Tag Archives: Klitschko

Mr. Klitschko Goes To Moscow for Mr. Povetkin

Maybe Wladimir Klitschko goes to Moscow to look up Alexander Povetkin for a score to settle, or maybe not. Povetkin has already pulled out of two signed deals from years back, leaving the Klitschko promotional team scrambling for last minute replacements.

Big and Bigger?

Big and Bigger?

It may be revealing that in spite of both fighting mainly out of Germany and having signed contracts for the third time now, Wlad says he never actually met Povetkin until weeks before they step into the ring. This promotional poster follows the precedent of Mayweather/Alvarez promotions that had Floyd in two inch lifts to make him incrementally the bigger fighter. Povetkin will actually be dwarfed in the ring come fight night contrary to the illusion of the poster above.

Meanwhile, if boxing couldn’t get any more blatantly ridiculous after the refereeing of Alvarez/Mayweather and subsequent scoring controversy, the WBA which seems to have the say so in the officiating of Klitschko/Povetkin, well, one of their judges, Ted Gimza, he’s on probation confined to his house, yet will be released for duties for the duration of this match. We couldn’t make this up. The WBA provides all necessary materials for our horror:

http://www.fightnews.com/Boxing/klitschko-povetkin-judge-on-probation-wears-electronic-ankle-bracelet-227825

Slipped a Super Mickey

Slipped a Super Mickey

Lot’s of potentially ugly nationalist politics brewing for this fight. “Russian agents” were thought to have poisoned the former Ukrainian president Viktor Yushchenko a few years back that almost killed him and most certainly knocked him back many rungs in his ability to function. The Klitschko team had a similar experience, claiming Wlad was drugged in the the Lamont Brewster fight. He dominated the action and was on the verge of an early stoppage of Brewster before a mysterious collapse left him weak as a newborn lamb before Brewster ever landed the few glancing blows on him that weren’t even necessary at that point.

Add in the suspicious financing of an incredible $23 million purse bid for this fight that seems to be the largest purse bid in history, lots of potential for the usual monkey business of boxing for this fight. Then the controversy on whether a Russian or German drug testing cartel would be doing the drug screening for this match, the validity of often nebulous drug testing procedures and the dubious ethics of the “cartels” being as much a question mark as the athletes themselves. Let’s be clear though, Wlad is a huge favorite over Povetkin who was never that well experienced or accomplished and has been on a downward spiral from the promise he showed as a hot prospect several years back. I can’t see anything but monkey business being able to derail Wlad for this fight, so we’ll see soon enough what kind of sportsmanship is on display by the promoter and local commish.

Late breaking news shows big players greatly reducing the odds with a surge of Povetkin bets. A tsunami of Brewster bets from the UK actually shut down the bookies several days in advance of his “upset” of Wladimir, so the duplicitous history of boxing seems to be in full swing for this promotion.

http://www.fightnews.com/Boxing/late-money-flowing-in-on-povetkin-227994

Previous international type of fights in Russian have been pretty much above board that I can recall, so there you have it, October 5th in Moscow. Tune in to bear witness on the current health of boxing.

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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? 

It’s Big Boy Time–Wlad Klitschko vs Mariusz Wach

November the 10th at the O2 World Arena in Hamburg, Germany marks a another milestone in Wladimir Klitschko‘s boxing career when he aims for his 20th title victory against a fighter with height and reach greater than his.

Mariusz Wach  runs about the same size as Wlad’s older brother, Vitali, almost 6-8, generally around 245-260 lbs with an 82″ listed reach. He’s also undefeated with a 27-0, 15 KO record, coming off of 7 straight knockouts starting back in 2009.

Big & Bigger

Big & Bigger

Wach of course lacks the depth of Wlad’s stellar record, but he is prime age for a big man these days at a very fresh 32, and he sports a mixed martial arts and amateur boxing background much like the Klitschko brothers. He looks to be tough enough at the level he’s fought at and is a come forward attacking fighter, so what more can the Klitschkos do but fight the few heavyweights left who are willing to step in the ring with them?

Wlad’s record against similar sized fighters, Tony Thompson, Jamel McCline, and Ray Austin is 4-0, 4 KO, not exactly the best promotional selling point for Wach making a compelling fight. Thing about the Klitschko fights is that German and other various European fans love the theatrics of the Klitschko promotions which feature a smorgasborg of music, razzle dazzle light shows and pop personalities revving up the premises in advance of the main event. The promotions are well packed, and of course with Wach being of Polish heritage, well, Poles really get behind their own even when it looks hopeless.

Make no mistake though, Wach is far from hopeless. His size, strength and toughness  alone make him a very awkward, dangerous fighter. Typically teams upgrade the quality of sparring partners for an opportunity like this, so if Wach had previously been on a learning curve as he worked his way up the chain, #21 on Boxrec, #4WBC, #15 WBO, there could be a big spike in his skills and conditioning for this performance.

