Tag Archives: Klitschko brothers

Tyson’s Fury vs Kevin Johnson’s Holmes

Tyson Fury will have his ears full of Kevin Kingpin Johnson before they ever step into the ring. Johnson has been conjuring up the distant memory of former WBC champ Larry Holmes to assist him in rattling the cage of young Fury before their 12-round  non-title showdown at the Belfast Odyssey Arena on December 1st. 

Fury Time

Fury Time

That’s in Northern Ireland for those discriminating folk who want to consider how raucous a venue it is likely to be. If past forms hold true, Fury should easily outpoint Johnson who disgraced himself against the last big man he faced, Vitali Klitschko.

Fury saw his big fight against Denis Boytsov fall out after Boytsov said he wasn’t ready for the step up in class in spite of being Ring ranked if you want to talk about some bogus rankings. Johnson was willing to take the fight on 3 weeks notice, probably because few would pay to see him in the states. The Brits and Euros pay more because that’s where the heavyweight interest has gone thanks to American horizontal heavyweights getting knocked over by the dozens overseas these days, some great sport for overseas fans.

Heck, the Klitschko brothers’ long time American sparring partner, Johnathon Banks, who has been based in Germany for a number of years, he came over to the states with some of the Klitschko magic and took on the latest, greatest, next big HBO/GBP/Al Hayman promoted American heavyweight savior, Seth Mitchell. Banks knocked him down so many times that Mitchell ended in a fair big man imitation of the wondrous Zab Judah chicken break dancing jig before being counted out.

Yes, Virginia, after more than a century of ruling the Big Man division, Santa Claus no longer passes out world titles to American heavies. Might have to wait out another generation before fat Americans get some lean and mean back to their form to make a decent fight.

To the particulars, Fury is bigger than Vitali, 6-9 with an incredible 85” reach, and he’s as busy as Vitali used to be a few years back. Though not known as a big puncher, anyone that big has something of a punch, and with his volume I wouldn’t be surprised if he stopped Johnson, but only if Johnson actually shows up to fight.

Of course if Johnson reprises his Vitali fight, he’ll cower on the ropes all covered up as he fumbles for his tough guy sunglasses. Fury can throw one punch and then go nurse his pints of Guinness at ring center until the last bell rings and win all 12 rounds.

Yeah, I shouldn’t make fun of hard working fighters, but Johnson is special. He fights with his flapping mouth in a fair imitation of British Heavyweight Audley Harrison, sounding off about how he’s gonna bring the pain, ie:

“I’ll beat Fury so bad he’ll want to retire.”

Whatever floats his petticoats to make it to the ring come fight night. I guess we need to acknowledge the fractional chance of an upset. Fury might be sick or otherwise unwell, and he is still something of a kid at age 24 trying to grow into that 85″ reach, but well or otherwise, this kid loves a good fight, something Johnson is not known for. Fury has been upgrading his training and improving his boxing technique in anticipation of a title challenge next year, but he’s still weak on defense, Johnson’s biggest prayer and only hope.

Prayer and hope in extra measure are needed since Johnson is neither a heavy hitter nor a volume puncher. The best win on his record is a squat Aussie slugger, Alex Leapai, who put him in a fight before being knocked out, so that has to be respected of Johnson who seems well on his way to becoming a traveling journeyman heavyweight.

Kingpin, Have American Passport, Will Travel.

He seems destined to sport some shiny new Fury black and blue tattoos to take back to America where the sun don’t shine on the heavyweight division….never more, never more…..

That’s just the way it is Today. How many Tomorrows that may be will be up to Kevin Johnson who will be ready to be locked and loaded into the ring this coming Saturday, but can he pull the trigger or will he soil up on the ropes again? 

Corrie Sanders–R.I.P. Champ

Corrie Sanders tragically passed from this world in a senseless act of murderous gunplay while celebrating a family occasion at his restaurant in South Africa.

Giving Vitali Grief

Giving Vitali Grief

He’ll always be remembered for having the cojones to fight the Klitschko brothers, Wlad and Vitali back to back, his two signature bouts that defined his late blooming legacy.

 

Go find the fights on YouTube. That’s all you need to know about the fighter that Corrie Sanders was.

Corrie Sanders the Man will be greatly missed by his family and friends.

                                       R.I.P. Champ

 

7/7–Wlad Klitschko Rematches Tony “Tiger” Thompson

Tony The Tiger Thompson gets a rematch of one of the more respectable title challenges given to Wlad Klitschko from 4 years ago. The bout takes place July 7th at Stade de Suisse in Berne, Switzerland at an approximate elevation of 1800′, creating potential stamina problems for any fighter who may be elevationally challenged. While 1800′ doesn’t represent much elevation by my way of thinking for a trained athlete, I’ve come to find that some folks are more predisposed to weakness at any significant elevation gain, so we shall see what if any factor the elevation plays.

Wlad goes for his 19th title victory against 2 title losses, one of the best all time heavyweight title records, yet still looks for respect outside the European sphere where he currently defends his title. His last defense in the US came in 2008 against the undefeated southpaw, Sultan Ibragimov, a rather tepid technical boxing display resulting in an wide unanimous decision for Wlad.

