Klitschko-Valuev to restore Heavyweight lineage?

15.03.07 – By Adrian Saba: Last Saturday, Wladimir Klitschko’s job was to defeat the man that the IBF put in front of him, Ray Austin, and he accomplished it via destruction in the second round. It was surprising to watch Wladimir KOing someone without the use of his right hand, and with 4 overwhelming left hooks. Klitschko did as he was expected, there is no other way of seeing this, and he should not be criticized for taking that fight. It was that or getting stripped (and I’m against all the ABC belts, but the sad truth is that fighters still need them). The responsibles here are, as usual, the infamous sanctioning bodies –the IBF in this opportunity..

During the press conference, after nearly breaking Austin’s face, Wladimir said that his desire was to confront WBA titlist Nikolay Valuev in his next fight; probably in June or July. Valuev answered very quickly, he said that he accepted the challenge, but that ultimately it was decision of his management. Why is Valuev the best option for unification?

Oleg Maskaev is too busy finishing a soap opera (protagonists: Vitali Klitschko, Samuel Peter and him). Their problems started in late January, when Vitali announced that he was coming back, and they seem to be finally signing a deal. If you want to talk about unification, take the WBC off the map. Maskaev will probably defend against Vitali in June, and then the winner of that will face Peter later this year (October maybe?). I don’t think that the WBC titlist will be unifying anything this year.

Shannon Briggs? He’ll fight Sultan Ibragimov, that looked impressive in his demolition of Javier Mora, in June also. I think Briggs actually is looking forward for unification against any of the beltholders, however, I can’t say the same of his management. Last year, they didn’t want to make Wladimir-Briggs.

Nikolay Valuev is a very good option to fight against Wladimir, if he first defeats Ruslan Chagaev, a legitimate world Top10 contender, in April. The Ring Magazine included Valuev in their ratings, for the first time, when he defeated Ruiz. However, the win was controverial and they decided to rank him below “the Quiet Man”, a polemical decision that was not appreciated by everyone. Last year, Valuev fought 3 fringe contenders, Beck, Barrett and McCline, and kept his undefeated record (which means little). Eventually, Valuev climbed the rankings and today he is the #4 contender. If he defeats Chagaev, there a many chances that he’ll move into the Top3. As everyone knows, Wladimir is the #1 contender, so the potential fight between him and Valuev would be for the World Title.

I hope Valuev doesn’t disappoint us. If he wins against Chagaev then he must fight Wladimir. Reaching 49-0 or 50-0 can be a captivating and tempting challenge, but he must realize that it doesn’t mean much, unless he defeats an elite fighter like Klitschko. There’s one more problem: Don King. He has never liked the Klitschkos (since the anecdote of the “phantom piano”) –and viceversa–, and might be a problem to make this fight happen.

Article posted on 16.03.2007

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