Fight Fans Miss A Real Treat: Klitschko-Rahman Off

13.03.05 - By Chris Ireland - The latest news out of Team Klitschko is Vitali Klitschko, WBC heavyweight champion, will not be defending his title against Hasim Rahman due to injury. According to ESPN, Klitschko pulled a muscle in his upper thigh while jogging on Friday night in chilly, Kiev, Ukraine. The injury will keep Vitali away from training for at least 3 weeks. The April 30th scrap, scheduled to air on HBO, was to be on of the many highly anticipated match-ups during boxing's boom season. The injury sustained by the champion has yet to be announced. Go figure.

Klitschko-Rahman wasn't to be the second coming of Bowe-Holyfield or Ali-Frazier, didn't have the big event atmosphere of Tyson-Lewis or Holmes-Cooney, and sure as heck wasn't a prospect to save the heavyweight division, but it certainly was to be an improvement from some of the other "title" fights that fans have been force-fed. In one corner there was the towering Klitschko, a determined, entertaining powerhouse looking to protect his crown. In the other corner there was the always unpredictable Rahman, the former heavyweight champion looking to recapture gold and continue his unlikely resurgence.

Stylistically, the fight figured to be entertaining. There was Klitschko, perhaps the most damaging puncher in the division today, and Rahman, the most sporadic knockout puncher in the division's top ten. The edge no doubt, however, belonged to Vitali. His size and reach advantages may have proven too much for the smaller challenger. Had Klitschko used his size the way Lennox Lewis did in the Lewis-Rahman rematch, Klitschko almost certainly would have walked away with his title. However, if Vitali would trade with Rahman as he has with so many of his previous opponents, Rahman may have been able to pull off another upset. In any event, the fight promised to provide more haymakers than hugs.

Now, compare that to Don King's other bouts. True enough, Rahman is promoted by Don King, but that alone does not make the fight a phony war. Vitali Klitschko holds a sanctioning body's cheap replica of a title, but he also holds The Ring Magazine championship, and is largely recognized as the real heavyweight champion. At least, the closest thing to one anyway. But the best thing of all about the fight was that it was free. That's right, free. Nevermind the fact that fight fans should be the ones being paid to watch John Ruiz and not the promoters. Jose Conseco's lie detector test on Pay-Per-View has more bang for the buck.

John Ruiz hugging Andrew Golota? $49.99
Chris Byrd taking on Jameel "I'll Never Win In the Big Time" McCline? $49.99
Watching the most exciting heavyweight defend his title against a dangerous former champ?

In the meantime, an interesting story may be developing on our heavyweight champion, Vitali Klitschko. At 33, his body appears as if it is breaking down. Klitschko suffered a shoulder injury against Chris Byrd that forced him to quit, complained about hand injuries after defeating Corrie Sanders and Danny Williams, received a horrid gash from the laces of Lennox Lewis' glove (Though that may be unfair to point out, since a cut is a far different kind of injury than the others mentioned), and now is pulling out of the Hasim Rahman fight due to injury. Granted, Klitschko isn't exactly bloody-socked Curt Schilling just yet, but a pattern seems to be developing.

Article posted on 13.03.2005

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