This will be his 12th straight defense since regaining his championship form with the defeat of IBF titleholder Chris Byrd in 2006. Ironically, it was then WBO titlest Byrd who started Wlad on his title path back in 2000 as well as being the first of his record setting title matches against southpaw fighters, his 7th with the Thompson rematch. Wlad is currently 5-1 with 3 KOs and one KO loss in these lefty matches.

Dr Steelhammer vs The Tiger

Dr Steelhammer vs The Tiger

Thompson says that he was hindered in the first fight by a damaged knee that he has since had two surgeries on. Klitschko has been mopping the floor against the best of the heavyweight contenders whereas Thompson has been more inactive against lesser competition. His best win was against fringe contender Chazz Witherspoon, but all 5 wins were by knockout.

And it’s a knockout that Tony Thompson will be looking for since it’s just impossible to ever outbox either of the Klitschko brothers, the most dominant heavyweight boxers by % of rounds won in history as near as I can tell by available scoring records. Thompson will be a few months shy of his 41st birthday though, not a good bet to knockout a champion sporting a 57-3, 50 KO record, the best since Joe Louis was last dominating the division.

However, Wlad is 36 years of age and looked slow and tentative against Jean Marc Mormeck in his last defense, almost not knowing what to do in the first round when Mormeck smartly manuveured into range and also froze in the moment. Perhaps he was giving the former French champion too much respect, and he did take care of business just a few rounds later, but Thompson is a much bigger threat powerwise.

Wlad is by nature a congenitally cautious boxer to the point of maddening his critics into a rabid froth anytime his name comes up in conversation. Even his highlight 2nd round KO of Ray Austin so many moons ago, quintuple lightning strikes of consecutive left hooks came out of the blue after staying well out of range with nothing but jabs to show up to that point.

Cautious to a fault, sure, but the proof is in the pudding, and it’s been a dominant career in spite of painful setbacks during the early years.

Don’t see how Tony Thompson can pull off the trick, but he will be looking for the one perfect shot during the 36 minutes of the bout. They all hone their skills and dream of their moment as any of us might, so that’s as good a reason as any to tune in for the final results.

A French Marksman Takes Aim in Germany–Klitschko vs Mormeck

Wlad Klitschko is the unified heavyweight champion looking to defend his WBA/IBF/WBO/IBO and Ring belts against French Marksman and longtime cruiserweight champion Jean Marc Mormeck in theESPRIT arena, Düsseldorf March 3rd.

Mormeck’s last big title bout was a thrilling exchange of knockdowns while defending his WBC/WBA belts in 2007 against Mr. David Haye, a bout he lost by knockout. He retired for two years before coming back as a heavyweight, beating two good fringe contenders, Timur Ibragimov and Fres Oquendo, after starting with the bullish journeyman Vinny Madalone. Unfortunately, all the bouts took place in France, so not many are currently refreshed with his current fighting form other than knowing that all the bouts were fairly close in his hometown environs.

Jean the Marcsman

Jean the Marcsman

By the time of the bout he will have been off another year, but he did have a 14th heavyweight ranking on Boxrec by last year, so the bout does have legitimacy even if it appears as though he has no chance. The biggest problem is that he is not only 39 yrs old and inactive, but that he will give away 7 inches and 30 lbs or so against the champion, not a traditional recipe for success.

Young Mike Tyson was of similar size and crouching fighting style and had much success in his heyday against much larger fighters, but nobody ever mistook Jean Marc Mormeck for Mike Tyson at any point in their careers.

The fight may rightly seen as a stay busy fight for Wlad who is the most active heavyweight since the legendary reign of Joe Louis who had similar problems lining up compelling fighters after he had beaten all the top contenders out of sight. The justification of the fight could be said to be a tribute to the fine career of the often overlooked French fighter deserving of one last go for the big prize, a tradition much in the same vein where Billy Miske got his title shot against Jack Dempsey and John Henry Lewis got his title shot against Joe Louis.

In an interesting development, Wlad recently lost a bout against painful kidney stones, needing to cancel the previous Mormeck date for December 10th of last year after emergency surgery the week before the fight. Perhaps Mormeck can take advantage of a weakened Wlad, however unlikely that may seem.

Wlad vs Jean Marc

Wlad vs Jean Marc

Amazingly, the 35 year old Wlad has actually boxed a few less rounds in many more fights, 260 rounds in 59 fights to 265 rounds and 40 fights for Mormeck. Their ages aren’t really that far apart either, so they are closer in experience even if widely disparate in size.

We have recently seen how fighters have been adopting extreme defensive stategies to stay in the match against the Klitschko brothers, but other than making everyone look very awkward in the ring, their tactics have done little to stem the one sided bouts. I look for a traditional Wlad bout with him strafing Mormeck with his jab until he can land the knock out punch, a left hook or straight right.

 Mormeck can bob and weave to cause some problems initially, but can the championship credentials of Jean Marc Mormeck change the inevitable result of this bout? We will have to tune in March 3rd to find out.

Vitali Klitschko vs Derek Chisora–The Consolation Prize

Now that’s some kind of consolation prize Derek Chisora received after losing two of his last three fights against Tyson Fury and Robert Helenius, the chance to fight the bigger, stronger, and grayer Klitschko brother Vitali.

