Can Wladimir Klitschko avenge his loss to Lamon Brewster?

wladimir klitschko27.06.07 - By Geoffrey Ciani: Wladimir Klitschko and Lamon Brewster both deserve credit. On July 7, the two will square off for the second time. When first they met, the two battled for the vacant WBO heavyweight championship. This time they will be fighting for Klitschko’s IBF championship. For both, however, there’s more at stake than just the title. This one’s about legacy.

This bout is intriguing for numerous reasons. In their first bout, Klitschko dominated the early rounds by utilizing his superior size and skills. He used a jack-hammer jab to keep Brewster at bay while mixing in some left hooks and dropping the occasional right hand. Brewster was being battered mercilessly and was even dropped in the fourth round of the contest. It appeared the knockdown was the beginning of the end for Brewster.

Of course, we all know what happened next. Brewster showed tremendous heart, rose to his feet, and survived. In the next round, Klitschko was the one who found himself on the canvas, and just like that, Brewster had turned a certain defeat into a marvelous victory, winning the WBO prize belt in the process.

This seemed to signify the end of Wladimir Klitschko. Likewise, it appeared that Lamon Brewster was on the rise.

How the times have changed.

Now, Klitschko is widely regarded as the best of the four heavyweight champions while Brewster is coming off a long period of inactivity. It’s been over a year since Brewster last fought when he lost his WBO crown to the White Wolf, Serguei Lyakhovich. Brewster suffered a detached retina in that bout, leaving many to wonder whether he’d ever fight again.

Not only is he fighting again, but he’s about to square off against the most talented pugilist the division has to offer. For that, he deserves credit. Without taking a tune-up bout, Brewster is bound to show some ring rust. This is a dangerous prospect for one who’s preparing to challenge Wladimir Klitschko, but perhaps Brewster will be better prepared than we think. After all, when these two last met, Brewster was coming off of a similar period of inactivity.

Klitschko has suffered three losses in his professional career. To date, he’s never avenged any of these losses. That he’s willing to voluntarily defend his crown against his former conqueror is a bold move on Klitschko’s part. For that, he deserved credit, especially considering the current boxing landscape where many champions are happy to choose the path of least resistance.

There are a ton of questions pertaining to this bout. Can Klitschko overcome any Brewster’s psychological advantage? Will Brewster be able to absorb the type of punishment he received last time? Can Klitschko finish Brewster off if he gets him in trouble? Can Brewster work the body effectively? Can Klitschko pace himself? Will Brewster’s eye injury pose any problems?

These questions will all be answered in due time.

What I remember most about their first bout is how Wlad seemingly “fought scared”. Not that Klitschko was scared of Brewster, but rather, he seemed extremely weary of his power. That was the first time Manny Steward had ever trained Klitschko, and many observers feel Manny tried to change too much too soon. As a result, perhaps Klitschko was caught in between styles? Perhaps the transition even confused Klitschko? Whatever the case may be, Klitschko exerted an awful lot of energy trying to keep Brewster at bay—almost as if he was desperate not to be tagged by a Brewster haymaker.

In the end, I believe that’s what cost Wlad the fight.

Since that time, Klitschko has shown much improvement under the tutorship of Steward. He seems like a much more relaxed, and frankly, a much more complete fighter. He’s show more patience as of late, and against Sam Peter, he proved he has the heart and recuperative powers to repeatedly rise from the canvas and still win. He may well have to do that again in order to get by Brewster, but then again, if he exhibits the same type of patience he has in recent contests, that might be a non-issue.

For me, this bout all comes down to Klitschko. If he is incapable of getting over the psychological aspects of the first defeat he suffered against Brewster, he may be in some trouble. On the other hand, if he exhibits the type of confidence which enabled him to come back from two devastating set-backs (at the hands of Brewster and Corrie Sanders) then he stands a great chance at reversing the outcome of their first encounter.

The first round or two should tell the whole story. If Wlad comes out shooting the jab like a jack-hammer in a desperate attempt to keep Brewster away from him, that will signify that he hasn’t overcome the psychological affects of their last encounter. If, on the other hand, he comes out relaxed and measured, carefully choosing his shots without any sign of desperation, that will tell me he isn’t the least bit concerned about the outcome of their last bout—it will be a sign of confidence.

We should know early on the answers to the question pertaining to Klitschko’s state of mind. If he’s confident, it may be a short night, for Wlad has all the tools to properly dispose of Brewster. If he’s desperate, it may still be a short night, because Brewster has proven he can take Wlad’s best shots before delivering a knockout blow of his own.

Should be a good one!

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Article posted on 28.06.2007

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