What’s really the reason Vitali Klitschko has fallen apart?

13.11.05 - By Andy Meacock: Isn’t it amazing just how quickly things can happen in the sport of boxing? Just one week ago I was talking to a friend of mine about the ‘then’ upcoming heavyweight bout between Vitali Klitschko and Hasim Rahman. My friend and I were pretty confident in our views that Klitschko would handle Rahman fairly comfortably. My prediction a week ago was that the champion would knock out the challenger within seven or eight rounds. Sadly we are not going to find out if I was right or wrong.

The fight had been on and off for a long time this year, four times in fact. The reason for the delays were down to persistent injuries suffered by Klitschko in training. After this fight was cancelled for the fourth time earlier this week the WBC leniently (wrongly in my view) planned to allow Klitschko a further three months to recover and then fight Rahman.

Of course, this didn’t happen because Klitschko decided to call time on his career and has probably spared the WBC a lot of hassle. I’m glad that Klitschko decided to stand down as it would have been truly unfair to the interim champion Rahman if the WBC had decided not to hold Klitschko to the rules. Injury or not, the rules apply to everyone…

So I guess the question is, where did this all come from?

As I mentioned at the start of this article I was totally shocked at Klitschko’s announcement and a week ago I was planning on placing a bet on him knocking Rahman out. The way in which his body has just given up on him this past year is unusual and very debatable.

Now many people have made claims that Klitschko didn’t want to face Rahman in the first place. People were making comments like, ‘chicken-Kiev’ and referring that Klitschko was a coward. I wonder if these people thought he was a coward when he challenged Lennox Lewis and then subsequently called for a rematch - pressure of which contributed to the retirement of Lennox Lewis.

Do people really think that Klitschko was afraid of Hasim Rahman but not afraid of Lennox Lewis?. You’ve got to be kidding me!. Rahman is one of the better fighters about now but he’s not a great fighter and certainly not to the level of Lennox Lewis. I find it laughable that people think Klitschko was afraid of Rahman but not afraid of Lewis.

There were also rumours that Klitschko had been knocked down on consecutive days in training by much lesser sparring partners. Again, I find this hard to imagine as Klitschko has been in the ring and taken punches from heavy hitters like Lewis and Corrie Sanders. With that in mind I find it hard to believe that eight round sparring partners would be able to humble the champion in such a way during training. I think those rumours were probably fabricated from someone.

I do believe Klitschko regarding his injuries this year, I think they have been genuine injuries. Now my opinion of why Klitschko's become so brittle is due to his large frame has had a detrimental effect on Klitschko in his later years.

Plus when you consider Klitschko is now 34 years old, it all starts to make some sense…

Once again, I don’t want to sound like I’m smearing Vitali Klitschko, I happen to think he is the best heavyweight out there at present but presented with the facts in front of me, I can only conclude that his large heavy frame is the recipe of the disaster that has become his injury prone body.

So today the heavyweight picture is much changed from the one we looked at a week ago. We currently have four title holders all of which have something to prove and with a chance now to prove it. In a way I think Klitschko's retirement is good thing on the whole for the division as we have a new opportunity to settle some arguments.

With Rahman being appointed WBC champion Don King has full control over the heavyweight division and has promised to make a tournament to establish an undisputed champion. Of course, I remember Don King promised this a few years ago and it didn’t happen, so hopefully he means it this time and we can find out at last who is worthiest of the title, ‘undisputed heavyweight champion’.

Article posted on 13.11.2005

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