Best Pals
Best Pals

Vitali Klitschko has been invincible in his very active comeback after a 4 year retirement, 8-0, 6 KO and scarcely dropping a round in the process, but he’s now 40 years old and says this is his last year in boxing. We shall see since both the Klitschko brothers have been minting their own money at their choosing with their stellar performances. It’s a stretch to think that he can really retire from free silly money at his beck and call.

Now it’s true enough that the heavyweight ranks have been decimated at the hands of the brothers, so enter the latest dancing bear for Vitali to spar before spearing for the adoring crowds. Previous bouts against similar styled squat bodied Sam Peter, Chris Arreola and Odlanier Solis were easily handled before the knockouts.

Derek Chisora has made a handy negotiating tool for the brothers in maneuvering the forever flaky Mr David Haye into the ring, so now Chisora finally gets a well deserved if unearned chance for the upset of the decade if he can pull it off. He’s young, strong, and cocky even if he showed up double fat against Fury. He compounded that by showing up double dumb with a clowning fight plan of foul tactics against Helenius who was ripe for the taking with a damaged hand and shoulder that required surgery.

Maybe Chisora really thinks he can push Vitali hard enough to pop a wheel loose or strip some gears. Then again perhaps his promoter Frank Warren sees a short shelf life for the undisciplined lad and is making a final roll of the dice.

The grande gala commences on February 18th at the Olympiahalle in Munich, so win, lose, or draw, once again the rich history of heavyweight boxing notches another fight for the record books.

Russian Roulette–Povetkin vs Chagaev–Helenius vs Liakhovich

An amazing Russian heavyweight elimination tourney of sorts takes place in Messehalle, Erfurt, Germany on Saturday, August 27 when Alexander Povetkin squares off against Ruslan Chagaev for the WBA “Regular” Championship while Robert Helenius takes on Siarhei Liakhovich for the WBA/WBO Intercontinental belts.

OK, Robert Helenius and Siarhei Liakhovich are the odd men out, being only the amiable next door Finnish and Belarussian neighbors rather than pure Russian rivals, but it’s a great time to cash in on the Russian connection while they’re still around.

Ruslan Chagaev

Ruslan Chagaev

Povetkin has the most impressive amateur credentials with his Olympic Gold Medal, but Chagaev comes in with his World Gold medal. Both were heavily promoted all action style fighters at the start of their pro careers, but have petered out of late due to an overwhelming lethargy in their fights and careers.  

Perhaps there really is only a single bullet left in their collective chambers that they mean to use up in this Russian Roulette elmination bout. A few years ago and interest in the bout would have been notable, but today, who really cares that much other than their mothers?

Helenius and Liakhovich were also heralded amateurs before rising to some acclaim in the pro ranks.

Robert Helenius

Robert Helenius

Helenius, however, is the only legitimate threat to the Klitschko reign, being a supersized heavy himself with plenty of heart, chin, and punch to handle all previous challenges.

Liakhovich is no wilting flower, though. The former WBO champ had considerable talent that he never fully realized, so this looks like the last go round for him and one huge obstacle to overcome since his last big bout, a wide decision loss to big Niko Valuev some 3 yrs ago.

The White Wolf has the coolest boxing moniker by a long shot, but he’s the oldest and most inactive of this foursome, age 35 with only two fights in last 3 years, both knockouts over modest opposition. Helenius gives the impression of a young Cassius, a lean and hungry look about him at only age 27 and improving fight by fight. The White Wolf may have other plans, so they got to fight to prove who really wants it.

Could really be a corker if Liakhovich shows up in great shape ready for a fight.

White Wolf

White Wolf

Returning to the scene of “The Big Names,” Povetkin and Chagaev have spent the last few years circling the collective drain at what should have been their peak years. Chagaev at least has the excuse of a debillitating blood disease, hepititus, whereas Povetkin just up and quit on himself after a great start. His brain trust has tried to remake him in the image of Teddy Atlas, but that was like a really bad hair day everyday with a future as rosy as a Viva Las Vegas Sunday morning shotgun wedding.

Povetkin

Povetkin

I like Chagaev’s experience here, but likely this is a decision and we all know judges don’t always respect the sweet science as much as they do cushy offciating assignments. Any close decision is likely to go to Povetkin who has no such health restrictions in making fights as does Chagaev with his blood testing woes.

Be nice for the division and future development of boxing in Russia if these guys put forth a dynamic bout, but their current realty is more like a sedentary effort suffices.

It’s gonna be up to Helenius and Liakhovich to salvage the card, but regardless, Helenius looks to be a headliner for the next few years, so there you have it, new talent rising and old talent falling off as it should be.

Who BeatsThe Klitschko Brothers in the Great Pantheon of Boxing?

It is well and truly astounding how much the Klitscko brothers have shaken up the world of the heavyweight division since they turned pro. They have been alternately lauded and derided in the most outrageous fashions imaginable for well over a decade now, leaving no sharp stone unturned nor any unruly fan unruffled. 

Their records are such that many in the mainstream boxing press have begun talking them up for the IBHOF, so the time is ripe to examine the best heavyweights in history to ascertain who might be able to beat the Klitschko brothers in their current form.

