Tag Archives: vitali klitschko

Bobby Mac Sez This Ain’t Yer Pappy’s Top Ten Heavyweights in History!

A directive was recently issued to me, that of a compilation of the greatest top 10 heavyweights of all time, a daunting task for the serious aficionado full of disputation to be sure. The criteria ain’t specified other than the assumption of my own unique perspective, so with me and myself having seen and made so many such lists as to become fuzzy over time, I am going to recreate two lists based on two distinct criteria; that of the overall excellence of record, and that of looking at heavies who had the biggest impact on boxing and the world in which they lived, both leavened with the unique opportunities and obstacles of their eras.

The first list is the boxing and world impact, both of which have the biggest influence in boxing.

1.Joe Louis…It don’t get any bigger worldwide than the rematch with Max Schmeling on the eve of WW2 in a bout that was relayed worldwide via the nascent radio of the era. Joe was the first black American heavyweight the overwhelming white majority could rally around and set the stage for the post WW2 integration of Major League Baseball and the US armed forces and subsequent civil rights movements. Need I add that Joe was also a major inspiration in the development of Nelson Mandela and Martin Luther King as young boys avidly listening to his fights on the radio?

2.The Klitschko brothers…Their collective was 109-7, 94 KO and never once took a ten count that averages ot to 55-4, 47 KO. Between them they moved the heavyweight division to Germany and knocked Don King out of the heavy division to usher in the continuing saga of East European dominance of the heavier boxing divisions.

3.Bob Fitzsimmons…A rare trifecta of being part the first proposed full length feature cinematographic project by Thomas Edison’s Black Maria Studio, the first title fight against James J Corbett to be held in Dallas, Texas, circa 1895 that was cancelled when the Texas Legislature made prize fighting illegal. The always overly dramatic Corbett publicly forfeited his title that was then fought over near Langtry, Texas by Fitz and Peter Maher.

Maher had previously claimed the forfeited Corbett title in November of 1895 against Steve O’Donnell with a 1st rd KO. Fitz and Maher were situated in 1896 on a spit island in the middle of the Rio Grande(Bravo) for the first failed full length feature cinematographic project by Thomas Edison. Tragically the crew could not not get properly set up in misty conditions before Maher became his own victim of a first round KO as his claims to the title transferred to Ruby Robert. Whatever may have been filmed has thus far been lost in time though hope springs eternal that it may possibly turn up.

The 1897 Corbett vs Fitz fight held in Reno, Nevada, the first ever successful full length feature film that additionally became the first ever national and international blockbuster that established art of cinematography permanently in the world. Subsequently James J Jeffries helped develop the art of cinematography further when he knocked out Fitz to claim the title though sadly almost all of the Jeffries film has be either lost or waiting to be rediscovered. The first non boxing blockbuster featuring actors was The Great Train Robbery 6 years later in 1903, a film of only 10 minutes for perspective that introduced the first ever silent screen star to the public, Bronco Billy.

4.John L Sullivan, 39-1-1, 33 KO. John L was the first and only unified Bareknucks and Gloved Queensbury champ and the first American to consolidate titles that had previously belonged exclusively to the British. John L first set up the worldwide heavyweight stage in a growing age of literacy and media expansion, where they remained save for a nanoblip by Ingemar Johansson for a century before Lennox Lewis upset the American monopoly.

5A.Jack Dempsey, 55-6-8, 45 KO. Established the modern spectacle of boxing that is seldom matched and never exceeded.

5B.Muhammad Ali, 56-5, 37 KO. Perhaps the 2nd best known fighter in the world only exceeded by the modern phenomenon of Manny Pacquiao and his 3 billion Asian population base enhanced with modern communication broadcasting.

5C.Mike Tyson, 50-6, 44 KO. Youngest ever champ who cleaned up the derelict post Ali era to unify the titles and temporarily wipe Don King’s slate clean. He had already held the record for career purse earnings before King and Robin Givens ever sunk their claws into him.

OK, now, and what about the greatest records?

1.Joe Louis, 66-3, 52 KO. Nominally his 26(27)-1 heavyweight title records were exceeded, but, overall never surpassed. The 27th was Lee Savold who claimed both the white heavy title and the BBBC heavyweight title that Joe is seldom credited with after knocking him out.

