Klitchko vs. Williamson: Pain = Their Game

02.10.04 – By Vincent van der Steen: Eighteen months ago, the younger of the two Klitchko brothers, Wladimir ‘Dr. Steelhammer’ Klitchko – 42-3 (39) – was considered the future of the heavyweight division. At 26 with only one loss – due to inexperience – to his resume, the younger of the two brothers was widely regarded to be the most likely successor to Lennox ‘the Lion’ Lewis’ throne – 41-2-1 (32). Lewis was to have Vitaly ‘Dr. Ironfist’ Klitchko – 34-2 (33) – for breakfast, ‘Iron’ Mike Tyson – 50-5 (44) – for lunch with Wladimir Klitchko being the main course at Lewis’ last supper.

The Heir and his Despair:

History would however tell a different story. Breakfast turned out to be heavier than Oprah, lunch a no-show, and dinner had already been served and gobbled up by a hungry half-retired part-time golfer by the name of Corrie Sanders – 39-3 (29). Now, 18 months later it is the ‘stiff and robotic’ elder brother who sits on the morose throne left by Lewis while his brother lost by a fifth round KO in his bid to recapture the lightly regarded WBO heavyweight crown against ‘Relentless’ Lamon Brewster – 31-2 (27).

That fight was supposed to be the first instalment of ‘the Klitchko Quest for World Domination’ in the post-Lewis era. Wladimir’s lack of defensive coordination when pressured was exposed during his match with Sanders. With Lewis retired, Emanuel Steward was brought in to train Wladimir with an eye to emulating the success he had with Lennox Lewis after he had been blown out in two by ‘the Atomic Bull’ Oliver McCall – 41-7 (31). It showed, as Wladimir exhibited more lateral movement and intent to clinch whenever his opponent tried to swerve inside.

After dominating for the better part of four rounds and sending Lamon to the canvass, the unrelenting Brewster kept persevering. Wladimir in the meanwhile started to look winded in round 5, especially after Brewster clocked him with a big left. He wavered while gasping for air, after stumbling back into the ropes before falling down face first due to fatigue. The dramatic turnaround and images of a badly winded Klitchko in the corner afterwards left many of us wondering ‘whereto now for the young Ukrainian giant’.

Touch of Sleep:

Up next will be the hard punching DaVarryl ‘Touch of Sleep’ Williamson – 20-2 (17). DaVarryl Williamson is a relative newcomer to the ranks of professional boxing although he is at the advanced age of 36. His major assets are his extensive amateur credentials, and his implosive right hand equaliser. Basically, TOS sticks to the basics while lulling his opponents into a falls sense of comfort before putting them to sleep with a single touch of the big right.

His career to date has not been very impressive as of yet, and he is probably best known for losing by a first round KO to that other troubled contender ‘Baby’ Joe Mesi – 29-0 (25). Williamson also tends to open up too much when he is on the offensive, lacks work rate, and has a questionable chin. However, his 6’4 frame, 80 inch reach, his concussive right hand and the fact that this might be his last shot at breaking the top 10 is what makes this guy a solid threat to almost any of the current top 15 in the heavyweight division.

The Crossroads:

Both these fighters have entered the crossroads of their respective careers. Another knockout, or defeat per se, would effectively end either career as a legitimate contender. A win, depending on the fashion, could however shed a ‘renewed’ light on the long road towards challenging for boxing’s ultimate prize. Klitchko will not silence his critics by beating a fringe contender like Williamson, because that is what he is supposed to do. But it would be a huge step in rebuilding what used to be a promising career. Williamson would get some much needed exposure and a second leash on what might be a significant step towards the top 10.

The Fight:

Nobody expects this fight to go the full ten rounds, because both aren’t exactly known for their iron jaws. Common sense tells us, based on the Brewster fight and the TOS losses, that a long fight would favour ‘Touch of Sleep’, and a short fight would favour Klitchko. I would however have to disagree with this common assertion. I tend to believe that the Brewster-debacle was a direct result of Brewster not backing down, and that Wladimir could not muster the thought of an extended fight against an opponent who would take twenty to dish out one.

In my view ‘Touch of Sleep’ lacks that kind of resolve and determination. Where Brewster is a crouching fighter that stays low, Williamson fights upright. This should make it easier for Wladimir to clinch and bully him around the ring. I also think that both Klitchko and Steward underestimated Brewster, and the effect that bullying and staying extremely focused have on a fighter’s stamina and endurance. A fighter that changes his technique needs time to get accustomed to it. You are used to a certain technique and approach to fighting, which means – at first – you need to think a split second longer which consumes energy.

My guess is that Wladimir Klitchko will make short work of DaVarryl Williamson. In my opinion he has a better jab, and a better arsenal of punches than anyone Williamson has ever faced. Klitchko will keep Williamson off balance with his superb jab, which will keep Williamson on the defensive. In the second and third round he will start to tee off, and to the contrary to Lamon Brewster, Williamson will show he lacks the beard to weather that hammering storm. An upset is not unlikely, as Williamson truly has a great equaliser, but I would expect a Williamson KO to come from a well-timed counterpunch rather than fatigue or the accumulation of punches. Just my 50 cents, enjoy the fight.

Article posted on 02.10.2004

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