Wladimir Klitschko – True Champ or True Chump?
By Gareth Steven Mills: It seems like an absolute lifetime ago that the heavyweight division was the forefront and the flagship of boxing. The nights of glitz and glamour in the Las Vagas casinos are well and truly in the past and have been replaced by a soggy wet night in Munich.
Today paints a different picture for the current generation of heavyweights. With not as much interest in the division, the majority of fans are now drawn to the lighter and middleweight divisions as many believe they are far more exciting and much more competitive. No longer do young wanna-be boxers answer the question of “what do you want to be?” With “I want to be the heavyweight champion of the world.”
So why is this the case? How did such an exciting weight division that dominated the boxing headlines for many years get pushed down the ladder? A lot of people will blame this on the dominance of the Klitschko brothers and in particular the younger of the 2 brothers Wladimir. I’ve heard many people say things along the lines of “he wouldn’t last a round with Tyson” or “Ali would have knocked 10 bells out of him.” While Klitschko’s style will always come under criticism, he remains the calm composed character that you always see. His 10 year undefeated streak is still going strong and doesn’t look like it’s getting dented anytime soon. He currently stands in second place in the longest raining Heavyweight champions with 8 years, only second to Joe Louis’ 11 year rein. Even with this remarkable achievement people will still say that he hasn’t fought any credible fighters and that the heavyweight division is full of bums.
With Wladimir still not having that all out war, toe to toe style fight that many of his predecessors have had in the past. I’m sure that if he did engage in an all out war fight, maybe he would get some much deserved credit from his critics. In his defence why would you slug it out with someone who you know you can beat comfortably in a style that suits him well. He may well be a victim of his own achievements.
If we look at Mike Tyson, although his style was a hell of a lot more exciting than Klitschko’s, minus the Spinks fight, he lost the big fights that he was involved in. He was never really the same after the loss to Buster Douglas. Lennox Lewis retired when he found his toughest test in older brother Vitali Klitschko. He had a lucky escape when the fight got stopped at the end of the 6th round after a deep cut over Klitschko’s eye. He had also got knocked out twice by Oliver McCall and Hasim Rahman. Back in 2003 and 2004, Wladimir lost twice within a year to Brewster and Sanders, losing both fights on TKO and in the process losing his WBO world title. The style in which he lost both fights could have shattered a lot of boxers. He lacked confidence and the ability to adapt his boxing when it isn’t going to plan. Today we see a different Wladamir that can remain clam and knows what to do when put under pressure. A lot of credit will go to Emanuel Steward who did come into his training camps at the later stages near the fight, but it takes a lot of self belief for someone to recover from the shattering defeats he had to come back from and dominate the heavyweight division in the calm, slick fashion that he does.
I think most of the previous heavyweight legends would have struggled with Wladimir’s pawing jab and the majority I feel would have been on the receiving end of a loss.
When you fight Wladimir Klitschko, you fight his fight and his fight alone. This may well be the case until he decides to hang up his gloves.
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