Boxing

Why we’re going to see Brewster-Klitschko II in April

24.01.06 - By Michael Montero: If you’ve checked out the heavyweight rankings lately like I have, you’ve undoubtedly noticed that things are pretty bad right now in professional boxing’s “glory division”. We have only but a few contenders with some promise, a few former contenders trying to get back into the elite, and four so-called champions, who in reality are nothing more than belt holders. Of the four titlists who claim to be heavyweight champion of the world, one has emerged as the leader of the pack. Can you guess who I’m talking about?

Hasim Rahman? No. He earned his WBC strap by beating up on four C-level fighters, blowing out an injured and under prepared Kali Meehan, winning a horrid UD over his buddy Monte Barrett, and finally being handed the belt when the real champion retired due to injury. Nikolay Valuev? No way. The beast from the east was given gift decisions over both Larry Donald and John Ruiz in his adopted homeland of Germany - land of the most biased judges in the entire boxing universe. His WBA belt means nothing and unless he stays hidden away in Germany forever, I don’t believe he’ll hold onto it for too long. Chris Byrd? Nope.

Many “experts” consider him today’s top heavy, but not I. He fought only once in 2005 in the worst heavyweight title fight I’ve ever seen, was handed a gift decision over Andrew Golota back in ‘04, and hasn’t KO’d an opponent since 2002 (remember, he’s supposed to be the heavyweight champ). That leaves us with Lamon Brewster. After wallowing in inconsistent mediocrity for years, he showed the heart of a lion in his come from behind victory of Wladimir Klitschko (a guy who dominated current “champ” Chris Byrd in his prime) to earn the WBO title. After a shaky performance against good friend Kali Meehan, he destroyed Andrew Golota (a guy who many feel beat Byrd) and came from behind once again to beat Luan Krasniqi in his adopted backyard. With the retirement of the former RING champion (the real title in my opinion) Vitali Klitschko, Brewster has quickly become the frontrunner in the division.

Well if Brewster is the best titlist, who then is the top contender? Many people point to James Toney, but I feel that Wladimir Klitschko is the biggest threat. Why you ask? Because Toney is 37, lacks true heavyweight power, and is yet to fight a power-punching big man. Take a look at Klitschko’s resume - he holds wins over Byrd, Barrett, Derrick Jefferson, Ray Mercer, Jameel McCline, DaVarryl Williamson and Samuel Peter - all are either former belt holders and/or top contenders. While he has the best offensive tools of any big man, he has something to prove. After recent shaky performances (including two losses) via chin, stamina and anxiety problems, many feel that his best days are behind him. Once heralded as the savior of the division, he’s now walking into fights as an underdog - and in my opinion that makes him a very dangerous fighter.

Brewster-Klitschko II makes sense, and I believe Don King shares my opinion. When I first heard that Brewster was going to defend his title against Krasniqi in Germany last year, I scratched my head - then it dawned on me that King was building a brand in Germany because he knew he’d end up back there very soon. With his brave and memorable performance in Hamburg last September, Lamon Brewster is suddenly very marketable this boxing-friendly country, and Klitschko always has been. A big rematch between these two in Germany is gonna be big, and that’s why it’s gonna happen folks. Can you say cha-ching? King’s catch phrase is “Only in America” – but don’t be surprised if you start hearing him shout “Only in Germany” real soon…

Why not a rematch with Byrd? Think about it - Klitschko already dominated Byrd in Germany back in 2000, the fight wasn’t even close. Not to mention the fact that Chris has been on the outs with Mr. King (his promoter) for a while now. Oh - and did I forget to mention that Byrd is fading and hasn’t had a dominant performance in years?

And maybe I’m being pessimistic, but I have a gut feeling that the Rahman-Toney bout in March is going to lack the fireworks that heavyweight fans want. I can honestly see a 12 round decision with no real action and/or knock downs. Hey don’t get me wrong, I appreciate “the sweet science” like any true hardcore boxing nut, but when I want to see pugilism I look for the little guys. When I watch the big boys I want to see drama, I want to see action, and I don’t think I’m alone here. Who doesn’t want to see a rematch between these two heavy hitters in a grudge match to determine the world’s hottest heavyweight? The drama is there: the strange and sudden ending in the first match and the allegations of foul play that followed, the overachieving brawler versus the superior athlete, the American versus the European - I can go on and on. Don King knows that the most intriguing fight in the heavyweight division today is Brewster-Klitschko II, because it will either solidify Lamon Brewster as “the man” amongst the heavies, or it will complete Wladimir Klitschko’s comeback. That’s why I predict that we will see this fight in Germany come April, and it will be the early leader for 2006 heavyweight fight of the year. Oh yeah – and I take Klitschko by UD or TKO in the championship rounds (after being floored once or twice of course).

Article posted on 25.01.2006



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