Age not a factor in Klitschko – Chisora fight
By John F. McKenna (McJack): World Boxing Council (WBC) heavyweight champion Vitali Klitschko (43-2, 40 KO’s) will be taking on British heavyweight Dereck Chisora (15-2, 9 KO’s) in less than two weeks in Munich, Germany with Vitali’s WBC title belt on the line.
While some have been critical of “Dr. Ironfist” for taking on a fighter who, on paper at least, has lost two of his last three fights, there are some boxing observers who think the time is right for the 40 year old Klitschko to start showing his age.
First of all Chisora’s loss to Finland’s Robert Helenius (17-0, 11 KO’s) in December was highly controversial with the decision being widely criticized around the world. In fact the Ring dropped Helenius in its heavyweight rankings from 5th to 6th place after the fight, despite his officially winning the bout with Chisora. Many who viewed the fight gave Helenius only three of the twelve rounds in the match.
In Chisora’s fight against fellow Brit Tyson Fury (17-0, 12 KO’s) last July “Del-Boy” clearly entered the ring overweight, which caused him to put in a sub par performance. One of the excuses which circulated in the media for Chisora coming in overweight against Fury was that he was in a funk because he had not landed his hoped for title fight against Vitali’s brother, WBA/WBO/IBF/IBO and The Ring heavyweight champion Vladimir Klitschko (56-3, 49 KO’s).
Since the announcement was made that Chisora had landed a title shot against Vitali Klitschko he has been upbeat and exhibits a great deal of confidence. According to “Del-Boy” he will not be intimidated by Vitali and he has a game plan that will not only enable him to defeat Vitali, he will knock him out.
Of course we hear those kind of comments in the lead up to any heavyweight championship fight, but in Chisora’s case he appears to genuinely feel that the time has come for him to end the Klitschko dynasty.
Let’s take a serious look at Chisora’s chances against Vitali and whether or not age will indeed be a factor. Normally heavyweights fight at a higher level at a later age than what would be expected from boxers in the lower weight classes. But even heavyweights begin to decline in their abilities after the age of 35.
George Foreman and Evander Hollyfield have been exceptions. But Big George relied heavily on his strength, sheer power and boxing smarts when he staged his successful comeback. In his fight with Michael Moorer, Foreman was able to time Michael and finally scored his one punch KO after being outpointed for much of the fight.
Hollyfield has been fighting way over the hill for a number of years. Again in his case whatever success he has had while fighting at a relative advanced age has been due to his vast experience, conditioning and his sheer will.
When Vitali Klitschko retired four years due to various injuries, it was assumed that he would not be coming back. But after remaining inactive for four years “Dr. Steelhammer came back in October, 2008 at the age of 37 to win the WBC heavyweight crown against Sam Peter. Many boxing observers though that Vitali was making a big mistake challenging Peter without even having any tune up fights. Klitschko however amazed the boxing world by putting on a dominant performance against the “Nigerian Nightmare”. Vitali wound up stopping Peter, who quit on his stool after the 8th round. Klitschko as has been characteristic in his fights did not lose a single round against Peter.
In March 2011 Vitali Stopped Odlanier Solis (17-1, 12 KO’s) in the first round when he landed what appeared to be a grazing punch to the temple area of Solis’ head. The punch apparently short circuited Odlanier who toppled backwards to the canvas injuring his leg in his fall to the canvas. Many boxing fans thought that Solis was winning the fight during the 1st round and thought that if he had been able to continue, he may have won the fight. The reality is however that Vitali was timing Odlanier who had been aggressively moving forward until he received the knockout punch.
Against Tomasz Adamek (44-2, 28 KO’s) last September Vitali again fought a dominant fight with Tomasz not winning a round. Adamek was thoroughly beaten with the referee mercifully stopping the contest in the 10th round.
To date Vitali Klitschko has given no indication that he is slowing down. And while fighters can grow old seemingly in a few seconds during a fight as “Jersey” Joe Walcott did against Rocky Marciano in 1952, Klitschko thus far has shown no evidence of slowing down.
Most likely “Dr. Ironfist will demonstrate his athleticism as he did against Chris Arreola in September 2009. Klitschko and his superb trainer Fritz Sdunek will come up with a game plan to exploit the weaknesses of the inexperience Chisora. Hopefully “Del-Boy” succeeds in his attempt to make the fight competitive.