Who remains to challenge the Klitschko brothers?

By Bill Patrice Jones - Following Wladimir Klitschko’s dominant title defence against Eddie Chambers, I have been grappling with one single question; who else is left standing to challenge either Klitschko brother?

I don’t care what arguments people conjure about how weak the top ten of heavyweights currently is, the fact is the dominance of both Klitschko’s, especially Wladimir, is at this point immensely impressive. This is indeed an era in which great heavyweight challengers are hard to come by.. Conversely this sort of sheer domination over any era, on display from the Klitschko brothers, is always highly impressive. Although many regard Vitali Klitschko as the superior brother, I consider this to be Wladimir’s era. Vitali had a rightful claim to being undisputed following Lennox Lewis’s retirement, and despite his successful comeback against Sam Peter, ever since Wladimir partially unified the titles I believe he has a claim to being the new heavyweight champion of the world. In some respects Vitali’s comeback detracted attention from Wladimir and perhaps denied him the accolade as ‘undisputed champion’. Most expect he would have defeated then reigning WBC champion Samuel Peter in a rematch leaving him with 3 of the 4 world titles.

What both brothers now need though are a series of entertaining defences against dangerous and worthy opponents. Not because they have something to prove; but, because these fights will live long in the memory following the retirement of both brothers. There are precious few genuine threats left behind and it is worth considering some of the potential fights still out there.

1. David Haye

The reigning WBA champion Haye is unquestionably the most logical challenge to either Klitschko brother. He is young, athletic, appealing and explosive. A fight between Haye and either brother would surely generate a massive amount of international interest. Regardless of his chances at upsetting either brother, a fight between them is a must for heavyweight boxing right now. He is scheduled to defend his titles against the proven John Ruiz this Saturday.

Ideal fight: David Haye Vs Vitali Klitschko

Reason: Haye versus either brother is a great match up; however, a fight with Vitali is the perfect way for Dr Iron fist to bow out from the sport. If he really does retire after 2010 I believe he deserves an exciting and definitive final victory over a charismatic challenger.

2. Alexander Povetkin

The almost perpetual challenger is a lot older than most people would imagine given he has never fought for a world title. People have been anticipating a Povetkin Wladimir clash for a long time now. Though he cannot lay claim to having faced a true puncher, under the tutelage of Teddy Atlas, he poses a worthy fight for a dominant champion.

Ideal fight: Povetkin Vs Wladimir Klitschko

Reason: Povetkin has been in line for a long time now and deserves his shot.

3. Odlanier Solis

The undefeated Cuban powerhouse is a genuine hot prospect for the future. A celebrated amateur, Solis has now gone 16 fights undefeated with 12 knockouts along the way. Though many question his conditioning and work ethic, Solis has made great strides in his last three fights. The fact is even at an overweight 260-280 Solis looks solid and powerful. Well over his fighting best at 272 he was able to blow away the gatekeeper Barrett. If Solis can get down to 245 he will be a huge force in the division. He has power, a solid chin and good ring awareness. Like many former amateur standouts he also looks relaxed in the ring. He was last seen pummelling Carl Drummond at 268.

Ideal fight: Solis vs. Vitali Klitschko Reason: It would be great to see Vitali take on another fierce power puncher.

4. Samuel Peter

Many will scorn at the inclusion of Sam Peter in a list of logical challenges to either Klitschko. The primary reason would be; he has fought and lost to both brother. In spite of this I believe the rejuvenated Sam Peter currently out there is still a viable threat. The big punching Nigerian went undefeated before dropping a decision to Wladimir in a tremendous tussle in 2005. He picked up the WBC belt at the tail end of a six fight winning streak, before being thoroughly dominated by Vitali in his first defence. Peter looked like a spent force when he turned up almost twenty pounds overweight for his fight with Vitali. Yet since his defeat to Eddie Chambers he has shown work ethic and determination in getting back into fighting shape.

Ideal fight: Peter Vs Wladimir Klitschko

Reason: Peter has no business fighting Vitali again after such a horrible outing in 2008. However he was the last fighter to really push Wladimir in a contest. He is still well known and a rematch with Wladimir in Germany would be an intriguing bout. Though he would be a big underdog, he would have a chance based on their first fight.

There are other bouts out there many of you readers will feel are far more intriguing than the above four. The above are just my personal choices. You might also want to consider such names as:

Tomasz Adamek
Jonathon Banks
Chris Arreola
Dennis Boystov etc

I think ideally from this point on Vitali needs to face opponents who will add a great deal of weight to his legacy. He was never able (because of injuries) to reign for a long period of time. The last thing he needs is the ever present post retirement question; ‘Who did he really beat?’ If he were to deliver a knockout to David Haye in his farewell fight, it might be the perfect way to bow out. As for Wladimir he has settled into a sustained period of dominance. Were it not for his disappointing points win over Ibragimov he would have broken Tommy Burn’s long held record of eight consecutive title defences by knockout! Wladimir looks set to reign for some time, what he craves are aggressive boxers with power who will shock him or be shocked in return! A Sam Peter rematch is therefore attractive because Wladimir would desperately want to improve from his last showing against him, and because Peter will try to launch a sustained attack.

Hopefully the future will provide these worthy challenges that both Klitschko surely deserves.

Article posted on 01.04.2010

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