the present time however they are no where ready to challenge Vitali Klistchko.