2.The Klitschko brothers, 109-7, 94 KO and bukos title fights with nary a 10 count between them. Collectively they smashed the Louis record, and though individually Wlad exceeded his total career heavyweight title fights, he fell short of the overall Louis record. They may well hold the heavyweight record of the most winning rounds scored as overmatched opponents seldom penetrated their defense.  More importantly they put down Don King for years of 10 counts and transferred heavyweight title fights to Germany-HERESY to be sure!

3.Rocky, 49-0, 43 KO. The most iconic record in all of boxing. My next door neighbor who knows shinola about boxing can recite Rocky’s record like a mantra.

4.Sam Langford, 178-29-39, 126 KO. Mere numerical records FAIL to capture Sam’s greatness, not the least being the sheer number of fights he had against HOF fighters that greatly exceed all such fights by other fighters.

5.Anthony Joshua, 22-0, 21 KO. Going into his 8th title fight as a unified belt holder, no heavyweight as yet has done as much with such a limited number of fights. I always like to include a current great in rankings just to PO dusty mossbacks not understanding that all the greats in the making were moderns in their day as Josh is.

Consolidating the two lists by working backwards using my fighter ratings as their points totals, that’s Josh with 5 points, Sam with 4 points, Rocky with 3 points, The Ks with 2, and Louis with 1.

Then we have Dempsey, Ali, and Tyson tied with 5 each, John L with 4, Fitz at 3, the Ks at 2 and Louis at 1.

Adding up the two lists with fighters not appearing on both lists being assigned a place value of 6 to keep my rankings on keel, That’s Louis 1+1 with 2 pts, the Ks 2+2 with 4, Fitz 3+6 with 9, John L 4+6 with 10, Dempsey, Ali, and Tyson, all 5+6 with 11 each, Josh 5+6 with 11, Sam with 10, Rocky with 7. Divided by 2 to get the final point rankings in numerical order:Louis 1, Ks 2, Rocky 3.5, Fitz 4.5, John L 5, Sam 5, and Dempsey, Ali, Tyson, and Josh 5.5

Translated into standard numerical ranking order:Louis 1, Ks 2, Rocky 3, Fitz 4, John L 5A and Sam 5B, Dempsey, Ali, Tyson, and Joshua 7A, 7B, 7C, 7 D.

So technically that 11 heavyweights if we split the Klitschko brothers, but they were such a dominating force in boxing that they really have to be consolidated as one unit to understand their impact.

Honorable mention goes to Manny Pacquiao who has a super duty heavyweight heart encapsulated into that compact frame. He’s become a huge name both here and in the largest potential boxing market in the world, the Asian culture. His dynamic style and willingness to take on, beat, and knock out the most Ring P4Pers in history at the start of the 3rd Millennium after being born into one of the poorest families in history in the 3rd world resulted in hundreds of millions of dollars of career purses, most of which was returned to his native peoples in the forms of schools, hospitals, and other desperately needed infrastructure developments as well as holding Congressional duties as well as too many other interests to stagger reality.

Yeah, I know it ain’t yer Pappy’s top 10 heavyweight rankings, but I ain’t much for feeling like your pappy. It’s my list and the one I’m sticking with for now since their is no agreement on how to rank fighters. I at least gave my methodology combining two important elements. Another ranking method many use is who beats who in a fantasy fight. While interesting from various physical and stylistic attributes, seldom do these rankers specify uniform rules and rounds that would average out the wide ranging eras of  the competing fighters and always disputes as to who beats who even before fighters glove up with each other today.

Fighting is the nature of boxing!

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

 

Manuel Charr Tapped For Vitali Klitschko Rehabilitation

This Vitali comeback is from left shoulder rehabilitation after holding back charging Dereck Chisora with the remaining right arm earlier this year. Vitali made some noises last year about 2012 being his last in boxing, so he scheduled a favored Kiev soccer stadium venue in tribute to his avid Ukrainian support. It goes without saying that as a Kiev mayoral candidate in upcoming elections, the fight can also be seen as a political platform to upgrade his profile with voters. Upsets happen often in politics however, his Ukrainian political opponents coordinated their collective muscle to get his fight booted in favor of a rock concert.