This 2005 IBRO list is probably the most comprehensive consensus of any of the dozens of heavyweight lists that can be easily conjured up. One may dicker over the individual rankings, but most would agree that these would be top 20 heavyweights overall at the time of the poll .

http://www.ibroresearch.com/?p=52

The IBRO heavies I have selected go against the Klitschkos naturally represent the top echelon of the Great Pantheon of boxing with varied styles to challenge them. I only chose those with a career that shows they could put up a championship quality fight against the brothers. These are best to best match ups, not worst to best as so many unartful types are want to make.

I grouped them into 4 main style categories so that broadly similar fighters can be compared and contrasted for differences in how the fights might go. This exercise is as much about application of styles as it is about the eras and the individual talents, so, lets look at the greats the Klitschos will be facing. 

Boxer/movers: Muhammad Ali, Larry Holmes, and Gene Tunney.

Swarmer/bob and weavers: Joe Frazier, Mike Tyson, and Jack Dempsey.

Strongman/Clubber: George Foreman

Boxer/puncher: Lennox Lewis, Joe Louis, and comeback version of George Foreman.

The Klitschko Credentials

Wladimir

Wladimir

Wlad has compiled a 14-0, 10 KO record against the best in the division since his last bizarre loss 7 yrs ago. Vitali is 10-0, 8 KO from his last loss some 8 years ago, including his 4 years of inactive retirement. Nobody has come close to beating either brother during this period as they have steadfastly eliminated almost 2 generations of Ring contenders or ABC beltholder types between them.

Now that Wladimir Klitschko easily if ungracefully snuffed the threat of the Ring ranked #3 British poser, Mr. David Haye, the 35 year old Wlad could comfortably retire with a HOF quality record of 56-3, 49 KO. after having dominated the division in a fashion never seen before.

Vitali the Elder

Vitali the Elder

The same could be said of his 40 yr old brother, Vitali who sports a 42-2, 39 KO record. Vitali even has his own superfight scheduled in a couple of months against the great Polish champ, Tomasz Adamek, now Ring ranked #2 behind Wlad the Ring champ and Vitali the WBC champ and #1 Ring challenger.

Both Klitschkos are prodigious boxers, winning some 90% of all rounds contested between them, as well as knockout artists, both approaching the 90% mark for their careers, unprecedented for all the fighters that predated them. They are also both highly accurate punchers, Wlad due to his incredible jab that is 90% of his offense, and Vitali due to his own jab and straight rights, 90% of his offense, so it’s near impossible to get past their offense into range for a clean shot at them.

The KO in KlitschKO

The KO in KlitschKO

Wlad not only holds the Ring, IBF, WBO, IBO, and WBA belts, but he is also 5th in the Ring P4P ratings and #2 in Boxrec P4P ratings behind Manny Pacquiao. Vitali is #3 in Boxrec P4P ratings with a record 4 yr layoff between consecutive title wins, so their P4P accomplishments transcend the heavyweight division.

Wlad is 17-2, 14 KO in career title fights and Vitali is 12-2, 10 KO for those interested in arcane title comparisons, but titles are a poor substitute for the incredible gauntlets they have passed through on the way to ruling over their dominion.

Klitschko critics still abound though, the complaints ranging from “boring fighters” to “fighting bums in a weak division” to “any great heavyweight from the past would beat them” or my favorite, “too robotic,” among the more popular. Typically the complainants point to past losses as an excuse to ignore their unprecedented successes, a rather primitive denial of the real records.

Since Rocky Marciano was the only undefeated great heavyweight, one would presume that he would automatically be touted as the greatest heavyweight ever, but he isn’t, proving the hypocrisy of that mode of rationalization.

Fantasy fights often roust a primordial instincts in some to rally to their “tribe” or their “favorite” no matter the reasoned analysis discussed, so this article is doubtless not their cup of tea, but given the nature of the Klitscho dominance and their unique style of boxing, the fantasy fights available to them have never been hotter for true boxing fans still tuned in to the current scene.

Philosophically, fantasy fight fans generally fall into two main camps:

1. Golden oldies rule the roost with more heart, discipline, and native fighting ability than moderns.

2. Modern fighters are more scientifically trained and bigger, stronger, and in better shape than ancient greats.

There are elements of truth to both camps, but life and boxing are considerably more complex than two subjective, unproven points of view. It’s important to remember every fighter was modern in his era before falling into the “retired” category which the brothers will be doing soon enough.

Credible analysis should compare career timelines as well as styles since every fighter starts from scratch and then falls into peaks and valleys representative of their eras and their ablities. No fighter is perfect and all have assorted good and bad days at the office no matter the result. Analysis should have proper context or we could end up having the poorest versions of a fighter against the best versions of other fighters, not valid superfights in the Great Boxing Pantheon for sure.

Since the brothers will be going up against a range of great fighters, let’s start with their strengths and weaknesses so as to not repeat them for every match.

Wlad Strengths: Utilizes his great height, reach, strength and footwork to become one of the best defensive fighters ever, rarely getting hit clean, as well as becoming one of the best ever offensive fighters. He has dominated fights with just his left jab, but he also has a solid right hand and one of the devastating and versatile left hooks in boxing that he seldom uses for some reason. See the last round of the first Peter fight and the KOs of Chambers and Austin as examples of that left hook as well as early and late round knockout power.

