Vitali Klitschko vs Albert Sosnowski-Nothing but a payday for both
by Paul McCreath - On Saturday May 29 at the Veltins Arena in Nordrhein-Westfalen in Germany WBC heavyweight champion Vitali Klitschko will once again put his title on the line, this time against challenger and former European champion Albert Sosnowski in a 12 round match. To call this a competitive bout would be stretching things a bit. Sosnowski is no bum and he has plenty of experience but there are several boxers currently available who could be expected to give Vitali a better fight. There is only one reason why Albert is getting this match. He provides the biggest financial reward for the smallest risk after Nicolay Valuev turned down $3 million for this bout. Albert has been fighting mostly in Europe since 1998 and has a big Polish following that can be expected to show up in large numbers to cheer him on. Vitali of course can draw a big crowd anywhere in Europe that he chooses to fight. A very large crowd is expected and tickets are going well. It is unlikely that any other opponent currently available and willing to face Vitali could draw the 40, 000+ fans that this fight will draw.
You have to understand that Vitali is nearing the end of a long career. He is 38 years old and turns 39 in July. He has already stated that he does not intend to fight much longer. Right now his main goal is to add to his retirement fund and Sosnowski fits the bill well for that.. Between Vitali and his brother Wlad they have pretty much cleaned out the heavyweight division. There are no logical and qualified challengers left and please don't bring up the name of David Haye. He has had three chances now to meet either of the brothers and has not fought either one yet. This may not be a competitive fight but what else can Vitali do? After defeating Sam Peter, Chris Arreola and Juan Carlos Gomez I think he has earned a soft defense although he has had one already with Kevin Johnson. If there was a truly deserving challenger out there it would be a different story but there is not one available. This is after all a voluntary defense.
Sosnowski who is Polish born but lives in the UK has spent most of his career fighting in the wilderness of boxing against fighters you have probably never heard of. He has an overall record of 45-2-1 with 27 KOs. Most of his early fights were at home in Poland but he has fought fairly often in the UK and has appeared several times in USA. For the most part nobody noticed. After winning his first 19 bouts he met defeat for the first time in March 2001 when the Canadian Arthur Cook who was 5-1-1 at the time stopped him in 9 rounds. Cook was something of a prospect for a short while who even attracted the attention of Manny Steward before fading into obscurity mostly due to inactivity and too much eating and partying. He got fat. Sosnowski's loss was a huge upset and remained Albert's only loss until August 2008 when he was outpointed over 8 rounds by trial horse Zuri Lawrence. I saw that fight and Sosnowski showed nothing that would suggest he would ever be a contender. He stated later that he was not healthy for that bout and only went through with it because he was desperate for the money. Maybe that is true but at any rate he had actually started to show some signs of improvement before that match with Lawrence. In his two previous fights he had stopped undefeated Steve Herelius who is now a rated cruiser in the 9th round and then stopped 18-1 Manuel Pucheta a prospect from Argentina in 2 rounds. His subsequent fights suggest he is a much better fighter than Zuri Lawrence so maybe Albert is telling the truth about being not right for that Lawrence fight.
After the Lawrence loss he began to emerge as at least a fringe contender. In November 2008 he pulled a big upset when he stopped Danny Williams in 9 rounds. He followed that with a 12 round draw with undefeated Italian Francesco Pianeta for the EU title. Many thought Albert deserved the verdict. Last time out Sosnowski won the European belt with a 12 round decision over another Italian, the veteran Paolo Vidoz. He has since relinquished that title in order to challenge Vitali for the world belt. Albert is a fit boxer who always gives his best. He stands 6 foot 2 and 1/2 inches tall and usually weighs around 225-230 pounds. He will be giving away about 5 inches and 20 pounds to Vitali as if the skill difference is not enough. Albert is better than most people think but still not in the same league with Klitschko. Vitali has a record of 39-2 with 37 KOs. Both losses came on injuries, one to Chris Byrd and the other to Lennox Lewis. Vitali was leading on points in both bouts before the stoppage. There is no need to go into his standing as a top class fighter here. He has never been behind in points in any of his fights and has rarely lost a round.
I don't begrudge either fighter this payday and I think that the European fans know what they are getting so there is no point in complaining about this match. Albert will give it a good try and will likely be stopped around the mid to late rounds. Vitali does not usually get early KOs these days. We might just as well either sit back and enjoy this one if we can or ignore it if we can't. There is not much more to offer in the heavyweight division these days and this could be one of Vitali's last fights.