Fast forward, and now the fight is scheduled for September 8th at the Olimpiyskiy in Moscow. The Russian capital has become a new mecca of professional boxing in Eastern Europe as befits the rich boxing history of Russia and the surrounding Eastern European states.

Vitali vs Charr

Vitali vs Charr

Manuel Charr is an excellent young prospect, age 27 with a record of 21-0, 11 KO, but he’s never beaten a ranked fighter. He has the usual faded names of former prospects and contenders on his record while fighting his way up the rankings in Germany. His background is unusual though, having been born in Lebanon, not a place with much if any boxing history to my knowledge.

His weight runs around 235-250 range, perhaps a little heavy for his 6-4 frame, but pretty much the standard for heavyweights these days who only have to go 12 rounds at most these days. The thinking is that fighters and their trainers may feel the need for more mass to stay on their feet in the new era of scored knockdowns where a flash knockdown or touched glove count the same as a hard knockdown.

This fight was made possible because Charr has a WBC #7 ranking and was signable since he is now self promoted. The WBC #1 Chris Arreola wasn’t ready to commit to a challenge after being strafed out of sight by Vitali in 2009.

On paper and in reality, Charr chances lay somewhere between rail thin slim and none. It’s worth noting that historically, there have been some great fighters upset by untested prospects, particularly ailing great fighters. Perhaps also Charr has untapped potential just waiting for the right moment in time to express itself as when Neon Leon Spinks upset the mighty Muhammad Ali so many moons ago in the last millennium.

Regardless, we won’t be seeing Vitali Klitschko in the ring too much longer, but maybe he’s hedging his retirement in anticipation of bigger bouts to come with his recent comments. His mind’s eye says it’s retirement time, but his pocket book says it always has room for another run of the Klitschko mint.

Not a bad dilemma to be caught in. We should all be so lucky.

The Men of Luxembourg Say Oui to Haye vs Chisora

The men of the Luxembourg Boxing Federation have said “Non” to the imperious British Board of Boxing Control (BBB of C) and the European Union by saying “Oui” to the sanctioning of the all British rematch of the brawl between Mr. David “Pinky ToeHaye and his fellow outlaw boxer, Mr. Derek Chisora.

The tiny Luxembourg commission only has a few sanctioned fights to show for their existence thus far, yet were threatened with strippage of their office by the European Bully Boys aligned with the raging BBB of C who rule like Kings of Yore over British boxing.

The BBB of C have further threatened permanent suspensions for any the fighters and promoters of the event, scheduled for July 14 at Upton Park London, the hometown of the BBB of C if further insult is needed to further tweak injury.

HOF legend Frank Warren may be near the end of his career, but seems to have found renewed vigor with this battle in and out of the ring. The bully boys first refused to sanction the fight after the rather unseemly videotaped brawl by Haye and Chisora in Germany brought British boxing into “disrepute.”

But what about the fighters you ask?

Separated at birth and press conferences!

Separated at birth and press conferences!

Well, to be generous, both have some excellent talents and abilities, but to be quite frank about it, all the talent and fighting ability in the world counts for little when their mentality is more attuned to a thug’s cartoon character.

Mr. Pinky Toe is attempting what no fighter has ever attempted in the history of boxing, coming off a morbidly injured pinky toe that was blamed on his loss against Wlad Klitschko, a rather comical rendition of a British prizefighter, looking like a drunken sailor on shore leave whilst upright when not crawling around on his hands and knees looking like a tipsy flophouse floozie. It was a baker’s dozen times that Mr. Haye hit the canvas during the fight after Wlad took his legs away early in the bout with a big flurry on the ropes as the bell sounded.

The controversy over the extent of injury to the aggrieved pinky toe still rages with some MRI experts claiming poor pinky had a broken back. Others saw a ruptured bowel while others claim the appendage suffered mental injuries leading to a loss of self esteem, but to be fair, pinky toes have been poorly studied, so critical functions, organs and skeletal structure are just too tiny to detect serious injury with any accuracy.

Still, what a brave, unprecedented comeback this would be for Mr. Pinky Toe.

Now Mr. Chisora had a fine 14-0, 9 KO record going for him while holding the storied British Commonwealth belt, but, alas, he showed up hog fat in his defense against Tyson Fury who easily dismissed him as if he were no more than a tubby school boy. Then Chisora showed up double dumb against fellow heavyweight contender Robert Helenius in Finland by headbutting and then clowning around at critical points in the fight when he should have been winging punches against the injured Helenius who pulled out the decision. Somewhere he didn’t get the email explaining he was being paid as a professional boxer, not a professional clown.

