Boxing

Wladimir Klitschko Prevails in One Heck of a fight!

25.09.05 - By Izyaslav “Slava” Koza: Suffice it to say that both Klitschko and Peter earned their respect when they agreed to fight each other. Thankfully, the same respect can be paid to both men based on what happened tonight in Atlantic City. Both fighters did what they did best, and the clashing styles melded to create a masterpiece that would make even the best painters jealous..

Obviously, more praise should go to the winner of this fight, in Wladimir Klitschko because, if I were to travel back in time and explain to fans that he would win this fight ala coming back from three brutal (and they were) knockdowns, I would kill them from manic hysteria and laughter. Wladimir Klitschko has definitely redeemed himself, and that is really the bottom line based on the conditions and the result.

First of all, let me just say that Samuel Peter’s punches that did land behind the head, were what I can best describe as relatively legitimate, and here is why. In the actual sense, it is against the rules to punch your opponent in this manner. It is classic rabbit punching and a fighter would get called on it were it not for the circumstances taking place in the ring.

However, the problem was that Wladimir Klitschko was holding way too much. Honestly, I was not surprised by this, as if anybody who has read some of my thoughts before the fight knows, while I did not predict the winner, I firmly believed the clinch was Wladimir Klitschko’s key to coming out victorious in the fight. Samuel Peter could only win from in close, or land lightning from far, if Wlad did not keep his right up, ala what happened in the Peter vs. Williams fight. Obviously, Wladimir definitely protected himself from the lightning threat, and the clinch was his best chance on the inside.

Again the brutal truth is that it’s the essence of a style known as the "Jab and Grab," as performed by John Ruiz. The difference is Wladimir Klitschko actually has boxing skills, as opposed to just the Jab and Grab, which is Ruiz’s only real way to win a fight, in my opinion. However, just because Wladimir is a better technical fighter, that does not change the fact that the amount of clinching in this fight, in truth, was borderline illegal and grounds for point deductions, and possibly a disqualification (although I would lean against the DQ, as Wladimir was actually boxing in more instances than clinching).

This is the reason why I was not against Peter getting away with illegal rabbit punching. A lot of fans think that my personal beliefs are that a fighter can and should only win fairly, and that is not true at all. A fighter should win by any means necessary. Many believe I was against Ruiz’s ability to clinch in the Jones Jr. fight and thought I was laughing at Ruiz because Nady took that away. No, the reason I was laughing at Ruiz and still do is because he didn’t do all he could to win. If the Jab and Grab is his only way to win, then he should have gone out on his “dirty boxing” shield, rather then get out boxed and complain in the dressing room later on. The same goes for Trinidad vs. Vargas, and his low blow to save himself after the knockdown, and the same goes for Corrales vs. Castillo in their epic war. A fighter should always do whatever they can, illegal or no, to try and win, and that is what I saw from both these guys, and why referee intervention (from a referee who doesn’t like to do that anyway in Neuman) was not necessary, and part of the reason why this was such an exciting fight. Both guys did whatever they had to try and win and you can’t ask for more then that from either man.

Wladimir Klitschko paid the price fine enough, by not only getting knocked down twice by way of technically illegal blows, and losing points but almost losing the fight via TKO. Samuel Peter, as I suspected, had no way to nullify the clinch, as I honestly thought he was weak inside, and when he realized this, the illegal blows were his only answer to try and win the fight. Nobody can take away from him the fact that he tried to win this fight every second of every round. He was less technically skilled, but he wanted it just as much as Klitschko, yet if we nullify that desire for both men Wladimir’s technical ability is left to slide the scale in his favor.

With that said, let me throw in a few words about the trainers of both fighters. Both Steward and Anderson did an outstanding job, for the most part. Anderson, for his part, didn’t say anything wrong during the fight, but he didn’t really prepare his fighter to get on the inside better, in my opinion, or stalk and crouch low, and that was part of his glaring deficiency in the fight, at which point it was impossible to tell him how to improvise that stand up home run swing style. Steward, for his part, did all the right things in both the training camp and in the “after knockdown” coaching in which he kept calm, and didn’t tense his fighter with nervous energy more then he had to. Now, the only thing I disagree with Steward about is attempting to force Wlad to be more aggressive towards the latter part of the fight. It is, in my opinion, the biggest reason why Wlad got caught in trouble and found himself in the cleanest knockdown of the three Peter put on him. When he was telling Wladimir to drop the right after Peter misses I shook my head no and screamed in disgust because mixing it up, even if fundamentally technically sound, was exactly what Peter wanted. That is when Wlad is close and when Peter could land his best stuff. I don’t remember if that is exactly what happened but were they to follow the same pattern Lennox Lewis followed against David Tua, (who, although less hungry and prepared than Peter, was still as dangerous), Wladimir would win much more convincingly on the cards, and have less scary moments and instances where he gets beat. A wide points win is and will always be a better and more telling indicator of a great fighter, than a knockdown. Wladimir Klitschko does not have the chin to go after a big puncher like Peter in that manner. Other than that, Steward did a near flawless job and once again proved that he is easily a hall of fame trainer.

Still, let us not take anything away from the man of the night. Nobody can take away credit from Wladimir Klitschko, a man who rises up from two relatively illegal knockdowns and a third devastating one, and goes on to win. I won’t lie when I saw him go down the third time, I believed that the fight was over. I was screaming at the TV from my knees for him to get up, and yet believed that it was a hopeless waste of lung energy. Yet, he got up like many great fighters before him, sucked it up and went on, you can question his chin, but not his will to win. Congratulations to Wladimir Klitschko on winning the hardest and most dangerous fight of his career.


Bonus Thoughts:

The bout between Miguel Cotto and Ricardo Torres could easily outgun Corrales Castillo as fight of the year. First of all, you had a fighter in Torres, who I thought had a good chance of being knocked out viciously, in this his first step up in class. Torres came in looking to win and wasn’t afraid to throw leather, and forcing Cotto to show what I and many suspect is his unflinching desire and dedication to prove his greatness by overcoming unexpected adversity. The reason I think this fight overtook Corrales vs. Castillo is because both guys threw and were hit with obviously debilitating shots. Each punch that landed put the receiver in dream land, something that in my opinion did not happen enough in Corrales vs Castillo war. On the other hand, the ending of that fight was as huge a round as a fight can have, so really it is a tough choice to make, and it is hard to say which of these two deserves fight of the year honors. I will say that at the very least this fight between Miguel Cotto and Ricardo Torres proved without a shadow of a doubt why the 140 division is the single best in boxing today.

With this fight card, HBO just landed a huge blow in the war for network supremacy.

Article posted on 24.09.2005



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