Wlad Weaknesses: Has some shaky balance after throwing his right hand which has limited it’s use. He has been hurt and down in the past from big punches, primarily against Corrie Sanders, and has a preference for a hard clinch to a slug out, counter, or brawl, probably because because his timing and mental makeup is all wrong for these inside styles of boxing. Periodically he marks ups  some, but it hasn’t really been a problem because his formidable defense and offense control most of any fight. Had a strange stamina issue earlier in his career that seems to be corrected with some mental discipline.

Vitali strengths: Also utilizes his great height, reach, strength and footwork to become one of the best defensive fighters ever, rarely getting hit clean, as well as becoming one of the best ever offensive fighters. His ability to take a clean punch to the head or body is without question. His ring activity, balance and stamina are excellent and he’s not shy about engaging a slugout or nifty counter as needed. He controls fights with superior command of timing and range such that there is never a need for a crude brawl. He has a heavy handed type of power that few can outlast.

Vitali weaknesses: Though his boxing abilities are still at a zenith in his 40th year, he is 40 now with all the ravages that implies that could cause him to become unstuck in a hard fight as he likely has coming up against Adamek. He has lost 2 fights by “fluke” injury, a torn shoulder and the most shredded face ever seen in modern boxing, so it’s difficult to really count those oddities as a weakness, but like his brother, he has also been marking up slightly in a few fights as expected at his age.

It is telling that both the brothers are pure headhunters like Ali, almost never throwing a body shot, and like Ali, they are arm punchers rather than leveraged punchers as pure sluggers are. Defensively, they also lean away and pull straight back from attacks just like Ali in spite of gross overall differences in style from Ali, so just like Ali, they get away with breaking the rules of boxing convention because it suits their talents and styles.

And like Ali, they absolutely do infuriate their critics to an unhealthy degree, even if they are polar opposites in personalities compared to the flamboyant over the top Ali.

Let’s kickoff the first round with the modern boxer/punchers who were still active in during the start Klitschko era, Lennox Lewis and George Foreman. As such, all fights will be contested under current 12 round, 10 ounce gloves championship rules, a rule that I concede favors the brothers, yet is the most inclusive comparison for all the fighters.

Lewis did pull out a win by the skin of his teeth against the still developing Vitali before hustling off to premature retirement without passing GO to collect the riches of a lifetime. In short, he didn’t fancy the lucrative rematches HBO and fans were begging him for. Critics moan about Lewis’ age, weight, and condition, but the boxing consensus was that he was at the top of his game coming in. I’d favor the improved brothers overall, but perhaps others might chose a younger version of Lewis, say sometime between Golota in 1997 and Tua in 2000, so fair enough, but remember, the brothers are a grade above Golota and Grant, the big men Lewis did defeat handily and wouldn’t be suckered in by Lewis’ brawling tactics in those fights at this stage.

The comeback George seemed to avoid all the big boxer types, but the truth is the 41 yr old version who had Holyfield hanging on for dear life in the closing rounds was good enough to compete with the improved brothers or any heavy in history. His best shot would be against Wlad who has the weaker whiskers, but I’d favor the brothers overall. Still, who can forget a prime Shannon Briggs going on the run after tasting Big George’s power in his last fight nearing 50 yrs of age?

The prime clubber/strongman George, now that’s an all time force of nature right there. Thing is, that Foreman was a wide swinging distance slugger who could struggle against boxers, not a winning recipe for the best distance boxers in history, and he never beat a supersized heavy in his prime. Still, we cannot blithely ignore the chances of one of the strongest, most awkward sluggers in heavyweight history who could cut off the ring quicker than credited, but it’s a different fight going up against the size and style of the brothers. Sam Peter was a poor man’s Foreman as one example. It’s too easy to pick the greater legacy in fantasy matchups as the usual suspects are want to do, but I favor Foreman slightly against Wlad and Vitali against Foreman.

Primo in Numbers

Primo in Numbers

Joe Louis credentials are without question, a near perfect boxer/puncher with perhaps his only real weakness being a leaky defense and shaky chin that sees him on the deck in a number of fights, but then again he was in a BUNCH of title fights! He has the best historical record against supersized heavies such as Primo Carnera, Buddy Baer, and Abe Simon, knocking them out handily by utilizing his underrated footwork, timing and combinations. However, the Klitschkos in their current form are vastly superior to Joe’s big fellas, and both use a new style that leverages their size and strength, also with underrated footwork. Louis was somewhat easy to hit, and as superior boxers at range, the brothers are among the most accurate punchers in boxing history, 99.98% pure head hunters with body shots a rare oddity.

Could Joe ever make it inside for his short counters he was so feared for?

Maybe, but I find it hard to make this more than an even fight in that I feel the 12 rd distance under modern conditions greatly favors the brothers since Joe was something of a slow starter. It’s only the incredible ring achievements of Louis that has me rate him in an otherwise poor style matchup for him. The fight would surely have a lot of tension to it because of the quality of the threats and the boxing nuance.

Let’s move on to the boxer/mover types, Muhammed Ali, Larry Holmes, and Gene Tunney.

Of the three, Gene Tunney is unquestionably the most completely skilled fighter in heavyweight history, he had all the smarts, talents and attributes save size and strength, but does he give up a lotta size, a half foot and some 60 lbs easily. There is little doubt he could move about the ring and avoid most of the punches for 12 rds, but it’s doubtful he’d get credit for a defensive fight only. His offensive forte was at range, another bad style match up against the brothers that gives him little chance.

