Wladimir Klitschko vs. Lamon Brewster: The Best Heavyweight Fight This Saturday!!!

wladimir klitschko01.07.07 - By Chris Acosta: You take two major league punchers. One is the better boxer, the other more aggressive. One is questionable of chin and stamina, the other in regards to defense. They are both capable of hurting the other. And neither is known for being dull.

If you’ve been in the doldrums about the heavyweight division for the last couple of years, then this could very well be a reason to get excited. Wladimir Klitschko could have very easily taken on an easier assignment while waiting to unify the heavyweight title. He could have let some other “champion” deal with an iron-chinned opponent with tremendous heart and power; an opponent who stopped him in five rounds three years ago.

And challenger Lamon Brewster could have returned with some tune-up wins before giving another go at the title. Instead, they chose to do it again. Of all the match-ups that can be put together with heavyweights right now, this is the best we can get. And both should be given credit for sorting things out without the hesitation caused by politics.

Their first bout was full of drama. Klitschko was coming off that confidence shattering loss to Corrie Sanders and the words from the gym were that he appeared “shot." Lamon on the other hand was dedicating the bout to his recently deceased trainer Bill Slayton and said that Wladimir would have to ‘kill him” to win the fight. Now we’re used to this kind of verbal bravado but you had the sense that this man meant it. In the opening seconds, Brewster charged out of his corner and Wladimir looked like a guy who didn’t want to be there. He grabbed and clutched for dear life and acted as though his rival was holding a knife in each hand. But just as quickly as the heat almost melted him did Wladimir finally settle into a rhythm. His jab began to thud home with painful regularity. He dropped in very hard hooks and right hands and at some points, even manhandled his smaller foe in the clinches.

lamon brewsterStill though, Brewster would occasionally get a left hook home and big Wlad’s panic surfaced as if on cue. In the fourth, Klitschko connected with a short right cross that Lamon didn’t see and it caused him to stumble back into the ropes. If the fight had ended there no one would have argued but it was allowed to go into the fateful fifth.

No one knows for sure but it was either Klitschko’s mental anxiety or Brewster’s punches that abruptly ended the fight. In retrospect, it was probably a combination of the two working together in the kind of harmony only present in a big prizefight. Afterwards it was an emotional scene with the new champion crying with joy and the ex-champion sitting in his corner looking like he’d spent way too much time at the local pub.

Then things got really weird. Rumors begin to swirl that foul play was involved. There were suspicions: a member of Team Klitschko was unable to grab his press credentials because they had already been picked up. It was noted that the odds on the fight had dropped from 11-1 in Wladimir’s favor to 3 ½ to 1 which is odd even by Vegas standards. And veteran referee Robert Byrd explained afterwards that he’d never seen a knockout victim display such bizarre symptoms. Many called it a case of a poor loser unable to cope with defeat while others felt that it was a legitimate complaint. A few weeks later there was no betting line on Vitali Klitschko versus Corrie Sanders as bettors seemed spooked by the possibility of something queer happening once again.

But whatever the case, all of that is in the past and we’ve got a re-match to look forward to. Based on what we’ve seen from each in the time since their first meeting it’s time to evaluate the outcome.

In his last fight, Brewster lost a 12 round decision to Sergei Liakhovich though it was evident that he was in less than peak condition. He also suffered a detached retina which certainly didn’t help. He has the benefit of having trainer Buddy McGirt in his corner and that can only help a puncher as raw as he. But despite what he is taught, Brewster will do what he does best when his essence takes over. He’ll forsake defense in an effort to make a fight out of it. And he’ll have to. The key in this fight will be to not take so much punishment like he did in the initial meeting. If he can stay low and use his jab more, he can get Wladimir to lose his composure. Chances are that it will take a lot more effort to get the Ukrainian in trouble this time because confidence will not be as much of an issue. For Wladimir Klitschko, the plan won’t change very much. Box, box and box.

It worked for four rounds the first go around so there’s no reason to think that it won’t this time. If anyone has the momentum now, it’s Klitschko. Rather than battling the demons of self-doubt he’s gained immeasurable confidence from beating Samuel Peter, Chris Byrd, Calvin Brock and Ray Austin.

The real intrigue here is that we know that Brewster won’t go away quietly. He’ll come in pumped up and that alone makes him a handful. He knows that if it becomes a game of gut checks that he has an advantage. That will keep him walking through heavy fire. Klitschko knows he can outbox Brewster and that he can hurt him as well. He’s longed to show that in addition to his considerable skill that he is as tough as he wants us to believe he is. Come next Saturday, we’ll see whether that comes into play. Something tells me it.

Article posted on 02.07.2007

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