Sanders-Klitschko: Shocked, But Not Surprised


By Bill Calogero

09.03 - As I sit and think about, this day after, the Corrie Sanders destruction of supposedly the savior of the Heavyweight Division, Wladimir Klitschko, last night in Hannover Germany, I find myself feeling totally shocked one second and honestly "not surprised" the next.

This fight was to be a tune-up for Klitschko. Sanders had only fought three times in the past thirty-five months. Although known for packing a powerful punch, lets be honest, it wasn't supposed to pose any type of a threat whatsoever to the former WBO Champion, Wladimir Klitschko. Klitschko was to come in and dispose of the South African, Sanders, quickly and then head for his new home in the United States and continue his rise to power in the Heavyweight Division.

How quickly things change. In Klitschko's case, it changed in less than six minutes.

Corrie Sanders came out and stood toe to toe with Klitschko in round one. Both men exchanged some power punches. The southpaw Sanders proved immediately that it (being a southpaw) was confusing Klitschko. Sanders' left was connecting at will when a devastating left hook floored Wladimir towards the end of round one. He was barely up and ready to continue as the referee reached the count of ten. He was permitted to continue.

Clearly still hurt, Klitschko did nothing to avoid the well-anticipated attack of Corrie Sanders. Sanders jumped all over Klitschko and after landing several shots, floors him again. Klitschko, up at the count of eight, is now cut and bleeding over his left eye but is able to survive the last few seconds of the round.

Round two began with Sanders launching a severe attack of punches in bunches followed by one of the best left hooks I have seen in a long time, which landed squarely on Klitschko's chin, (it was right on the KO Button), which sent Wladimir down and out less than halfway through the second round.

Corrie Sanders, 39-2 (29 KOs) is the new WBO Heavyweight Champion. Wladimir Klitschko drops to 40-2 (37 KOs) and wants a rematch as soon as possible.

If you thought Roy Jones Jr. disrupted the Heavyweight Division last week with his historical win over John Ruiz to become the WBA Heavyweight Champion, Sanders really turned it upside down with his second round KO win over Klitschko last night in Germany. What's up with the Heavyweight Division now?

There are two main issues here, in my opinion. First off, you have to question the fighter, which includes his trainers and seconds. Was he prepared? Was he under estimating Sanders? Why did he come out so dry? Did he spar ANY southpaws? Basically….what the hell happened?

Secondly, you have to question his management. Who has he fought? I mean, really. Don't get me wrong; I personally thought he was the real deal. I saw him fight several times and to me, he looked like he had it all. Speed, power and, yes, I thought he had a chin! I personally thought his only weakness was his skin. I knew as his fights went on, he would be prone to cuts and swollenness in the later rounds. I didn't think he would be prone to getting knocked out, let alone by a 37 year old Heavyweight named Corrie Sanders.

The problem with boxing today is over cautiousness by the fighter's management. Everyone wants to protect his fighter. After all, he/she is an investment. The bottom line is to get a shot at a title. This is where the fame and FORTUNE comes into play. Protecting is one thing. Over-protecting is another.

Normally this over cautiousness causes the fighter to travel a road with absolutely no bumps in it. No tests. The result is when the shot DOES come, and the fighter has to actually fight "somebody" he gets his ass kicked. More often than not, this ruins the fighter. What has this done? It has positioned the fighter in a one-payday situation. It makes absolutely no sense. Everyone loses, the Fighter, the Manager and the Boxing Fan.

To successfully move a fighter into contention, and an eventual shot at a title, you have to increase his level of competition one fight at a time. This is the only way to not only obtain a World Title, but also be in a solid position to defend it a few times as well.

In Klitschko's case last night, I believe it was a pure case of under estimating his opponent. This was a crucial error that both he and his entire team better learn from. I do believe he has the tools to be a World Champion, but now I am forced to see what he does next. Sanders was the better fighter last night. End of story.

As for the Heavyweight Division itself…wow. Where do we go from here? I'm sorry, but I have never felt that Lennox Lewis was what he is cracked up to be, or what he self proclaims himself to be, "The Best".

He IS big and strong, no doubt, but he has a weak chin. He has been stopped by fighters that aren't that good. I know he has beaten everyone out there and he does deserve credit. I always give credit where credit is due. He is the World Heavyweight Champion.