Holmes vs Cooney

Holmes vs Cooney

Holmes a bigger fighter at 6-3, 210-215 or so, the perfect size for his era which has since fallen by the wayside of today’s heavies. The only titlest he ever beat was Ken Norton in a highly disputed decision with no rematch. The ugly truth was that the Klitschko sized Cooney was outboxing him on the cards before tiring and losing form and points with lowblows. Both brothers are considerably more experienced and proven than Cooney who had feasted on name fighters well past their best to leverage his title shot. Maybe the Holmes rapier jab could open up their faces for a stoppage, his only chance since he cannot outbox them, a distant cutter’s chance for him.

Not the big Ali fan like so many are, but his chances are compellingly intriguing. First off, I can’t see any form of the comeback version of Ali being competitive in spite of 1972 being his best overall year of boxing against quality contenders and 74 being his best win ever against Foreman not to mention the legendary Thrilla in Manila. None of those fights is remotely akin to a Klitschko fight save gloves and trunks.

Ali vs Terrell

Ali vs Terrell

No sir, we’re talking about a prime, peak ali here, 1966-1967 that is an overrated portion of his career, but one that sees him outclass a near Klitschko quality boxer in Ernie Terrell. Ali was at the height of his mercurial quicksilver reflexes that operated in unpredictable free form, sometimes disappearing for portions of a fight, but then striking without warning to change the fight.

There is no doubt his flighty feet were faster and more unpredictably frustrating than Tunney or Holmes, and he had blinding combination capability when he wanted to let loose, but then again, both the brothers are very patient defensive minded boxers with excellent footwork not prone to wild goose chases and hayemakers. I like Ali’s chances enough to make this an even type of unpredictable fight. Could be a stinker or classic, all dependent on what form of Ali showed up in the ring. Terrell held his own in the early going before damaging his eye on the ropes, even roughing up Ali inside with some rights, but the brothers are pure outside boxers, so that fight has little relevance overall other than Terrell being tallish with a good jab and experience that were useless with his damaged eye.

Finally, the last grouping I give the best chances too, the swarmer/bob and weavers, Joe Frazier, Mike Tyson, and Jack Dempsey.

Actually, I don’t give Smokin Joe much of a chance because he’s down on power compared to Dempsey and Tyson and slower to boot, but he could create some difficulty for as long as he lasted due to the brothers reluctance to throw hooks and uppercuts, perfect offensive weapons against low slung bobbing noggins. Frazier did beat the massive Buster Mathis, a technical boxer who never leveraged his size and strength like the brothers, but Big George destroyed him at distance with crude clubbings, not encouraging against the best controlled distance fighters in history.

Jack the Giant Killer

Jack the Giant Killer

Dempsey destroyed some good sized heavies including a similar fighter to the brothers in Jess Willard, but his was the era of 6 ounce gloves, not the 10 ouncers of modern heavyweight championship boxing, so it’s hard to envision Dempsey doing the same damage as he did against Willard, probably the worst beating in boxing history, broken this and knocked loose that. Still, Dempsey used a cautious style to open before exploding, and that element of surprise and his cat quick reflexes coupled with some of the best combination punching in heavy history makes a prime Dempsey a gamer in any fight.

Last, but certainly not least, the young Mike Tyson when he had a professional Hall of Fame team training and managing him was a near perfect fighter to match the Klitschkos, winning almost every contested round and knocking out most every fighter, usually within a few rounds that always seemed to end up as a highlight. Tyson has a record against Big Men to match Joe Louis, his best win coming over the Klitschko sized Tony Tucker who had similar talents even if he fought in a different style to the brothers. Tucker was in his natural prime for the bout with plenty of experience and undefeated, a very underrated fighter given that he was never beaten again until many years later well past his best against a prime Lennox Lewis.

Bruno vs Tyson

Bruno vs Tyson

Tyson, like Dempsey, had very good handspeed and footwork with combination punching that was devastating once they slipped the gaps inside, but Tyson had some extra 25 lbs of power added to his mix and fought under near identical modern rules.

I favor Tyson who was as naturally gifted as any fighter in history and for a brief time maximized his talents with the best professional team ever assembled in boxing. Nobody is gonna beat the brothers at their range, so it’s gonna have to be an inside style fighter although Tyson was best as a midrange combination puncher rather than a classic inside brawler like Dempsey could be.

So, if I were to rate their chances on a numerical scale, here’s the list.

1. Mike Tyson

2. Muhammad Ali

3. Jack Dempsey

4. Joe Louis

5. George Foreman

6. Lennox Lewis.

7. Joe Frazier

8. Larry Holmes

9. Gene Tunney

There’s a large gap between #1, my only favorite and the rest. The #2, 3, & 4 are all competitive fights that swing either way depending on who was on and who was off on the day of the fight, so it’s the first four greats listed who realistically have a decent shot at dethroning the Klitschkos.

Subjective Fantasy Fight outcomes really don’t mean much to the Great Pantheon of Boxing when we know even big favorites can be upset. Let’s delve deeper into the established criticisms of this era.

Some moan about the Klitschko’s not beating anyone and their era being a weak one, but they said the same thing about Joe Louis. The history is such that the heavyweights have never fully satisfied boxing insiders and boxing fans in any era, all being derided for their weak heavyweights, so the weak argument is just that, a terribly weak argument that has never held water.

