Vitali Klitschko TKO’s Juan Carlos Gomez In 9th

Vitali Klitschko21.03.09 - By Paul Strauss: Dr Ironfist sedated the Black Panther in Hanns-Martin Schleyer Halle, Stuttgart, Baden-Wurttemberg, Germany. The official time was 1:48 of the 9th round, but from the seventh round on it was a foregone conclusion. In fact, Vitali Klitschko probably took every round, but the first.

The fight was definitely not a thing of beauty. But, the Klitschko brothers have a way of continuing to win. In this particular contest, the so called better boxer, Juan Carlos Gomez, is the one who looked sloppy. He (and Vitali) pawed with his jab. He tried to use it as a range finder and shade for his straight left.

Initially, it appeared Vitali might cooperate with the big cat, because he moved to his right, which was into Gomez' power. However, Gomez was unable to land the left because Vitali would either block it with his right, or slip it to his right

During those few occasions when Gomez would be able to work his way inside, he was complacent, and would put his hands behind Vitali, which was a telling sign he did not want to punch. That was a monumental error, because he certainly had no hope of beating Vitali at long range.

The fight started and continued in sloppy fashion. There was lots of pawing and lunging. From the get-go, Vitali carried his hands down, inviting Gomez to try long shots. It was obvious Vitali was confident he could block Gomez' punches, or better yet, beat him to the punch. Not much in the way of effective punching happened in the first round, so it was difficult to score. But, do Gomez a favor and give it to him, because that's the last favor he would get.

In the second round, Vitali started throwing more right hands, but at first he was swinging with the punch. Then boom, he landed a short straight right, and he began to further mix up his punches, going first to the body and then to the head. The round ended with both fighters throwing punches at the bell. Score the round for Vitali.

It was interesting to note that between rounds, Vitali was already swallowing water, which is something most fighters avoid, because it tends to slow them down. In response to Brian Kenny's question, hall of frame trainer Teddy Atlas said he would like to see Vitali extend his jab more, and keep Gomez at range. But, Gomez appeared to also be hoping Vitali would do that, so he could counter. Gomez did manage to land a few counter lefts. Vitali sneaked in a few a few shots when Gomez relaxed thinking the referee might break them. It was reinforcement of the old adage, "Protect your self at all times!" Chalk up another round for Vitali.

In the fourth round, Vitali opened up more, and landed several jabs to Gomez' right eye, which started to swell both above and below the eye itself. It also was becoming bloodshot. It was another round for Vitali. In the fifth round, Vitali appeared very confident, and started taking more chances. He opened a cut on the right eyelid of Gomez. The giant from the Ukraine was now consistently beating Gomez to the punch with lefts and short rights. Gomez looked "gassed".

In the sixth, Vitali opened the round by stepping in with hard right hands. Gomez still wasn't doing anything on the inside. Unexplainably, a long, deep cut opened up on top of Vitali's head? It wasn't clear how the cut occurred, but it must have been due to a head butt. Thankfully for Vitali, it wasn't located in a spot that could potentially cause him vision problems This was another round tallied for the Klitschko side.

In the seventh, Gomez finally landed a decent straight left, but Klitschko got in a good right in return. Moments later, Klitschko landed a strong right hand that put Gomez down. Vitali moved in to finish off his prey, but Gomez clicked into survivor mode, and in the process he clinched so fiercely that he dragged both Klitschko and himself down to the canvas. This obviously was a big round for Vitali.

In the eighth round, Gomez sustained another cut. This time it was over the left eye. As a result, the referee Daniel Van de Wiele deducted a point from Vitali, but it wasn't clear what foul Vitali committed......i.e. intentional head butt, thumb in the eye, elbow, etc.? Vitali didn't seem to object, so whatever he was accused of doing, he must have felt he did? Soon thereafter, Vitali caught Gomez with another right hand and down he went again. Gomez got up, but seconds later he turned his back, and the referee came close to halting the action, but did not. Vitali's performance was impressive, as was Gomez' courage to continue.

Gomez managed to struggle through another minute and forty-nine seconds, before the referee stepped in and stopped the slaughter. So, once again a Klitschko brother got the job done, but not in "highlight reel" fashion. The heavyweight division is still looking for that Tyson like destroyer, or the exciting real deal.

Still, it's hard to argue with success. Granted, Vitali might have pawed out with his jab, but he also managed to score over the top of Gomez' pawing right jab. Criticize him for moving to his right and into the power of Gomez, but then acknowledge that he kept Gomez from landing the left, and further managed to either beat Gomez to the punch, or block Gomez' left with his own right. Then he would turn the right into a short counter punch.

After all, he's the doctor, and his prescription proved effective. It was, “Take one of these, a couple of those, and then some time off to recuperate.”

Article posted on 22.03.2009

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