Klitschko/Brewster: Can Lamon Pull Another Upset?

lamon brewster06.07.07 - By Gary Jones: With Saturday's bout between IBF heavyweight champion Wladimir Klitschko (48-3, 43 KOs) and challenger Lamon Brewster (33-3, 29 KOs) fast approaching, seemingly few boxing writers or fans are giving the hard-punching Brewster, 34, much of a chance against the younger Klitschko brother in their rematch in Koln, Germany. So far, the general consensus had been that Wladimir has measurably improved since then with six consecutive wins, with several of them of them being against quality opponents, such as Chris Byrd, Calvin Brock and Ray Austin.

The fans and writers also point to Wladimir's change of fighting style, which now resembles a cross between Lennox Lewis' clinch and slug style with an added element of the ring movement of a prime Muhammed Ali. Gone, perhaps to trainer Emanuel Steward's relief, is this old style of stand of Wladimir standing in front of his opponents and trying to mow them down with power shots.

Brewster, meanwhile, has been inactive for a little over a year since losing his WBO heavyweight to Serguei Liakhovich on April 1, 2006. In that bout, Brewster injured his left eye, suffering a detached retina early in the bout. Rather than quitting, Brewster fought on like a true warrior and came close to stopping Liakhovich in the 7th round when he forced him to take a knee to escape the punishment Brewster was dishing out. It's unclear how Brewster would have performed if the eye injury hadn't occurred, but if history is any kind of guide, he would have likely taken Liakhovich out, just as Brewster had did in comeback wins over Wladimir Klitschko and Luan Krasniqi. The injury is now fully healed, Brewster says, and has been tested in countless hours of sparring. The eye, however, remains one of the main reasons why most people are counting him out in this rematch with Klitschko, thinking that Brewster will be tentative about being punched in the face, particularly by a fighter than can punch as hard as Wladimir Klitschko.

The other reason they're counting him out, I believe, is how easily Liakhovich controlled the bout with Brewster. Liakhovich made Brewster look bad at times, seeming to give him a boxing lesson up until the 7th round when Liakhovich got careless and tried to stand in front of Brewster and trade punches. How much of that was due to the eye injury, and how much was based on Brewster's average boxing skills, only he knows for sure. The image, however, of Brewster taking a tremendous beating from Liakhovich has had a lasting impression on fans, many who figure it will be much the same against Wladimir, and even harder puncher than Liakhovich.

For Wladimir, if this bout is going to be any different than last time, understandably, he's going to have to avoid letting Brewster get close enough to land his big left hook. Last time they fought, Wladimir appeared to take no notice of Brewster's main weapon until he was badly hurt by it in the 4th and 5th rounds. By then, it was too late for Wladimir, because once he got hit a couple of times by the punch, he wasn't in any type of condition to recover from it. The key, then, is for Wladimir to move constantly, jab, and clinch whenever Brewster gets too close. It will be a tough task for Wladimir, however, since he'll have to stay active and alert all fight long, just as he did against Samuel Peter. If Wladimir get's tired or sloppy, even for an instance, it could be all over.

Brewster, though, only has to do what he does in all his bouts, which is to come forward constantly and apply non-stop pressure. He'll have to take 5-6 shots in order to get his own power hooks in, and remain calm while doing so. He needs to make Wladimir pay when he attempts to clinch, by landing body shots and an occasional shot to the back of Wladimir's head, like Peter effectively did in the clinch. This was a good tactic that made Wladimir appear fearful of clinching at times in the bout, making him use more of his energy to move around the ring. If Brewster can keep Wladimir from clinching as much as he'd like, it's likely that Brewster can tire out Wladimir by perhaps the 9th or 10th rounds and then score another knockout.

Article posted on 07.07.2007

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