Same deal with them not beating anyone. Facts are that when they turned pro, they were obligated by contracts to fight on a German promotional banner that was also starting out, so there were problems breaking into the elite US market at the time. Vitali did fly over for a few Mike Tyson fights in the late 90s to drum up interest, but American boxing isn’t much interested today much less back when. Eventually they broke the Don King stranglehold on the division and have had no problems securing top fights since then, nor any problems disposing of the best competition of their boxing careers.

Still, both brothers were Ring ranked by the end of the 90s with Wlad being #1 for most of the time since 2001. You are welcome to peruse my previous article on the Battle of the Weakest links that examines past great heavies’ weakest defenses compared to Vitali:

https://roberto00.wordpress.com/2010/05/28/the-battle-of-the-weakest-links/

And the article detailing the current top 25 heavyweights in boxing and the Klitschko brothers‘ records against them. Warning….it’s pretty impressive:

https://roberto00.wordpress.com/2010/10/06/the-heavyweight-dilemma-vitali-klitschko-vs-shannon-briggs/

While speculation is never written in stone, records is records and those are written in stone and provide much of the basis of my conclusions. If we had a massive tourney involving all these fighters, at the end of the day the best would take their lumps and losses with the worst of them with some odd results mixed in as happens so often in big matchmaking. Anything is possible

Fighters have always been matched up in theory, the perfect excuse to breaking a fight down stylistically enough to justify picking a winner, so there it all is laid out for whomever wants it:

The Klitschkos vs…….

Who you got?

The Nightmares–Robert Helenius vs Samuel Peter

The ambitious heavyweight contender Robert Helenius takes the big leap forward against former WBC champ Samuel Peter in a crossroads type of fight for both on Saturday, April 2nd.

Nordic Nightmare

Nordic Nightmare

The bout takes place in Gerry Weber Stadium, Halle, Nordrhein-Westfalen, Germany with the 27 yr old Helenius being closer to home evirons than Peter who has taken 2 of his 4 career losses in Germany against the Klitschko brothers.

The Nordic Nightmare Helenius hails from Finland, a land seldom associated with top level pro boxing, but he has proven himself in both the amateur and professional ranks thus far, currently sporting an undefeated 14-0, 9 KO pro record.

Nigerian Nightmare Samuel Peter counters with a 34-4, 27 KO record with the stakes being a title shot to the winner and claims on the nightmare moniker. 

Nigerian Nightmare

Nigerian Nightmare

Interesting bout in that Peter has been effectively shut out by the tall Klitschko brothers, but of course 6-7 Helenius is nowhere near as accomplished as they are. Helenius does have fundamental boxing basics with determination and some power which was on display when he impressively whacked out former WBO champ Lamont Brewster not too long ago.

Brewster was getting on in boxing years however, whereas Peter is still young for the division and could well be the first to nip the developing Helenius in the bud if he is motivated enough. Training issues in the form of excess poundage have plagued him much of his career, though in today’s 12 round climate with point scoring knockdowns and premature stoppages, it’s an advantage to pack on a few extra pounds.

Helenius himself is not exactly a svelte heavy, not looking much like an athlete at all, but he seems to have been bringing his weight down from a recent high of 252 into the 230s of late

Both Peter and Helenius are straight forward offensive oriented fighters with plenty to test each other, so I see this as a fairly entertaining fight with Peter being the slight favorite.

What remains unknown is how much the beating by Wlad Klitschko last year took out of him, but Peter’s taken some time to recover so should be good enough for a hard go at Helenius, which is really what the fans really want to see, an oldfashioned heavyweight slugfest.

Mainly, it’s good to see two top contenders fighting for a change and not the tiptoe through the tulips falsetto arrangement the regrettable WBA title holder has been tickling his soft English public with in recent years.

Pro vs Amateur–Vitali Klitschko vs Odlanier Solis

The fight happens March 12, Saturday at  Lanxess-Arena, Cologne, Nordrhein-Westfalen, Germany, but let’s be clear here, this is a longtime professional legend having to face his mandatory, the 2004 Olympic heavyweight gold medalist whose professional career has been on the low brow path to no great shakes.

Vitali Klitschko

Vitali Klitschko

Vitali Klitschko holds all the pro accolades with his only weakness of late is that of closing in on 40 yrs of age. That and the WBC ruling apparatus that killed his tribute bout at Madison Square Garden against Polish legend Tomasz Adamek on the 40th anniversary of Muhammad Ali and Joe Frazier’s Fight of the Century.

Odlanier Solis has been a pro coming in on 4 years now, but his development has stalled with a series of lackluster performances starting against Chancey Welliver in 2008, with his last being a farcical quality performance against a 40 yr old Ray Austin that turned into an ugly DQ win for Solis.

Welliver was some 30lbs over his career heaviest and easily boxed with Solis before a premature stoppage by the ref saved what could’ve been a controversial decision. The less said about Austin the better, but imagine Don King as the promoter and you got the picture.

Each and every one of Vitali’s comeback opponents were vastly superior to Solis in Peter, Gomez, Sosnowski, and Briggs with the possible exception of Kevin Johnson who for all intents and purposes vacated the building before the fight started.

