By Tom Vosicky

30.06 - The probable future Heavyweight Champion of the World put on a flawless display of brutal precision tonight in Atlantic City, New Jersey. Wladimir Klitschko (39-1, 36 KOs) gave Merciless Ray Mercer everything he could handle and more that he could not in a display of precision boxing rarely seen in the Heavyweight division.

Admittedly, the target was stationary and offered little else than a stiff left jab, but the chin was solid enough and the will was there. Mercer, a very game fighter, had the overwhelming crowd support as he was sent to answer some serious questions about the GIANT Ukrainian.

The crowd at the Trump Taj Mahal was electrified and heavily behind Mercer. Klitschko, as usual, appeared single minded and at ease throughout the fight. He erased a lot of doubts tonight when at 2:48 of the first round, Klitschko dropped Mercer with a Nuclear Powered left hook and amazingly Mercer got to his feet as though a Nuclear winter raged in his head and the round ended. That would have demolished most of today's Heavyweight Contenders.

Dr. Klitschko continued administering the prescribed doses of pain by landing incredibly solid combinations of stiff left jabs, left hooks, and HARD straight right-hands flush to Mercer's chin all night leading up to the stoppage at 1:02 of the 6th round.

Mercer had nothing to offer other than a few stiff jabs that made a small puffy area on the left eye of Klitschko. Excluding that, this was an absolutely one-sided match with a very game and solid veteran in Mercer. Klitschko landed (193 out of 429) punches to Mercer's (54 out of 124) punches (COMPUBOX).

After plowing through all the heavyweights that would get in the ring with him Klitschko now rightfully is seeking a match up with the undisputed champion of the world Lennox Lewis. While Lennox is staring down the barrel of Wlad's older brother Vitalli, he has to be looking at Wladimir as the real threat right now.

Lennox really has two options open to him at this point in his career. He can retire now and go down as one of the greatest heavyweights of all time, or he can fight Wladimir and prove that he is THE greatest heavyweight of the century by beating a younger, faster and stronger fighter with his experience and ability.

Emanuel Steward gives high praise to the youngest Klitschko and was jubilantly extolling his abilities on HBO. Additionally, he made the point that Lennox only likes to fight challenges. If there were ever an enigma presenting itself to Lennox Lewis right now that enigma's name is Wladamir Klitschko.

Another question surfaces out of this fight. Will America ever produce another dominating heavyweight like Mike Tyson(circa 1980's)? Is there a gym in this country that is hiding the next Mike Tyson, Riddick Bowe, Evander Holyfield or even Muhammed Ali? Is America's dominance over the Heavyweight Division truly over? Klitschko said that he considers boxing a global sport and now Americans will be forced to look at it that way from now on.

BIG DOG'S COMMENTS: Emanuel Steward graded Klitschko performance an A+ and I would have to agree. Klitschko turned in a brilliant performance showing incredible speed, strength, balance and control. I think his next move should be Lewis or the winner of the Johnson vs. Ruiz fight. His physical skills and youth are more than a match for an aging Lewis or any other Heavyweight. There should be no more doubt that Wladimir Klitschko is going to be a future Heavyweight Champion.

Klitschko vs. Mercer - Klitschko Shows No Mercy

By Ed Ludwig

30.06 - There was no ray of hope for Ray Mercer tonight (30-5-1 22 KO's). Wladimir Klitschko (39-1 36 KO's) was lightning in a bottle as he blew away Ray Mercer in the sixth round in Atlantic City, New Jersey. He successfully defended his WBO Heavyweight title for the fourth time.

Klitschko used his jab and left hook well and with twenty-eight seconds left in the first round he dropped Mercer with a solid left hook. This was only the second time Mercer has been down in his career. It was more of the same in the second as Klitschko was connecting at will and Mercer was rocked once by a jab that had him reeling back.

When Mercer tried to move in closer in the third round Klitschko easily picked him off with an uppercut that sent Mercer back into retreat. The native of Ukraine used the ring well and made Mercer come to him. The challenger looked like a heavy bag in the ring. He tried his best to land but Klitschko kept him at a distance with his strong jab.

In the fourth round Klitschko sent the challenger reeling into the ropes again with a solid right hook. Mercer put his gloves up as to taunt the champion to move in and try to finish him off. The fifth round Ray Mercer came out faster then he did in the previous rounds. He landed the occasional shot and Klitschko stood firm and used his jab to push Mercer back. Klitschko landed a hard right, left combination that forced Mercer into a defensive mode.

During the course of the fight the strong jab and hooks thrown by Klitschko were taking it's toll on Mercer. His face was swollen and his right eye was cut in the fifth. Klitschko's left eye had minor swelling when caught by the occasional jab. In the opening seconds of the sixth round Mercer caught Klitschko with a right hook that made him stagger momentarily.