Chisora somehow managed to compound that error of judgement by showing up triple thick, ruining a credible performance against WBC champ Vitali Klitschko who also injured his shoulder and needed an operation like Helenius. The net result his implosion left him short of victories, the Giants of Boxing 3 to Mr. Chisora’s zer0.

How did Chisora ruin his performance you ask?

He slapped Vitali during the obligatory face off, a stupid sucker shot, then spit at Wlad Klitschko who is part of Vitali’s team during the ring introductions for starters. Then, instead of basking in well deserved accolades for a gritty fight, he flew off the podium during the post fight presser to attack the taunting Mr. Pinky Toe, The Brawl I as it were, leading to his current BBB of C suspension. Look up apt descriptors and you’ll find “Seizing defeat from the jaws of victory” with Mr. Chisora’s boxing pose.

Look up “Hoist upon his own petard” and you will find Mr. Pinky Toe’s posing in stripped suggestive poses for various of the British glossy mags. He promised to clean out the heavyweight division, yet has only been able to sweep up a few tyny dust bunnies in far away corners.

No guarantees that the Men of Luxembourg will have enough power to pull off this event. Boxrec hasn’t even put it on their schedule even as their British boxing media arm has been updating the latest details.

British interest is spiking with the gate reported as approaching 30,000. Suffice to say with the multitudes of metrosexed dandies mixing in with the throngs of thuggish tuffs, this event may well be better known for the rabbit punches, low blows, and blindsided sucker punches both in and out of the ring than any adherence to the Marquis of Queensbury rules.

Could be a riot going on in the home of the 2012 Queen’s Diamond Jubilee and Summer Olympics!

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.

The Perfect Furious Storm–Tyson Fury vs Neven Pajkic

November 12 will mark Fury’s 1st professional homecoming in his birthplace of Manchester. The Brits are making much of his 3rd straight undefeated opponent angle, but facts are the Derek Chisora fight was the big one.

Fury vs Pajkic

Fury vs Pajkic

Canadian Champion Neven Pajkic is more than an opponent for Fury, the fight is being billed as a grudge match of bad blood between the two, something sure to rile the crowd up. Maybe, but it’s also a step down, stay busy, learn your craft type of fight that Fury needs to progress and yes, Fury is steadily accumulating very respectable resume.

The grudge factor would seemingly translate into an aggressive ring affair, but Fury is already an aggressive fighter, so I doubt there is enough animosity for either to raise(or lower) their game to another level. Pajkic gives away much height and reach and hasn’t had a knockout in his last 6 fights against inferior opposition to Fury. He does look like the prototypical Canadian tough guy who can have his moments though, perfect to provide the needed rounds for Fury to progress. 

The 23 yr old Fury is exactly where he needs to be as the #1 British heavyweight and #9 heavyweight in the boxrec ratings. He’s also the defending British Commonwealth belt holder for this bout, so he’s been a busy lad in his brief career thus far.

I have no doubt he could beat the new WBA “champ” Alexander Povetkin, but that fight is not likely to happen anytime soon. Povetkin won’t be anywhere near a top ten contender as long as his promotional team milk his career for as long as they are able like they did with Mr. David Haye.

Ultimately Fury is going to have to challenge a Klitschko brother for his title shot, something he needs at least another year or two in development. I’m thinking that a fight against one of the few remaining American fringe contenders in Las Vegas would be the perfect promotional and developmental fight for him sometime next year.

Welcome to check out the top 25 boxrec heavyweights here for your own recomendations:

http://boxrec.com/ratings.php?country=&sex=m&division=Heavyweight&status=A&SUBMIT=Go

Tony Thompson and Eddie Chambers are the only Americans in the top 10 and were scheduled to meet before Chambers came down with injury. Tomasz Adamek used #24 Michel Grant to prepare for his challenge to Vitali Klitschko, so that would seem to be ideal for Fury.

Then there is the spector of the Klitschko managed giant Russian, Alexander Ustinov, who recently acquired the European(EBU) title. That would be a well respected title challenge and a battle of giants and perhaps also an elimination bout for the right to challenge a Klitschko.

