Wladimir Klitschko-Eliseo Castillo Analysis

14.04.05 - By Darrell La Montre: On April 23rd Wladimir Klitschko (43-3 39 koís) will step between the ropes and face an undefeated Cuban fighter named Eliseo Castillo (18-0-1 14 koís). Klitschko is coming off an unimpressive 5th round technical knockout victory over Davarryl Williamson, who previously was annihilated in one round by Joe Mesi. Williamson dropped Wladimir in that fight with a counter right hand. Although Klitschko didnít appear very hurt by the punch, it left a bad taste in my mouth to see such a skilled fighter hit the deck once again.

Eliseo Castillo is a 6í2 relatively unknown undefeated Cuban boxer fighting out of Miami, Florida. Heís coming off a decision victory over former two- time Heavyweight Champion Michael Moorer. Moorer is nowhere near the fighter he was when he snatched the title from a prime Evander Holyfield back in 1994. That name looks good on your resume, but please. Still, at least it provided Castillo with some valuable experience.. It never hurts to share the ring for 10 rounds with a former World Champion, even if that former World Champion weighed 251 lbs and was ten years removed from his prime. Castillo looked fairly good in that fight, but again if you look at the intangibles, and really analyze the situation it wasnít all that surprising that he did.

Not too long ago, Wladamir was considered to be the future of the division. He seemed to have it all: Looks, a pleasing personality, a PhD, a knockout punch, great athleticism for a big guy, a great jab, and very good hand speed. It all feel apart on March 8th, 2003 when he was dropped and stopped in two rounds by a 37 year old semi-pro golfer named Corrie Sanders.

To be fair, the southpaw slugger was actually an underachiever given his natural talent, but it was still shocking to witness him destroy such a great prospect in such a rapid manner. HBO subsequently attempted to rebuild the publicís confidence in Wladamir (along with his own), and after two comeback victories, he stepped into the ring to challenge for his old WBO title against Lamon Brewster.

In one of the most bizarre fights Iíve ever seen, after thoroughly dominating Brewster for 4 rounds, Klitschko began to fatigue rapidly before our eyes. In round 5 shortly after absorbing a decent left hook from Brewster, Klitschko fell flat on his face from sheer exhaustion. After all kinds of rumors and accusations of foul play (it was a Don King promotion), it was basically concluded that Klitschko simply ran out of gas. Personally I feel that he suffers from anxiety, and that is what leads to fatigue. Then again, Iím not a doctor so what the hell do I know?

Which brings us to the upcoming fight against Castillo. This should be an interesting fight. Klitschko has more than twice as many knockouts as Castillo has fights. On paper this appears to be a mismatch. Wlad is 4 inches taller, has an 81 inch reach, is a gold medallist, has been in with much better opposition, etc. Castillo, who turned pro at Cruiserweight is undefeated so he will have a decent amount of confidence heading into the fight. More confidence than he probably should have considering the disparity in talent and experience. Speaking of confidence, that is something that Klitschko is looking to restore big time. Boxing is such a mental game, and the only fighter more confident than an undefeated prospect is an undefeated World Champion. Itís amazing how much Klitschko has changed as a fighter subsequent to his knockout at the hands of Sanders.

Putting everything into account, I feel that Klitschko will chip away at Castilloís confidence very quickly by landing some hard and accurate combinations from the get-go. Castillo will learn from the onset that he is in the ring with a young, talented, conditioned heavyweight and not an over the hill, overweight former very good World Champion. Look for Klitschko to establish his jab and land some thudding right hands early. Knowing that Klitschko has lost his aura of invincibility, look for Castillo to be braver than most fighters previous to the Sanders and Brewster fights. Castillo may have his moments, but unless Klitschko has a Sanders/Brewster kind of night, look for him to stop Castillo inside of 6 rounds.

Article posted on 14.04.2005

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