Vitali Klitschko Hangs Up The Gloves

08.11.05 - By Patsys Jones: Just like anybody else, Vitaliís retirement, came in as a shock to me. I can not understand why he had to. He could have just relinquished the belt and rest for half a year then come back to challenge for it. Whilst I know the big 6í8Ē, 250 lbs European guy will not be as durable as say an Evander Holyfield, I never thought he will retire this soon. First of all, he hasnít accomplished anything special in the HW division, at least not at the best of his potentials. 2nd, bar the Lewis fight, Vitaliís fights were one sided beatings on his opponents, as evidenced by his record, 34 KOs in 35 wins. He lost to Byrd, but we all know who was beating up who in that fight.

I think Vitaliís training regimen is way too tough for his kind. For a 6í8Ē guy to come in at a fighting weight of 250 lbs says something about it. To put into perspective, George Foreman looked like a butterball in his comeback in the 90s and he weighed 256 lbs!

An out of shape Vitali must be weighing close to 300 lbs. But then again his discipline and conditioning is what made him a championship caliber fighter (plus his size of course) because I am sure he isnít the most powerful nor the most skilled fighter out there.

Or maybe, Vitali just started to fight at top contention way too late? At 34 years, with 36 fights, he only managed to have 4 title fights (WBO excluded). But then again it is typical of European fighters to pile up to 30+ wins before finally stepping up in competition.

Objectively Vitaliís retirement is not good for the HW division. I believe he could have accomplished a lot more as a fighter if he stayed for 2 more years. I would have loved to see him win a tourney with the rest of the belt holders. I would definitely favor him to beat Ruiz, Byrd and Brewster. And oh, he would have koed Rahman late.

Personally, I am happy he retires because I am a big James Toney fan. Not that I donít think Toney stood a chance against Vitali. It is just that the height and reach disadvantage might just proved to be too much for any level of skill to compensate. Aside from Vitali, Toney there is only one top HW fighter out there I can see giving Toney a hard time and that is Wladimir Klitschko. Tua would be a hard fight for Toney too but he is hardly at top contention to be worried on.

Vitali will be remembered as a good HW champ, notches above the likes of Berbick, Smith, etc. Perhaps on the same level as Tony Tucker, or slightly even higher. Vitali was a good fighter who has very high KO%, hasnít been knocked down nor lost on points. He only really lost to the great Lennox Lewis, and his performance in that fight is nothing to be ashamed of.

Article posted on 09.11.2005

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