Vitali Klitschko vs. Danny Williams: Nothing to lose for Williams!

10.12.04 - By Marcus Wood: July 30th 2004 Danny Williams knocked out Mike Tyson in the fourth round in Louisville, USA. Fast forward four months and Danny Williams is preparing to fight reigning WBC world champion Vitali Klitschko as a direct result. On Saturday, December 11th, Danny Williams will find out if he can carry on where he left off in Louisville or whether fighting the reigning world champion is a step too far.. The odds are stacked up incredibly against Williams. Tyson was 38, hadnít fought since knocking out Clifford Etienne in 49 seconds almost 2 years prior and had an injured leg when he was knocked out by Williams. Williams also had a good height advantage which he used to good effect on a Tyson whose speed now appears to be a distant memory. Klitschko, on the other hand, is 33, which is right in his prime. He has a 5 inch height advantage over Williams, has massive knockout power and has beaten Kirk Johnson, Corrie Sanders and taken Lennox Lewis to the brink in his last fights.

Fighting Klitschko is a completely different proposal to fighting Mike Tyson. First of all, not only does Williams have no height advantage, heís at a height disadvantage. This means heís going to have to work his way inside, which Williams has never had to do before. Williams does have one thing going for him. In the first round in his fight in Louisville, he had to put up with the kind of shots only Mike Tyson can deliver.

The fact Williams survived Tysonís initial steam roller style attack gives optimism that he can survive Klitschkoís long distance but powerful hits. Another chance Williams has is to open up Klitschkoís cuts which Lennox Lewis caused in their war. They were incredibly severe and will always be at a risk of being opened up again unless Klitschko takes a long break to heal up properly.

In all truth, Williams has been rushed into this. The Tyson fight was his first foray onto the top class world stage. Other than Tyson, Williams has never faced true world class opposition. It can be seen two ways. Either he should have fought a few other world class fighters before challenging Klitschko or he should have seized the chance while everyone is still talking about him. Williams has everything to gain and nothing to lose, however. A win means he gets the title and no matter what happens after that, he will be former world champion Danny Williams and that never sounds bad. Williams will at least be elevated to the level of a Hasim Rahman, if this were to happen. Rahman is still talked about, even though he hasnít had any high profile fights since losing to Lennox Lewis, various world title eliminators aside. But then again, assuming there is no Klitschko rematch, who would have a very good chance of taking the title from Williams, anyway? Don Kingís stable of champs may have a crack, but only Chris Byrd could be favoured. But still, at the beginning of the year, Williams was losing his British and Commonwealth titles to Michael Sprott, so if this shows anything, itís that anyone could emerge as a challenger. But thatís the implications of having a deflated heavyweight division, itís difficult to pick out who could be a world champion and whoís a pretender, mainly because theyíre all looking the same right now.

The fact that Williams has nothing to lose makes him more dangerous than if he had a high profile record that could get him a title shot alone. Williams has no aura or reputation to preserve. That means he wonít be quitting on his stool just because things are getting away from him on the score cards or because heís being made to look bad. With the exception of the risk of
permanent damage, Williams wonít quit. The reason for this is because the whole time Williams has been pushing cars around, at the weigh in, and even when heís in the ring, heíll have a little voice in his head constantly saying ďYou only get one shotĒ. And this is probably true. Unless Williams gets incredibly close to taking the title ala Klitschko-Lewis, not that many people are going to care about Williams and the world title again, unless he actually wins it. And when enough people donít care, it usually doesnít happen.

Donít believe all the talk of Klitschko not having his head in this one because of the problems in his home country, Ukraine. He is a professional and although it may be on his mind and could have contributed to slightly less training than was planned, it will have no effect on the fight. If Klitschko were to lose, him not concentrating on his preparations because of political problems wonít be the primary reason.

To summarise, Williams has a chance of an upset but donít hold your breath. Williams survived one round of a Tyson explosion, but although Klitschko wonít come with the same explosiveness he will hit with a lot of power round after round. It was enough to wear down Corrie Sanders and have Lennox Lewis stuttering but how Williams deals with it, weíll only know on the night of the fight. The other problem is that Williams probably wonít knock out Klitschko. Punching down isnít that hard. You can apply more power and itís easier to hit your target. Punching up decreases both power and accuracy, which goes some way to explaining why Williams is the underdog. If Williams can take Klitschko past the seventh round, his chances of victory will increase massively and he could well walk out champion Saturday.

Prediction: As much as I want Danny Williams to win, Iím going to have to say Klitschko by a knockout. Williams will be able to deal with the hard shots for the first few rounds but heíll wear down after a while taking into account Williams is going to have to avoid Klitschkoís long jabs while working his way inside, while Klitschko just has to hold him off then smother him when the time is right. I want to say somewhere in the sixth or seventh, but I donít want to be too specific considering how unfavoured Williams is.

Article posted on 10.12.2004

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