All that could be completely negated by the proven quality of Wlad who usually starts off very cautious behind his jab to rack up points before picking his spots for the usual knockout result. Perhaps as big a challenge as the size of Wach will be the absence of his long time trainer and mentor, Manny Steward, whose untimely passing has left a big hole in the boxing world.

https://roberto00.wordpress.com/2012/10/26/a-legend-passes-manny-steward-r-i-p/

Fellow stablemate Johnathon Banks was tapped by Steward to anchor Wlad’s corner, and of course Wlad’s brother, Vitali Klitschko should be there in support as both brothers do when the other fights.

The heavyweight division is strangely active as the year draws down with some compelling action that will lead to next year’s title challenges.

Johnathon Banks is also a quality heavyweight with his own big fight against rising American contender, Seth Mitchell. Banks is a legit boxer with skills, whereas Mitchell has a modest pro football background with a limited amateur background. As such, I expect Banks to easily handle him, but as to whether he’ll get a fair judgement at Boardwalk Hall Atlantic City where the fight takes place this November 17th, let’s not get started on the horrors of judging fights.

Everyone knows about the poor judging but nothing can be done until boxing cleans up it’s act, so fat chance.

Fellow undefeated and Ring ranked Tyson Fury invites Denis Boytsov to Odyssey Arena, Belfast, Northern Ireland on December the 1st to mark up somebody’s zero, probably Boytsov who has a softer record with a history of hand injuries. Props to both camps for making the fight when each could be sitting on their rankings hoping a lucrative title fight will hatch.

Last but not least, the rematch of the fight of the year quality donnybrook between former lightheavy and cruiserweight champ Tomasz Adamek and his cruiserweight rival, Steve Cunningham who took the loss the first time around. The fight takes place December 22nd, ostensibly in Cunningham’s backyard of Sands Casino Resort, Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, but the born and bred Philadelphian has tragically been under promoted in Europe thanks to an ill advised compact with Don King.

Adamek will be the obvious favorite with a stellar 47-2, 29 KO record against Cunningham’s 25-4, 12 KO, but this is the kind of fight a paper record can’t predict. Cunningham has always been speedy and top class even if he’s taken more losses in less fights. Adamek looked a bit slow at his heaviest weight ever when he outpointed the defensive minded Chambers, so I predict the punches to be flying with first class boxing skills as in the first fight.

Both will be 36 years of age for the fight, so there it is, the final countdown of the top action in the heavyweight division for the rest of the year.

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.

The Heavyweight Dilemma, Vitali Klitschko vs Shannon Briggs

The longtime hue and cry over the current state of the heavyweight division has only intensified these past few months as top contenders, David Haye, Alexander Povetkin, and Thomsz Adamek have refused to fight Vitali Klitschko or his brother Wladimir.

Shannon the Cannon

Shannon the Cannon

Instead, Vitali will defend his WBC belt against a very hungry and now very lean and mean Shannon The Cannon Briggs. Briggs has managed to maneuver into a #9 WBC ranking, but is otherwise not highly ranked by the various orgs and websites. Basically, the complaint is that he has done nothing to warrant a title shot, the same complaint leveled at Vitali’s last opponent, Albert Sosnowski.

Read my previous musings on those claims here, inserting the formidably muscled up Briggs for the muscled up Sosnowski.

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

Typically,  overemoting critics fail to understand the dynamics of leveraging a big heavyweight promotion, nor do they have any sense of the rankings or depth of the heavyweight division, preferring the easier job of bigging up the one or two names of their favored fighters as if that was all that was needed to make a prizefight, much less a title fight, the mere suggestion of personal desire.

Here are some recent Boxrec rankings as of September 5th while Vitali, Wlad, and David Haye were all putting together their fights. Keep in mind that Boxrec is the largest of the few ranking orgs that rank more than 10 or 15 fighters in a division.

The (notes) are mine of course:

1. Wlad

2. Vitali

3. Haye (already backed out of one signed and sealed contract and refused recent 50/50 offer by the Klitschkos, signing to defend against Audley Harrison in spite of repeated denials that he was even in negotiations)
4. Adamek (pending to allow cuts to heal, but apparently fighting Maddalone in Dec)
5. Chagaev (beat badly by Wlad and currently Haye’s mandatory)
6. Povetkin (refused to sign negotiated agreement to challenge in Wlad’s last defense, thus losing his 2 yr long mandatory ranking, not to mention his trainer, Teddy Atlas, says Povetkin is not yet ready to challenge for the title.)
7. Valuev (interesting deal was almost put together against Vitali, but out into next year with left shoulder/wrist surgery)
8. Peter (beat badly by Wlad 2x/Vitali 1x)
9. Thompson (beat badly by Wlad with no following)
10. Chambers (beat badly by Wlad and still rebuilding)
11. Arreola (beat badly by Vitali and still rebuilding)
12. Dimitrenko (new EBU champ, but turned down Klitschko offers, maybe building into a much bigger promotion in the next year of two)
13. Gomez (beat badly by Vitali and a last ditch opponent for now)
14. Sexton (busy being knocked out by Chisora)
15. Boytsov (maybe in the future, but only 24 and shaking off the rust after coming back from hand surgery, now is not his time, maybe a year or two in a bigger promotion)
16. Austin (beat badly by Wlad with no following)
17. Helenius (very promising prospect recently breaking into fringe contender. Maybe a year or two away in a much bigger promotion)
18. Solis (chubby growing into a blimp with promoter problems looking like he’s moving to challenge for the WBA cheese belt, not the Klitschkos)
19. Pianeta (who dat?)
20. T Ibragimov (The lesser talented of the Russian Iggys, his cousin already lost a shutout against Wlad)
21. Sosnowski (beat badly by Vitali and rebuilding against Dimitrenko)
22. Ustinov (undefeated Russian Bigfoot monster promoted by Ks and wants a Kbro. I’m guessing Vitali’s retirement fight if he makes it past Briggs and can’t sign Haye or Valuev)
23. Holyfield (Oh, brother, where art thou buried? Jeez…..)
24. Platov (who? See Pianeta!)
25. Johnson (beat worse than badly by Vitali……..please, watching Vitali try to stuff a giant squash into a blender would be better stuffing for a Saturday night turkey……..nevermore…….nevermore…….)

