Klitschko-Brewster 2: Don’t Expect This One To Be Competitive

klitschko, brewster07.07.07 - By Nick Mathur: Tonight, Wladimir Klitschko will battle Lamon Brewster in Köln, Germany for Klitschko’s IBF heavyweight championship belt. The fight is a rematch of their 2004 encounter, which Brewster won by knockout at the end of the fifth round. He endured a steady beating for the first four rounds, and was even down for the first time in his career, before Klitschko finally wilted under Brewster’s constant pressure.

Some people would say that history tends to repeat itself. Those who predict that Brewster will be able to score another huge upset against Klitschko this Saturday have a few reasons upon which to justify their predictions. Brewster is one of the biggest punchers in the division. The old axiom stating that, “it only takes one punch” is especially true among the heavyweights. Klitschko has been knocked out three times, and has been on the canvas on multiple occasions. While he has shown more poise and greater ability to deal with pressure since his loss to Brewster, his durability has always been the most scrutinized aspect of his fight game..

Lamon is a big underdog in this upcoming matchup, as he was the first time these two faced off. He is also coming off of a period of inactivity, which is partly because he had to take time off to recover from a detached retina. These circumstances closely mirror those before their April 2004 meeting, in which Brewster had been inactive for more than a year before the fight, and was also recovering from an injury at that time.

Brewster’s fights against Klitschko, Lyakhovich, Krasniqi, and even Kali Meehan, were wars of attrition. He was able to absorb a ton of punishment while inflicting damage to his opponents in return. Many people will remember the iron chin and amazing heart that Lamon displayed in each of these battles, and use that as a basis for thinking that a similar pattern from the first fight between Klitschko and Brewster will develop in the rematch: Brewster will be able to withstand Klitschko’s best punches. Wladimir will be forced to expend a lot of energy in order to avoid being hit. A combination of Brewster’s body shots and “relentless” aggression will tire Klitschko out, leaving him susceptible to Lamon’s sledgehammer power shots.

Evan after taking into account all of these factors, it is important to realize that both combatants are different fighters now than they were during their first encounter. Wladimir Klitschko is simply a better boxer now under the tutelage of Emanuel Steward. He has become more economical with his punch output, more relaxed in the ring. And his newly adopted strategy of clinching when he gets close to his opponent negates their ability to work on the inside, which would probably be one of the tactics that Brewster would have to successfully employ in order to win a second time against Wladimir.

After partaking in numerous back and forth, crowd pleasing fights, Brewster is likely at the tail end of his career. As we saw with Jose Luis Castillo against Hatton, fighters can age quickly, seemingly overnight, if they have been in too many tough fights. They are often unable to physically compete with their younger opponents, even if the desire to win is still there. And many boxers, like Castillo, who once showed an uncanny ability to take a punch, end up falling when they absorb more damage than their bodies can withstand. Regardless of how much the mind wills the body to stay upright and continue.

I anticipate that Klitschko will slaughter Brewster on Saturday night. Whether it’s an early knockout, or a sustained beating that ends with a referee or corner stoppage, I think that Wladimir is too good and has learned too much from his past mistakes to allow Brewster to score another magical upset victory.

Both he and Wladimir have conducted themselves with dignity and class, as usual, throughout the buildup of this event. And it was pleasing to note that Wladimir has put aside any of the previous allegations of foul play that surfaced after the first fight. He has stated that it is all behind him now, and that Lamon deserved the victory that night. That being said, I can’t help feeling sorry for Brewster. He is one of the true gentlemen of the sport, but is headed for a serious beating in my estimation.

Matchups like this one, with one fighter going in to the contest as a heavy favorite over his opponent, occur fairly regularly in boxing. People generally enjoy seeing undefeated fighters or fan favorites score crushing knockout victories over other fighters. Most of whom have a miniscule chance of scoring an upset, or of even being competitive, for that matter. Lamon appears to have trained hard for this bout and seems to believe that he will win. But the probable outcome is that he will lose, and eat a ton of leather in the process. The saving grace is that Brewster, a married father of four, will at least be rewarded relatively well monetarily for his efforts. It couldn’t happen to a nicer guy.

Article posted on 07.07.2007

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