Brewster-Klitschko: Look for Lamon to stop Wladimir once again

lamon brewster30.06.07 - By Matt Stein: IBF/IBO heavyweight champion Wladimir Klitschko (48-3, 43 KOs) will attempt to exact revenge for an earlier stinging loss when he meets up with challenger Lamon Brewster (33-3, 29 KO’s) on Saturday, July 6th in Cologne, Germany. After Wladimir having failed to line up a unification bout with one of the other three heavyweight champions, Brewster appears to have gotten the chance by default rather than any accomplishment on his own. Add to that, Brewster recently coming off a long lay off due to eye surgery, probably didn't hurt his chances either.

Three years ago, in April 10, 2004, the two met for the vacant WBO heavyweight title in a bout that Wladimir appeared to take Brewster a little too lightly, maybe because he had seen how easy two other fighters – Charles Shufford and Clifford Etienne – had beaten Brewster as he attempted to knock him out earlier on.

Like in his previous knockout loss against Ross Puritty in 1998, a bout in which Wladimir punched himself out in the 10th round and was ultimately stopped in the 11th, when the knockout didn’t come against Brewster by the 4th, Wladimir was essentially an easy mark for him in the 5th, and was stopped by a series of hard combinations by Brewster. In the weeks following the bout, there was speculation about Wladimir having been drugged by someone prior to the bout after Wladimir’s blood sugar levels had tested low. However, by many of ringside observer’s perspective, it just appeared that Wladimir had simply thrown too many punches and had gotten hit with a good shot - a left hook - when he was too tired to get out of the way of it.

Since then, Wladimir – with trainer Emanuel Steward’s help – has worked diligently at slowing down his fighting pace, making it a practice of pacing himself, staying on the outside more often, using his jab more frequently, and perhaps most of all, clinching much more frequently. Of all the changes Wladimir and Steward have made, probably the clinching has been the single most successful asset in Wladimir’s toolbox. Without it, Wladimir would have likely have been stopped in his bout with Samuel Peter, a fighter that pressured Wladimir constantly.

With his new clinching technique, it gave Wladimir the ability to land a series of jabs and right hands, and then quickly clinch when his opponent tries to retaliate. At the same time, it helps Wladimir a chance to rest, something that he never did previously earlier in his career when he would throw constant punches from start to finish. The ring movement, however, has helped Wladimir almost as much, as has his loss of some of his upper body muscle, which had made him too top heavy and slowed him down late in the bout.

After his loss to Brewster, Wladimir had a bit of trouble with DaVarryl Williamson, who knocked Wladimir down with a right hand, although it turned out to be a flash knockdown, as Wladimir immediately got up and returned fire effectively and had Williamson in full retreat for the rest of the bout, which was stopped in the 5th round due to a cut Wladimir received as a result of a headbutt. In his next bout, Wladimir easily stopped Eliseo Castillo in the 4th round. Instead of taking it easy, Wladimir stepped it up in perhaps his most exciting bout of his career, a 12-round decision over Samuel Peter in September 2005, in an IBF eliminator. Although Wladimir was knocked down several times, he dominated most of the action, and badly hurt Peter in the 12th round with a monstrous left hook.

wladimir klitschkoIn his next bout, Wladimir beat IBF heavyweight champion Chris Byrd, stopping him in the 7th round in a one-sided match. Indeed, Byrd was never able to deal with Klitschko’s huge size, speed and power advantage, and took a terrible pounding from the 4th round until the 7th. Wladimir followed this up with a 7th round knockout win over prospect Calvin Brock in November 2006, and then a 2nd round stoppage of Ray Austin in March 2007.

However, if there’s one thing that has remained equal since Klitschko’s win over Peter, it’s that he’s fought mostly fighters without much power to threaten him with. In fact, none of the three fighters – Chris Byrd, Calvin Brock and Ray Austin – are remotely as powerful as either Brewster or Peter, which takes some of the glamor away from Wladimir’s accomplishment during this time.