Tyson Fury has managed to remake the world into his own oyster thus far, so I look for him to make a statement with his homecoming and move on to bigger and better things, something sorely needed in the Klitschko depleted ranks of worthy contenders.

Neven Pajkic currently has first crack at the immediate future of Tyson Fury, so we’ll just have to see what he has to say.

The Polish Heavyweight Challenge–Tomasz Adamek vs Vitali Klitschko

There are reports out of boxrec of another rumor putting off the heavyweight challenge by Tomasz Adamek to Vitali Klitschko‘s WBC title.

http://news.boxrec.com/news/2011/snips-and-snipes-10-august-2011

The fight was originally mooted for March 8 in Madison Square Garden in tribute to the 40th anniversary of Muhammad Ali vs Joe Frazier I, but yes, Virginia, there is a Grinch who stole Christmas. WBC El Presidente for Life Jose Suliman queered that celebratory tribute, instead forcing the Cuban dancing bear, Odlanier Solis to fight Vitali as the enforced mandatory in a farce of a fight.

Adamek and Vitali both operate on a much higher plane than any boxing org and certainly deserve better treatment, so lets hope the Ukrainian political situation stabilizes so the fight can come off as scheduled Saturday, September 10th.

Lots of firsts, a historic Polish heavyweight challenge for the WBC belt held by the great Ukrainian champion at Stadion Miejski, Wroclaw, Poland.

Goral

Goral

While Vitali will be the big favorite, “Goral” has proven to be a P4P quality boxer through an outstanding career that has seen him as a ranked fighter since 2005. That’s six years of excellence in the top 3 divisions in boxing.

But Adamek is more than a top boxer, he’s a top fighter who adjusts to any situation as well as the best fighters in history, and his 44-1, 28 KO record ain’t too shabby neither. Only the single decision loss to Ring P4Per Chad Dawson sullies the perfect record, and he closed that fight strong with a hard knock down, so Adamek has some serious fighter to him.

He’s primarily a offensive fighter, but like Manny Pacquiao he picked up a lot of technique and nuance as he aged and is now at the top of grand career. This is the chance he’s prepared his whole professional life for and he won’t be as easily dismissed as Vitali’s previous foes were.

The Fight

The Fight

Vitali the Elder now has a better sense of his own history than when he first turned pro and has targeted Adamek as the best he can fight, a perfect end to a stellar career perhaps. Adamek has to take the fight to Vitali to keep from being overwhelmed on volume and aggression, so his footwork and combinations will go directly against Vitali’s great offensive onslaught in a fight that could produce the dramatic ebbs and flows that great fights have.

Let’s hope it comes off without a hitch, otherwise some great heavyweight history will be lost, so update to follow.

August 24th update:

Good news is Vitali has released a sparring tape and talked about his upcoming bout with Adamek, so the fight looks like a go.

http://www.fightnews.com/Boxing/klitschko-predicts-ko-93480#more-93480

FIGHT DAY UPDATE:

Incredibly Vitali is the big favorite over Adamek who is by far the best fighter in the division not named Klitschko.

Odds aren’t fully reflective of the fighter’s abilities since large betting swings can make odds disappear or spike as the fight nears when the betting base backs one fighter more heavily as the fight day approaches. Doubtless that’s why the Wlad/Haye bout had near even odds. Here’s the Fightwriter’s odds which are reflective of the oddsmakers at large.

Over 9.5 +140; under 9.5 -180
Klitschko -650; Adamek +400
Over 10.5 +110; under 10.5 -125
 
They weighed in with Vitali being unusually light at 243 lbs to Adamek who is 216 lbs. Looks like Vitali trained down for speed and stamina and Adamek is perfect for him. Look for these guys to mark up come mid rounds.
 
If Adamek was ever knocked down in a fight, I don’t recall it, and technically Vitali has never been down though it’s arguable that Corrie Sanders knocked him down early in their fight years back that was ruled a slip. I look for a high action bout conducted like a chess match as both look for their spots to make the points while exploring for weakness which could be cuts.
 
Well done to the organizers and fighters that made this big challenge happen.
Dr. Ironfist vs Goral

Dr. Ironfist vs Goral

 
   

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?