That's why I think he should retire now as the Champion. By doing so, he will always be remembered for destroying Mike Tyson. Even non Lennox Lewis fans, like myself, can't argue that. If he continues on, like he claims he is, then he will surely lose soon. He is no spring chicken and really has nothing left to prove. That spells disaster. He has much more to lose. You always remember the fighter's Last Fight and or performance FIRST, and then recall his other moments in the ring, as well as his other accomplishments. Lewis should not risk his place in boxing history. He should not risk that mental picture the fans will have of him, should he go down in flames.

Think about it, all of a sudden, people are remembering Tyson's 49 second KO of "The Black Rhino", rather then remembering him flat on his back battered and bleeding from the beating Lennox Lewis put on him last year.

Now back to today's Heavyweight Division. Putting Lennox Lewis aside, who is left? You can say Tyson and Tua and of course Roy Jones Jr. and Chris Byrd. Throw in the Klitschko brothers and possibly Michael Grant. Who else? Can we really mention Holyfield anymore? Forget Ruiz. Baby Joe Mesi won't fight anyone good, so how good is he? Who's left? What do we have to look forward to that does not involve Mike Tyson?

I hate to say it, but the Heavyweight Division of 2003 reminds me too much of the early 1980's when boxing was at its most boring state. Back then; it was the time of the dinosaur. Big, slow, boring Heavyweights roamed the Division. Guys like Tony Tubbs, Greg Page and Tim Witherspoon. Holmes' time was over and the Division went down the toilet. There were too few quality heavyweights out there.

It was totally ho-hum until the emergence of Mike Tyson. Tyson restored excitement to the Division. Tyson, believe it or not, is in a position to do it again with the recent turn of events within the Heavyweight Division. His toughest task may be a rematch with Lewis, which may not be that bad if he is ready to fight for twelve FULL rounds. However, Tyson is Tyson's biggest enemy. If he can overcome his own obstacles he constructs, who knows what he can do. He still is one of the hardest punching Heavyweights of all time. Today's top heavyweights are either big and old or young and small. Can they withstand true punching power? Can Tyson get his act together to do it? Who knows?

Don't count out Roy Jones Jr. either. He may not KO any of the top-ten Heavyweights out there, but he will certainly be able to hit them. Ruiz showed us that. Jones has the ability to strike, connect, then retreat, faster then the average Heavyweight can think about throwing a punch, let alone avoiding Jones'. The end result is like a deer in headlights. Jones can beat most of the heavyweights out there by boxing, as long as he stays smart. Boxing and moving is his key. If he ever thought about going toe to toe with a Lewis or Tyson, forget about it.

One last point, with the young Heavyweights out there today, the kids coming up, I hope they get to fight each other early on to weed out the contenders from the pretenders. If we are forced to see those "weed-out" fights billed as high-profile fights, on PPV's, HBO Boxing or ShowTime Boxing, we as boxing fans are in trouble. We should see Championship fights on the premium networks.

What makes boxing exciting and enjoyable to the fan, he/she must see quality, competitive fights. It's that simple. I for one would like to see competitive fights on all cards, rather than seeing the "prospects" on one side and the "opponents" on the other. Thank God for the Corrie Sanders' of the world who throw in the occasionally upset.

A high-profile TV series like ESPN's Friday Night Fights may be the answer. If they could step up the quality of the fight cards they broadcast, it may force the cable guys to showcase the "real" fights. By real fights I mean the top-ten guys fighting other top-ten guys. Not a top-ten guy facing a non-ranked opponent. After all, we are expected to pay a premium price for the cable broadcasts, right? Why not expect premium fights? We shall see.

2003 is proving to be a strange year for Boxing. The year of upsets. The year of changes. The year of surprises.

In the next few months, maybe we can see some of the Commission BS go away. New York is a joke. Nevada is under scrutiny. Teddy Atlas continues his crusade for a Federal Commission, but I for one see that being more corrupt then what we have today, but that's another story. It's all going to come to a head, possibly this year. All boxing people and boxing fans hope it ends up with a positive outcome for the sport of boxing. Only time will tell.

Who knows, maybe 2003 will prove to be a good year for boxing. We could always use more fans and support. That is always tough when the product itself is in question. We have some strange pieces in place now. Let's see what happens next. Hopefully, 2003 will be remembered as a turning point, for the better, in boxing history.


Bookmark and Share


If you detect any issues with the legality of this site, problems are always unintentional and will be corrected with notification.
The views and opinions of all writers expressed on do not necessarily state or reflect those of the Management.
Copyright © 2001- 2015 East Side - Privacy Policy