Brewster, for his part, is coming off a year lay off after his loss to Serguei Liakhovich in April 2006, in a bout in which Brewster suffered a detached retina in his left eye, requiring surgery and an extended amount of time for the eye to heal. Previous to this, Brewster had successfully defended the WBO heavyweight title three times against friend Kali Meehan, Andrew Golota and Luan Krasniqi, all of which were incredibly entertaining bouts, and leading many boxing fans to consider Brewster to be the most exciting fighter in the heavyweight division. His loss against Liakhovich didn’t change that, as it was easiest the best fight of the year for 2006. After the loss, however, not much was heard of by Brewster, since he made few interviews to the media, which prompted many fans to consider him possibly finished as a boxer. Suddenly, however, he came out of nowhere, announcing he was back and ready to fight Wladimir Klitschko in July, even without a warm-up bout in-between.

The lack of a warm-up bout, though, is what has many fans doubtful that he’ll be successful this time against the Ukrainian fighter. One can assume this idea is Brewster’s along, as it would be unconceivable that his trainer or manager would advise for him to take such a tough bout following an injury as serious a detached retina. However, in fairness to Brewster, he probably knows the condition of his eye better than others, having spent considerable time sparring for his bout with Wladimir. If there were any real problems, Brewster would have likely called off the bout and given himself more time for the eye to properly heal.

As things are, if Brewster is back at 100% of his previous point before the injury, he would figure to be a very tough obstacle for Wladimir to get by. In fact, I believe he’s all wrong for Wladimir, and next to impossible for him to beat unless he fights a very smart fight without any mental or physical lapses like in his previous losing bouts. Brewster, although at 6’2”, he’s four inches shorter than the 6’6” Wladimir, Brewster had very long arms and an excellent jab, which cancels out much of Wladimir’s height advantage. But more than that, Brewster can take an incredible amount of punishment without being stopped, and with his constant forward movement, he rarely lets his opponents get much rest. When Wladimir realizes that he can’t keep him off of him with any of his shots, he’ll find himself in a very vulnerable position of having to trade with in order to win.

Like I said, it will be very tough on Wladimir, mainly because Brewster won’t give him any chance to get a breather. Also, Brewster is a very deceiving, as he’ll slow down and not do much other than absorb punches for sometimes extended periods of a round, and then suddenly he’ll reel off 20 consecutive power punches, like in his bout with Liakhovich, making if very difficult to weather the storm. In between these bursts of energy, he’s still punching incredibly hard and can stop a fighter at any time with his powerful left hook or straight right hand. Previously, he only had a left hook that an opponent had to worry about, but since he started training under Buddy McGirt, he’s learned to use his right hand and now can hit almost as equally hard as he can with his left hook.

In watching Brewster’s last three fights, against Andrew Golota, Luan Krasniqi and Serguei Liakhovich, I counted numerous punches by Brewster that would have stopped Wladimir in his tracks if he had been hit with them. In fact, in his bout with Liakhovich, he landed a couple hundred devastating power shots that I’m certain Wladimir would have never been able to take and remain upright. Since watching that fight, in particular, I have new respect for Liakhovich, despite his problems with Shannon Briggs, and feel that he is a special fighter.

Wladimir’s biggest problem, it would seem, is that in order for him to beat Brewster, he will have to take at least in the neighborhood of 100 of those wicked shots in order to win, and there’s no way around it. Brewster doesn’t allow fighters to win without getting messy in the trenches with him, he just doesn’t. Wladimir, therefore, will have to trade and trade often regardless of how much he tries to avoid it. Thus, I predict Wladimir to get taken out by the mid to the late rounds, likely by 8th, after he Brewster catches up to him and unloads on him. It won’t be a one-punch knockout, but rather the result of one of Brewster’s 10-20 punch surges he makes, which will make it impossible for Wladimir to back away and escape all of them. Much like in his bout with Peter, where Wladimir kept backing up while Peter was constantly punching and moving forward, causing Wladimir to run out of real estate and back into the ropes, at which point he was knocked down by one of Peter’s shots, Brewster will do essentially the same thing.

Prediction: Brewster by 8th round KO

Article posted on 30.06.2007

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