Who's The Champ?

16.11.06 - By Jim Amato: Here we go again. Personally, I think Sergei Liakhovich's loss to Shannon Briggs set the division back about five years. Wladimir Klitschko's win over Calvin Brock may have solidified his claim as today's best heavyweight. Wlad has a great jab and is fairly mobile for a man his size. If he can keep you at the end of that jab, he has a very effective overhand right. Just ask Mr. Brock.

My question is: was Wlad that good or was Brock that bad? Three things I don't like about Wlad: 1.) If a fighter does get inside on him, he becomes very ordinary. In his prime, Riddick Bowe who was an equally big man, could beat you on the outside or the inside. In both areas, Bowe was a very good in fighter. Clearly, Klitschko lacks this trait. 2.) Wladimir rarely goes to the body. This is something that Liakhovich does very well. 3.) Last but not least, Wladimir's tender chin. Corrie Sanders and Lamon Brewster both parked him. Also, DaVarryl Williamson and Samuel Peter had Wladimir down. To be a great one, you've got to have the whiskers. I've always said that if Wlad had Vitali's chin and heart, he would be something.

Shannon Briggs? I have statues at my church that move better then him. Sergei Liakhovich has got a lot of work ahead of him, but I think he beats Briggs if there's a rematch. Sergei can improve. I think we saw the best Briggs had to offer. I admire Oleg Maskaev's heart and he can hit but...I've seen too many of his fights where he got clocked. Though, it just seems like he has Rahman's number. Nikolay Valuev? Granted, he's huge but for a man his size, he doesn't seem to generate a lot of steam on his punches. He's very predictable, too. Jab, jab, chopping right. He doesn't deviate too much from that pattern. I think Wladimir would box him silly.

The best of the rest:

I like Brewster, but can he come back after his surgery to repair his detached retina? Hey, I'm from Cleveland, so I have to be behind my man, Ray Austin. He has earned a shot at the title. The Ibragamov's don't impress me that much. Sultan seems to be the better of the two. He's a five round fighter. He has quick hands and his punches have some pop on them, but if he doesn't get you out early, he fades. I still think Austin deserved the decision in their bout.

John Ruiz is still around. That ought to be a clear indication of the state of the division. He's meeting undefeated Ruslon Chagaev in a WBA "eliminator," and the winner will meet Nikolay Valuev, the WBA heavyweight champion. Am I supposed to get excited about this fight? James Toney is his own worst enemy. To show you how bad the division is, a talented but blown up middleweight is a major player. Could you imagine Toney meeting a young or old George Foreman? Christ, George would have launched him into the third row. If Big George came out of retirement right now to fight Toney, I would strongly consider picking George as the winner. Sad, very sad, indeed.

Sad? Now, Evander Holyfield is back in the mix with his win over Fres Oquendo. I'm not quite sure where Rahman is headed, and David Tua is still out there. Chris Byrd? I think Wlad put an exclamation point on his career as a heavyweight. I would love to see Byrd meet O'Neil Bell for the cruiserweight title. Brock didn't really show me much against Klitschko, but the jury is still out on him.

Oh, how I'd welcome the ghosts of Quarry, Machen, Folley and Leotis. Bring back the "Big Cat." Now those were contenders.

Article posted on 17.11.2006

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