Klitschko vs. Nicholson

19.12.03 - By Trey Kaye: Let us dispense with the usual bevy of “what-ifs”…..we must assume that Vladimir wins, and wins convincingly this Saturday. Anything less will see him permanently removed from the upper echelons of the heavyweight division.. If fact, let us assume that the fight is already over, and that Klitschko, jabbing and crossing as he sees fit for 9 rounds, has busted up, floored and ultimately stopped a competent but outgunned Nicholson. Now then, where does he go from there?

For the third time, the two brothers have swapped pole position.. Vitalis current intentions are clear and obvious- fight Lewis or, should Lewis retire, Sanders. That fight would be for the WBC, and arguably, undisputed heavyweight championship. While this plan was once followed by Wlad, his loss to Sanders, and Vitalis subsequent heroics against Lewis and Johnson have combined to leave Wlad in the same place that Vitali was in May of 2001. Rebuilding. But for what? In his return outing, from serious injury, Vitali fought a full 12 rounds, winning the European Heavyweight title and with it a WBC top 10 ranking, and from there he went on his solo run, culminating in the Lewis fight [by which time he had assumed #1 contender status]. Wlad, for his part, fought total no-hoper Fabian Moli and got a brief 90 second workout, a meaningless strap and some poor press.

This is why Wlad must make more of Nicholson. If Nicholson has come to lay down, then it is another wasted assignment for Wlad, see Norris and Moli. But if Nicholson fancies his chances, he will extend the former champ a few rounds. Having these in the bag might count for something. But whereto from there, and why was there no immediate rematch against Sanders? It seems to me that to follow the WBO route would, at this belated stage, bring no reward for Wlad. A showdown with Brewster is not a good idea. Stylistically, Vitali always got good rounds in against lesser opponents, Wlad either KO’s fast them or loses, it appears, Byrd notwithstanding. This time Wlad must forsake the WBO strap and look for meaningful showdowns with the likes of Mesi, Guinn, Tua and of course, Byrd. In fact the fastest route to fistic redemption is to court the IBF in the hope that he can secure a shot against Byrd. To do this of course, he must first beat Nicholson, which I believe he will do in 9 sharp rounds.

Article posted on 19.12.2003

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