Congratulations Vitali

13.12.04 - By Coach Tim Walker Ė Ė Sometimes a subject gets beat so far into the ground that you grow weary of it. Youíve heard the arguments for it as much as youíve listened to the arguments against it. Then there are other times when the most valid points about a subject have to be pounded over and over into disbelievers with such fervor that they eventually succumb. This is the case for Vitali Klitschko, WBC Heavyweight Champion of the World.

Even if it were only a matter of skill, or division, or size, or timing then we could debate those singular points for days on end. But Vitaliís dilemma is more than any singular idea. His predicament dates back years. It dates back to the time when he first became the other brother instead of the older brother. Vitaliís boxing style and overall persona doesnít strike many people as fluently as his younger brother Wladimir.

Wladimir was considered by many to be the more talented and picturesque of the two brothers and this fact relegated Vitali to a lesser role likened to the Ivan Drago character from the Rocky movie series with his towering physique and icy muscular appearance. Plain and simple, he is an intimidating guy. You donít want to piss him off and you donít want to get in his way. Danny Williams, Corrie Sanders , Kirk Johnson and 34 of the worldís best heavyweights got in his way and one by one he put them on the canvas.

On paper he has two losses but even none-die hard boxing fans know that he didnít lose either of those fights. In his fight with Chris Byrd he had won at least 6 of the 9 rounds on each score card before he pulled out with a shoulder injury. In his 2003 bout with Lennox Lewis he was ahead 4 rounds to 2 on every score card before having the fight stopped on cuts. Of the 35 fights he officially won 34 of his opponents found themselves being covered by the referee to stop the punishment. To put Klitschko into perspective, Mike Tyson at 37 fights had the exact same number of knockouts. Lennox Lewis had 6 decisions wins 1 draw 1 loss and 2 wins by DQ at the same fight stage. Even the great Evander Holyfield had 9 decision wins 3 losses and a DQ win. So why does Vitali get so little respect?

(Exhale here) HE ISNíT AMERICAN. It pains me to admit that but that is the only thing that I can come up with. There are so many who consider Mike Tyson the last great heavyweight but those same people fail to accept the accomplishments of Vitali. He hasnít ducked a single boxer in his entire professional career. When he was demoted to the backup role in the shadow of his younger brother he never complained. When Wladimir lost to Purity it was Vitali who defended the family name. When Wladimar again lost to Corrie Sanders it was Vitali who finished what his brother couldnít. He wins in the most decisive way possibleÖby knock out.

What more do we want of a real champion?

At age 33 he probably has only 3 to 5 years of high level boxing left in him but that most certainly could be 3 to 5 years of total heavyweight dominance. If there is some stereotype that binds you from liking this guy then I implore you to let it go because what you are missing in the process of you scorn is a true heavyweight champion. It didnít matter to other countries that Iron Mike and Muhammed Ali were Americans because they accepted them to be true heavyweight champions. In the same manner it shouldnít matter to Americans that the real heavyweight champion of the world isnít American. I mean is there anyone who really believes that John Ruiz, Lamon Brewster or even Chris Byrd have a real chance. Putting that in perspective a fight between Danny Williams and any of those guys would have probably garnered even money.

Is Vitali Klitschko better than Lennox Lewis or Mike Tyson? Who cares? What I do know is that right now there is no doubting that he is the best heavyweight currently boxing. I think it is time we stop hating him for what he isnít and start appreciating him for what he is. Congratulations Vitali Klitschko. If we had more champions like you the boxing game would be better off.

I really didn't want to write a story about Klitschko but I felt I had no choice.

Article posted on 13.12.2004

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