The heavyweight title scene
There is certainly more than one heavyweight title and there are enough titles to go around for all aspiring champions. There is a shortage of credible champions however and the only one who is widely perceived as ‘the champ” is Wladimir Klitschko. The heavyweight division has turned into the “Klitschko” division and the older brother Vitali has earned even higher esteem and respect than his athletically superior but mentally “younger’ brother. Klitschko’s subscription to the championship is still a long term commitment as the 36 years old champ shows steady improvement and no signs of decline.
“Doctor Steel Hammer” is a formidable physical specimen who also maintains a strict regimen and has been in great condition even when he lost. He has 3 KO losses and his detractors have a point in bringing up his downsides. He has found a way (and proper coaching) to build a style that veils his vulnerability and uses his physical advantages to build a “firewall”of frontal power that has stupefied all opposition in the last decade.
He has modified his stance, guard, footwork, range, pace, etc. to achieve a monstrous combination of athleticism, technique and steady power. It may not be worth to list all names of current contenders who do not stand a chance against Wlad. It is very hard to go against him and pick a name to upset him, if there is a shark lurking in the deep waiting to strike, it’s a well kept secret.
Wladimir’s chin, stamina and stress threshold have been a matter of concern in his early days. Fears have dissipated as he matured and he has overcome “the boxer’s nightmare” of a triple KO. Most boxers would be considered damaged goods after three trips to wonderland and for a good reason. Klitschko’s stoppages have been far apart and they have not been deep, unconscious falls, he may not have suffered the full extent of consequence. There is a psychological trauma as well and it seems Wlad has overcome it and turned it into motivation. It has motivated him to bring his game to the top of his ability and to maintain rigorous physical shape. He is disciplined about brawling; he avoids punch outs although he is usually the harder puncher in the ring. In fact he may be the hardest puncher among all active boxers today.
For now the fans are stuck with Wladimir Klitschko and he might soon get a shot at the vacant WBC title. Once he unifies the championship, the division may slow down even more. Too many fighters are clearly waiting him out and avoiding him looking for other lucrative fights. He looks stronger than in his early days, wiser and physically sharper, mean and dangerous. Mean not in the sense of fighting dirty or using tricks, mean in the sense of delivering a clinical and systematic punishment that puts opponents in the hospital. He is literally a health hazard to his opponents. Some fans and some TV networks would love a Rocky type of a champ who gets up from the floor to win and bleeds all over the place, but real life Rockies have slurred speech at 30. Wladimir Klitschko will stick around , he mentioned he could box for another 10 years, so the heavyweight title is in good hands.