DaVarryl Williamson Meets Wladimir Klitschko

01.10.04 - By Derek Tang: DaVarryl “Touch of Sleep” Williamson and Wladimir “Steelhammer” Klitschko have both suffered devastating knockouts in the past two years. Williamson was literally pounded to sleep by “Baby” Joe Mesi (29-0) in the first round on September 27 of last year before being laid out like a supine Stature of Liberty on the canvas; after getting up from the 1000 count, his boxing career was never the same. No one had ever done that to Williamson before.

Klitschko, on the other hand, was punishing the current WBO champion Lamon Brewster (31-2) before tiring himself out in the 4th and 5th rounds; after landing face first into the canvas and panting heavily for air, Klitschko knew that his comeback trail was doomed. Even after the frightful TKO on April 10th, Klitschko still cannot find definite reasons for his early exhaustion in his fight against Brewster.

Klitschko’s reasons vary from exclaiming that somebody tainted his water bottle to accusing his cutman of smothering excessive amounts of Vaseline on his body so that his body would not be able to vent heat properly and efficiently. After the excuses, especially the bizarre ones, the boxing world did not look at Klitschko the same again.

Williamson has tried to move on since his brutal knockout; he knocked out Kendrick Releford (8-3) early this year in January and decisioned Eliecer Castillo this past April. Yet, Williamson has not been considered a top contender for almost a year now. He needs a victory tomorrow to move up the rankings, build confidence to fight A-quality opponents, and especially, redeem his own integrity. Klitschko has also tried to look past the Brewster incident. His legacy came to a stop when he was knocked consecutively by Corrie Sanders (39-3) in two rounds. The World Boxing Organization suspended Klitschko for at least four months from boxing because of his exhausting performance against Brewster. Even Wladimir’s brother, current WBC champion Vitali Klitschko (34-2), tells us that if Wladimir loses this fight tomorrow against Williamson, then Vitali will advise Wladimir to retire from the sport of boxing. So Klitschko, too, needs to come tomorrow with a solid win, and needs to show boxing fans who Wladimir really is.

Both Williamson and Klitschko aren’t just heavyweights who have suddenly appeared in the boxing sport. The two have an impressive history and had enormous potential when turning pro.

DaVarryl Williamson (20-2, 17KOs), the older of the two at 36 years old, stands at 6’4” and usually weighs in around 215-220 pounds. He has extensive amateur boxing experience, even though he came to the sport late at 25 years old. Williamson was a 10-time National Amateur Champion and with an amateur record of 120-17-1 (103KOs). Just to highlight a few credentials to his name, Williamson was the 1998 Goodwill Games Silver Medalist, the United States National Champion from 1996 through 1998, and was selected as the first heavyweight alternate for the 1996 USA Olympic boxing team. It was because of Williamson’s impressive past record that have kept eyes on him when he turned professional.

Wladimir Klitschko (42-3, 39KOs), the younger of the two at 28 years old, stands at 6’6” and usually performs at his best with a weight in the late 230s and early 240s. Klitschko is the 1996 Super-Heavyweight Olympic Gold Medalist; this title itself says a lot. Though not much is known about Klitschko’s amateur experience, what is known is that Wladimir was also a late bloomer of the sport. He first wanted to take chances with kickboxing, but then found boxing to be more suitable, as his old brother Vitali began to box as well. When Klitschko turned pro, he moved up the rankings with incredible speed and much attention. He knocked out recent Dominick Guinn-killer Monte Barrett and gave Chris Byrd a taste of his own medicine by decisioning him; he also knocked out Jameel McCline and Ray Mercer. Klitschko was 24-0 before suffering his first defeat to the durable Ross Puritty. It was mainly Klitschko’s knockout power and towering height that kept boxing fans reminded of the Russian, Ivan Drago, from the popular Rocky movies.

So what about boxing skill and technique? Williamson is a very straightforward, orthodox boxer. He usually jabs throughout the round with occasional power punches he feels that the opponent is weakening. Williamson is more of an offensive fighter, but waits for his opponent to make the moves first; then Williamson sets up to trade punches. His advantages are power and speed, but his disadvantages seem to outweigh these positives. Williamson likes to stand up straight while boxing, leaving his rib cage exposed and very vulnerable to uppercuts. Plus, Williamson is very light for his height; he has skinny (but defined) arms, and this again leaves his body open for punches. Because of his light weight, he can get muscled around a lot. Lastly, Williamson has a suspect chin. In comparison, Klitschko is a fighter with an unusual style; though his stance is orthodox, he has this awkward crouch with his legs far apart from one either, as if he’s ready to pounce. He has a powerful jab and usually jabs harder and harder as he sees his opponent’s defense crumble. Klitschko then brings out the power punches, which are surprisingly accurate and strong. One strong characteristic about Klitschko’s style is that he turns almost completely sideways when fighting; this makes it very difficult for an opponent to hit him in the chin. Klitschko’s downsides are a suspect chin and possibly a conditioning issue. Tall fighters usually run out of gas early in the rounds, especially with the 20 pounds of more muscle than Williamson he is bringing to the ring.

My Prediction: I don’t really have a preference for who wins. But based on styles and the numerous boxing matches I’ve seen of them, I think the length of the match will be a factor. Klitschko will have his best chances of putting Williamson to sleep in the first 4 to 5 rounds. Williamson’s chances of victory increase every round after the 5th, but I do not feel that Williamson’s punches will affect Klitschko. However, I really don’t see this fight going the distance. Both will surely be cautious in the first two rounds, as they will feel each other out and realize that this is an important fight. I believe Klitschko will win within 3 rounds; it’ll be a KO.

Thank you for reading! Enjoy the fight!

photo: Tom Casino

Article posted on 01.10.2004

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