So, thusly informed, now say HELLO to one Shannon The Cannon Briggs, lifelong asthmaholic, part time wastrel, yet all while breaking the all time first round KO record first officially recorded by Jack Dempsey in his all time tear through the heavy division. Briggs has 31 first round KOs, unofficially 32 but for failing a post fight drug test, probably a positive test result for ganja. Briggs is unabashedly Jamaican after all.

Briggs is a strange one alright. He was a dynamic, charismatic young personality who won the ‘Dream’ “Lineal” heavyweight title with a dubious decision over the nearing 50 yr old Big George Foreman, then was knocked out in a ferocious slugfest against WBC champ Lennox Lewis in his very next bout. Instead of rebuilding, he partied hardy and let his training and weight go, thus was written off as a wasted talent.

In spite of all the above shortcomings, many years later he managed to renew “The Dream” when Briggs lifted the WBO title from the then highly regarded Siarhei Liakhovich with a Hail Mary last second knockout in the 12th round, a title that Briggs promptly dropped in his first defense. He then retired to hit the all you can eat buffets for 2 yrs before coming back hard with 4 straight 1st rd Kos.

Now Briggs finds himself square in the middle in his 3rd opportune “Dream ” when Haye, Adamek, and Povetkin all shut down and beat strategic retreats rather than to fight the brothers in a losing cause. As the “2x” champ with an established name, Briggs should bring in the business once the promotion starts touting his KO record.

Der Knock-outers

Der Knock-outers

Brigg’s may be much older and slower of hand and foot than Sosnowski, but hugely larger and stronger, remaining a danger from rds 1-12. He’s already been making the right noises about knocking Vitali out, and while his overall boxing skills may be lacking for a top contender, he has the top experience, hunger, guile, and the natural talent and power to pull off the kind of spectacular upset that nobody else in the division would be capable of.

Bigger upsets have happened in the one punch Big Boy division, that’s for sure.

Der Braumeistrisses

Der Braumeistrisses

Vitali is self promoted and has chosen a juicy date in Germany after all the Oktoberfest lederhosen has been put away, Saturday, October 16th, at the O2 arena in Hamburg. Apparently he will be throwing a rock concert before and after since the bout appears to be the sole fight on the card.

It was quite the slap in the face of Haye that Vitali chose a weekend of WBC boxing festivities in London to do the initial promotion of the bout, but Haye appears to be quite shameless in avoiding any true challenge to his WBA belt he acquired under dubious circumstances. He instead kept himself squirreled away in a secret bunker in London, all while exchanging bitter twitter tweets with The A-Force, Audley Harrison in the Great ’10 Tweet Street War of Sweet Nothings & Handbags.

Yet there is also much reputation and respect to be lost for Vitali if he were to lose to Briggs who is widely derided as previously mentioned in spite of his obvious danger, but Vitali had little choice given the limitations of his division that has seen the Klitschkos dominate their opposition in a fashion never before seen in the history of the division.

Dr. Ironfist

Dr. Ironfist

Both are aging fighters born only months apart for whom the wheels may go flying off without warning. Briggs has many more fights, but owing to his impressive 1st round KO record, they have logged near identical pro rounds, 196 for Vitali and 194 for Briggs.

Vitali has a very long amateur record compared to Briggs and was also a championship kick boxer for several years, so his odometer has significantly more miles on the clock, making him more vulnerable in theory.

The promotion should be a success overall with the European, ie, German public for whom this fight is being targeted.

Briggs 262 - Klitschko 251

Briggs 262 – Klitschko 251

This was supposed to be Vitali’s last year before retirement, after all, he will be 40 yrs old next year, but like Manny Pacquiao’s last year, it may prove to be impossible to walk away from all the money on the table for his fights.

We shall see what The Fates deal out in a couple of weeks. It could be a prototypical methodical Vitali beatdown, or an upset for the new age, so tune in if you want to see knockout record setting heavyweights still in full command their game.

 

A Message From the Boss

A Message From the Boss