Vitali Klitschko: He performed great, but he didn’t Look great!

14.12.04 - By Izyaslav “Slava” Koza - - Yeah, Vitali Klitschko knocked Danny Williams around the ring. Yeah, he knocked him down four times, and yes, he barely got hit with a single meaningful punch. However, even though I am a fan, I am still not satisfied. The reason is that it took him eight rounds to get rid of a guy he should have knocked out in two. I am not saying that to suddenly hate on him, I am saying that because from my experience in watching Vitali Klitschko fight. I think he is capable of that. So why did it take him 8 rounds to do something he could have in 2?

Well, the answer is simple. It’s a stamina issue, and what's worse, in my opinion, it was only in regards to this fight. Vitali Klitschko usually has great stamina, seeing as his primary method of knocking opponents out is, accumulated firepower. When he was the first fighter to ever stop Larry Donald, Ross Purrity and Vaughn Bean, he did it in the later rounds after all of them took tremendous punishment. When he took on Kirk Johnson, another fighter who had never been stopped to that point, he showed us what he can do when he has trained properly and is ready, by blasting him out in 2 brutal rounds.

In my opinion, that is what we should have seen against Williams, but due to what I can only imagine is undertraining, Vitali looked very tired in there. After a fast first round where it was obvious he was going for the KO, he quickly realized that if he keeps going at this pace, he might not only fail in getting Williams out of there, but get knocked out in the process. I give a lot of credit to him for realizing this and slowing down and pacing himself throughout, but why should he have to pace himself against a guy who was essentially finished in the 1st round, and should have been gone in the second? Had he not had to worry about running out of gas Wladimir style, he could have made everyone’s evening shorter by pressing and crushing Williams like a grape.

I don’t know, perhaps it was the thought of being champion, or the political turmoil in the Ukraine, but whatever the reason, Vitali was not as dominant as he could have been against Danny Williams. There is no excuse for fighting with your mouth open that wide when you have an opponent who presents no threat whatsoever, except maybe a lunging wide missed punch once in a while. What happens when he fights somebody who will crouch low and not be discouraged by a stiff jab or straight punch, and hits Vitali on a wide open mouth? I'll tell you what, he'll end up with a broken Jaw. Its why fighters are taught to breath through their teeth, keeping a clenched mouth.

On a positive note, Vitali still portrayed a very patient and composed style, even though he could see Williams standing there with each passing round. At the end of it, I was very happy that he did not waste energy (that he did not have, in my opinion) on going for the finish, and just let the fight be stopped via “natural causes.” Again, however, he should not have to wait for the referee to step in, and instead do what he did with Kirk Johnson, and that is make the guy wish he'd stayed down, rather than get up and hoping the champ will get tired.

To everyone who was impressed with Vitali on Saturday, I completely understand why you were, but I guarantee if he applies himself and focuses, he can do much much better against a better class of fighter. If he does not address his stamina issue now, he will eventually be caught by a Tua-like type fighter, while leading a fight, and that will spell the end. He doesn’t have to end up like that, if he trains the way he is supposed to and focuses, he has nobody to be afraid of. If not, he is just another belt holder with a flaw.

The Williams and Jirov stoppages were completely different. Williams was receiving a life beating, was cut from punches, and could barely see, hence it was a good stoppage. Jirov was leading the fight, was cut from headbutts (self initiated but still), and was downed by one good shot, so he could have recovered from it. The stoppages were not at all similar.


Article posted on 14.12.2004

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