Wladimir Klitschko: Still a Mystery

05.08.05 - By Justin Hackman: There are still questions to be answered with Wladimir Klitschko. There are still heads that shake and shoulders that shrug in response to his name being brought up in conversation. But the question is, why? Is it because we know he has the tools to dominate the heavyweight division and has not gotten close? Is he guilty by association—that he shares a last name with a man atop boxing’s most glamorous division and seems to duck any possible threat to his belts? Has Klitschko become synonymous with coward and quitter? After Wladimir’s first 24 fights his record was 24-0 with 23 knockouts. He then lost to Ross Purity, TKO 11.

After his first loss, Klitschko fought 22 times, winning 20 of those bouts. Those 22 opponents have a combined record of 583-95. He has a solid record with good credentials. So why the criticism surrounding Wladimir Klitschko?

The answer is simple: for his great record, Olympic background, stunning lights-out power, and stellar boxing skills, he still remains an underachiever.

There are people, including this writer, that believe Wladimir should easily be a perfect 47-0. In his loss to Lamon Brewster, Klitschko completely dominated until the fifth when his tank hit a big fat E and was thoroughly embarrassed by getting knocked flat on his face.

Sure stamina is an element which is in large part of a boxer’s make-up; if he lacks stamina, then it is just as pivotal as lacking something like speed or power. But shouldn’t a boxer destined for greatness be able to put someone’s lights out before his own light flickers out with a whimper? Wladimir Klitschko, up to this point in his career has been a disappointment.

Though it is great news for boxing fans to see this upcoming fight against Samuel Peter, Klitschko is taking a serious risk…TOO BAD. The time for eliminating risk is over for Wladimir. At this point, he has to prove himself against a seriously dangerous opponent or find something else to do with his life. And if there is one man to send another boxer into retirement, his name is Samuel Peter.

Will Peter turn out to be the champ that his potential tells us he can be? He will have to get through Klitschko to prove it. It sure seems like Peter has what it takes to cruise right into the #1 spot in the heavyweight division. The questions surrounding Peter concern his experience. Is he ready to face someone in the top ten? Yet Sam Peter has never given anyone reason to say no to that question. The opponents that have tried to punch with Peter are the same ones that don’t come to until they’re lying in a hospital bed. The ones that box Peter and stay out of his range for 10 rounds, such as Jovo Pudar and Charles Shufford, don’t do enough to even come close to winning a decision. The guy who has a chance against Peter is a man who has the tools to box him as well as test his chin SEVERELY. This is what Wladimir Klitschko brings to thetable.

Only which Wladimir will we see? Will we see Dr. Destroyer, or Captain Blow-Me-Over? I have reason to believe we will see Klitschko in prime condition. He learned a lot in his embarrassing losses to Sanders and Brewster. He learned that he doesn’t have to be throwing 40 power shots per round. It is far better to conserve energy. We saw this in his last
fight with Eliseo Castillo. Sure, it was a bigger mismatch than the Yankees and Royals, but Wladimir showed us something in that fight. He can keep his opponent at bay with only his left hand, while waiting until he smells blood to unleash the right. Now, I don’t care if he displayed this style against his punching bag in the basement: the point is, he now has the discipline under Emanuel Steward to fight in this manner.

Can Wladimir Klitschko be effective against the knockout machine that is Sam Peter? Will Wladimir disappoint by running out of gas by the fourth round? And can he take Peter’s sledgehammer blows? These questions and more will be answered on the night of September 24th. If Klitschko can box Peter while testing his chin with discretion as opposed to reckless abandon, look for Wladimir to stop Peter in the late rounds. Though if Klitschko reinforces his mysterious persona by trying to knock Peter out from the opening bell, then it would only be a matter of time before Peter sends Klitschko into retirement, with a quick (or not so quick) stop at the hospital. The outcome lies in Wladimir’s hands.

Win or lose, one thing will be certain for Klitschko on the dawn of September 25th: his mystery will be solved. Should he lose, it would be wise to utilize his education in a field other than boxing. And should he win, he will find himself on the fast track to a heavyweight title, as well as gain some approval from fans and writers alike. Will he sink or swim? Lay down or fight? It is all or nothing for Wladimir Klitschko on September 24th.

Article posted on 06.08.2005

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