Boxing

Vitali Klitschko vs. Wladimir Klitschko: Is This a Likely Fight In The Near Future?

05.02.07 - By Tim Neilson: With Vitali Klitschko’s recent announcement of his comeback intentions in which he plans on fighting Oleg Maskaev, the WBA heavyweight champion, for the title, the chances of Klitschko vs. Klitschko fight would appear to a high possibility in the not too distant future, mostly due to the lack of talented, big name heavyweights for which either of the brothers to fight.. In a recent interview with Sports illustrated writer Chris Mannix, when Vitali (35-2, 34 KO’s) was asked about a potential fight with Wladimir (47-3, 42 KO’s), he said “If both my brother and I share the four belts, we would talk about unification.”

Though, in a followup interview, Vitali reversed course, saying he would never fight Wladimir, while mentioning that he "has a dream" opponent in mind. Whoever this dream opponent is, it's doubtful that this fighter will bring in a fraction amount of money that a fight with Wladimir will. So, I expect Vitali to wise up, and change his mind once again, especially when he sees how barren of talent the heavyweight division truly is.

In the past, both brothers have stated they would never fight each other, mentioning a promise that they had made to their mother. However, if the Klitschko brothers ever intend on making a huge million dollar payday, it appears that they will be forced to fight each other to make it happen, no matter what they promised to their mother in the past.

One look at the top 15 heavyweights in the division tells me that both brothers would very well be forced to fight each if they want a huge payday. Other than, perhaps, Nikolay Valuev, Shannon Briggs, Samuel Peter, Hasim Rahman, Lamon Brewster, Sergei Liakhovich and possibly Alexander Dimitrenko, there are few other heavyweights on the horizon to present a challenge to either brother. Corrie Sanders, 41, has recently made a comeback and has expressed interest in fighting the brothers, but his age and poor conditioning is working against him at this point. Besides that, Sanders is not a popular fighter, despite holding a win over Wladimir, and bout with him at this stage would not be marketable fight with the general public, for whom would likely see it as a case of the brothers beating up on a soft opponent.

Recently, Vitali, 35, has once again called out Lennox Lewis, challenging for him to come back and meet him in the ring. However, Lewis has declined, stating that he is no longer in shape to fight. Ever since being stopped on cuts in the 6th round by Lewis in June 21, 2003, Vitali has seemed almost obsessed with fighting a rematch with Lewis, knowing that the rematch would be a huge million dollar fight for both of them. So far, however, Lewis, 41, has declined. To be honest, Vitali appears to be beating a dead horse, since Lewis no longer needs money, having earned millions during his long successful career.

Vitali just needs to face the facts: Lewis was just luckier than the Klitschko brothers, because he had huge paydays against Mike Tyson and Evander Holyfield, both of whom still were popular fighters at the time, though well past their prime. So far, neither of the brothers have had anyone close to being as marketable as Tyson and Holyfield. And in truth, it appears that they never will. The next great heavyweight has yet to emerge, and by the time that one does come to the fore front, I’m guessing that both of the Klitschko brothers will be long gone, having retired.

The big question, of course, would whether the boxing public would buy into a potential Klitschko vs. Klitschko bout and believe that it was on the level. In other words, that the brothers hadn’t conspired among themselves to have a predetermined winner. I know, for me that would be my biggest problem with wanting to see a bout between the two of them, especially since the fight would be PPV, meaning that it would cost $49.95 to see it. Unless they did a good job convincing the boxing fans that they were going to honestly fight hard against each other, trying to knock each other out, I see this as being a potential turn off. The worst thing we, the boxing public needs, is another glorified sparring match to further blacken the eyes of boxing. However, without question, this bout would be a huge seller, earning both brothers much more than they can ever hope to make against any other opponent in the heavyweight divisions, very likely eclipsing their career earnings in one night alone.

Who would win the bout? At this point in time, given Vitali’s age, including his past injuries to his knee, back and shoulder, many boxing experts would probably lean in the direction of Wladimir as the winner. He has much faster hand speed, hits harder and has superior ring movement, which would present a formidable obstacle for Vitali to have to contend with. More than that, Wladimir has developed into a better fighter since taking on trainer, Emanuel Steward, learning how to clinch, pace himself, and use his legs to keep out of trouble and better protect his vulnerable chin. With that said, Vitali knows most of Wladimir’s weak points, having trained with him all of his life, and would pounce on Wladimir from the outset, blitzing him from the start of the fight, often when Wladimir, a notorious slow starter, is most vulnerable. Ultimately, I think Vitali’s right hand power would be too much for Wladimir, who would likely get rocked in the first round or two after tasting a couple of sledgehammer blows, and then be quickly snowed under by a series of right hand bombs thrown by Vitali.

Article posted on 05.02.2007



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