Odlanier Solis

Odlanier Solis

Rumor has it that Solis is shedding his chubby excess, but I doubt even that helps him due to the low path of development he’s taken. He must have some talent to win all those gold medals, but the pro game is another ball of wax entirely that not even Cuban legend Juan Carlos Gomez could put a dent in for his Klitschko challenge.

Typical rinse and repeat Vitali bout goes with a long steady beatdown culminating in a knockout, so unless Solis has some hidden talents melding with highest level training, very quick footwork, and a booming knockout punch, I just don’t see it happening.

Some claim that Vitali has slipped a bit the last few years, yet nobody has rocked him and nobody has ever won even a handful of rounds off him yet.

Maybe Solis’ co-promoter,  Ahmet Oner, can ring the timekeeper’s bell as he did a couple of years back to save a heavyweight prospect from being knocked out, but comedy highlights only go so far against the Klitschko brothers who are deadly with purpose every time out.

I’m thinking most of the betting is gonna be on whether Solis lasts the distance. He is young and looks durable, but he also looks like the proverbial heavy bag hung out to dry. 

Maybe one of Vitali’s aging parts breaks down and comes flying off, that’s the only realistic possibility that I see, but hey, they gots to fight to prove it, and bigger upsets have happened, so there it is.

 

Klitschko vs Chambers, The Fat Chances of Fast Eddie

http://www.ringnews24.com/index.php/site-map/boxing-news/339-klitschko-vs-chambers-the-fat-chances-of-fast-eddie.html

by Bobby Mac

Now, let me be up front and state that I like Eddie Chambers even if I am not always enthralled with his conditioning and style. Fast Eddie comes to fight and brings some stellar natural attributes to his challenge to Wladimir Klitschko‘s titles.

This is, however, not a billiards contest where the sharp shooting and sharp eyes of Fast Eddie might stand him in good stead, but a traditional blood sport that has been incrementally refined over the decades into it’s current twelve round championship format.

Wladimir Klitschko has made himself the master of those twelve allotted rounds, and almost never gives anything away to his opponents, no matter what their style, size, or strength is. Moreover, Wladimir rarely uses all of his allotted rounds, preferring to end fights sooner rather than later.

If careers were measured in rounds and stoppages instead of fights, Wlad and his brother Vitali would be in an elite class of their own, but thankfully careers are not measured in that fashion.

On his way to racking up 53 dominant wins with 47 KOs, a stellar record in any era, Wlad has been beaten in three major upsets against opposition he held almost all the advantages over, much like he does against Chambers, so therein lie the hopes and dreams of Fast Eddie.

Chambers has made upsetting bigger, stronger fighters part of his tidy 35-1, 18 KO record that has seen him to his current #8 Ring rating. He was the first to put a dent in the unblemished records of Derrick Rossy and Alexander Dimitrenko, and he also went the distance with Alexander Povetkin. Recently he defeated the former WBC champion Samuel Peter, all huge, strong fighters by any standard.

So, how does Fast Eddie turn the trick against Wladimir?

For starters, he seems to have whipped himself into a fine shape at 209lbs after stinging criticisms that he was sporting too much baggage. This is near the same form when he upset the massive Dimitrenko in his last fight, which has propelled Chambers into his first title challenge.

Returning to the scene of Wladimir’s last relevant loss against Lamon Brewster six years ago, Brewster used a concrete chin to break the strangely fragile stamina of Klitschko, who collapsed in a heap after 5 rounds. Chambers has proven to have a good chin thus far, but it seems a stretch to have to rely on Wlad collapsing in a heap again, but it has happened once, so the possibility is there.

It was seven years ago that Corrie Sanders used his lightning left hand out of a southpaw stance to surprise Wlad early with a big shot, and never let him recover for an early TKO. Chambers has never shown that level of power early in a fight, but Eddie does have some pretty fast hands and is capable of putting together the type of quick combinations that can drop a heavyweight, so he will be looking for this opportunity.

Realistically though, the above seems implausible for Chambers given the recent championship form of Klitschko, who is in the middle of his prime years. Wlad’s style is to impose a distance fight at range using what is arguably the most versatile jab in heavyweight history. It can be a shotgun in automatic mode, a pawing feint, a slapdown of defenses, or a set up for his excellent hook off the jab. Any fighter getting inside of his jab will be tied up by his prodigious size and strength, if not stretched out on the canvas from his right hand.

It all seems too much for Chambers to overcome, but Wlad is going to have to prove it one more time against the best proven American heavyweight today. Fast Eddie has already proven he belongs, and make no mistake, Chambers is the hungrier fighter with the greater incentive.

HBO thought so poorly of Chambers’ chances that they won’t be broadcasting this fight, which is a real shame. Maybe Chambers loses in a blowout, but he deserves better than being dismissed out of hand, especially since HBO has recently broadcast inferior American heavyweights in their title challenges.

If HBO had shown as much business acumen as the heart and ringmanship that Fast Eddie has shown in his career, maybe they wouldn’t be so rightly derided for poor matchups that have seen them lose market share, and called into question their devotion to the sport of boxing, which seems more oriented to painting by compubox numbers than the fighting spirit of the sport.

I expect both Wladimir and Chambers to acquit themselves quite nicely, so enjoy the moment.

I certainly will.