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Vitali Klitschko: the Greatest Heavyweight Champion of all Time – Pt 1

Vitali KlitschkoBy Roman Kolaczek: Boxing has been a mainstream sport for over a century. Many generations have had great heavyweight champions, many of them household names all over the world. Anytime a major fight between two outstanding heavyweights occurs, the same question arises: who is the greatest of all time? Today, most are saying that this extraordinary heavyweight is Muhammad Ali.

However, if you asked fans in the 1910s, you would get a different answer. They would probably have said Jack Johnson. A decade later, they would likely have said Jack Dempsey. By the 1940s, the answer would be Joe Louis, the great “Brown Bomber.” Later still, in the 1950s, many fans would have picked Rocky Marciano as the greatest. And of course, by the mid-1970s, most regarded Muhammad Ali as the greatest of all time. Since then, Ali has remained “The Greatest,” even in spite of many great champions following him, such as Larry Holmes in the 1980s, Mike Tyson in the 1980s and 1990s, Lennox Lewis in the 1990s, Evander Holyfield in the 1990s, and now, the Klitschko brothers.

As they say, Muhammad Ali could “float like a butterfly and sting like a bee.” However, without insulting Ali, it may be time to ask whether his qualities are still enough to define history’s greatest heavyweight champion. It may now be time to consider another warrior as the heavyweight division’s new “greatest.”

I propose that it is time to honor Vitali Klitschko as history’s all-time greatest heavyweight champion. No doubt, many will consider this suggestion bold. But let us look at the facts. Klitschko has fought most of the leading contenders, and after 15 years of boxing and 44 fights, he has an incredible 90% knockout percentage. Not only has Klitschko won most of his fights, but, incredibly, he has rarely lost a single round in any of his bouts. His only two career losses were due to injuries suffered in fights that he was handily winning. The two fighters who beat Klitschko – Chris Byrd and Lennox Lewis – were behind on the scorecards and on their way defeat when Klitschko was compelled to retire because of injuries, and only because of injuries.

In 2008, after four years of retirement, Klitschko launched a comeback, regaining the heavyweight title and demolishing all eight opponents he fought. Dangerous, highly rated fighters such as Samuel Peter, Chris Arreola, Juan Carlos Gomez, and Odlanier Solis, among others, have faced Klitschko, only to be pounded into TKO or KO defeat. That Klitschko could be so dominant after coming back from four years of inactivity is amazing. At the age of 40, Klitschko is still in perfect shape and continues to deliver the high quality athletic performances that are normally expected only from men ten years younger.

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