The champion recovered quickly and began to open up. He used his jab effectively and he picked off Mercer with combinations of jabs and hooks. At the two minute mark Klitschko knocked Mercer's head back with a hard right and Klitschko then unleashed a vicious barrage of punches and the fight was mercifully stopped at 1:08 of round six when the referee jumped in and called a halt to the action.

The final punch stats showed Wladimir Klitschko landing 193 total punches and throwing 429. Ray Mercer was 54 of 124. The big difference was the power punches. Klitschko landed 104 of 167 and Mercer 5 of 10. It was lopsided in every possible category. Klitschko said he is aiming for Lennox Lewis and he wants him sooner than later. Ray Mercer said during the post fight interview that he never fully recovered from the knockdown. He plans to continue with his career. For his sake I hope he sits down and thinks hard about it.

Judging the performance by Wladimir Klitschko tonight it is hard to say how a showdown with Lewis would play out. Especially if you base it on there most recent fights. Both Mercer and Tyson have not fought a top contender in six years prior to their latest bouts. Ray Mercer showed he was old, slow and lethargic. Feasting on tomato cans did nothing to increase his chances of pulling off the upset. Mike Tyson on the other hand did fight somewhat better opposition but he was clearly out of his league and not in fighting shape against Lennox Lewis.

There is no doubt the questions will be asked about who will win the dream Heavyweight match up. As we often see in boxing, the fights we all want to see hit snags. In this case it is Lewis being in the twilight of his career and Klitschko is the young rising star. This could have been the Lennox Lewis vs. Riddick Bowe fight that we all wanted but with the difference in age and the continuous improvement Klitschko is showing I really do not see him losing to Lewis when and if they meet.

Tonight it was a beautiful display of power, ring general-ship and most of all, patience by Wladimir Klitschko. Say what you want about Ray Mercer but the bottom line is that he is no pushover and many people over the years avoided him like the plague. Up until running into a battering ram tonight, Ray Mercer gave all the fans many thrilling fights. Congratulations to the WBO champ for a very entertaining evening. In closing I would like to see Max Kellerman of ESPN2 give Wladimir Klitschko his due. He is and will be a dominating force for many years to come.

Merciless Klitschko Dispatches Mercer

By Aidan Monaghan

29.06 - With brutal power, sizzling speed and ruthless efficiency Wladimir Klitschko pounded a very tough and brave Ray Mercer to a pulp on Saturday night to retain his WBO heavyweight title in Atlantic City, New Jersey. In round one Klitschko deposited Mercer onto the canvas for only the second time in his career with a combination that culminated with a left hook high to the head of Mercer. Momentarily it seemed that Mercer, lying flat on his back, might not make the referees ten count but eventually returned to his feet to complete the round. For Mercer however, his greatest assets - a terrific chin and rarely seen determination - would only permit Klitschko to continue his determined assault.

Indeed, it was clear from the opening moments that Wladimir was max attentive of the importance of this, the most significant fight of his now blossoming career. His punch output and the force and speed with which he threw these punches was unlike any in the past. Interestingly however, several times throughout the fight following the first round knockdown, Klitschko staggered Mercer who each time invited Wladimir to try and finish him off and each time Wladimir showed a noteworthy patience by instead trying to calculatedly find openings in the Mercer defense. However, at times one could note a slightly greater desire by Klitschko to finish off Mercer, than is normally evident. The end came in the sixth round when Klitschko unleashed lefts and rights that were finding their target with tremendous force, prompting referee Randy Neuman to bring a halt to the match. With arms raised in victory Wladimir as per usual, stood in each corner of the ring to acknowledge his supporters and was even raised upon the shoulders of brother Vitali.

To Mercers credit, he often utilized a fairly effective jab which contributed to some mild swelling and discoloration under Klitschko's left eye. However, along with only a few effective counter punches the Mercer attack was almost nonexistent. Too much of his time was occupied by maintaining a diligent yet overmatched defense. At times, one must have been left wondering how even Mercer could absorb the wicked thrashing that he took. If nothing else, Mercer once again confirmed that at least he still has likely the best chin in the sport.

During the HBO broadcast, talk quickly turned to Klitschko's future and immediately the name of Lennox Lewis was once again raised. Lewis' trainer Emanuel Steward, providing co commentary for the fight indicated that if Lewis were to continue fighting it would have to be against a foe worthy to attract Lewis' desire and Steward indicated that Klitschko, along with Kirk Johnson would provide such incentive.

Mercer vs Klitschko - Is There A Ray Of Hope?

By Ed Ludwig

17.06 - On June 29th Ray Mercer (30-4-1 22 KO's) will step into the ring against the current WBO Heavyweight Champion, Wladimir Klitschko (38-1 35 KO's). Saying there is bitter feelings between these two is an understatement. For some time now Mercer has been calling out Klitschko and getting under his skin in the process. Finally the two will get it on and it will be time for Mercer to put up or shut up. On paper this looks like a mismatch. Klitschko is the heir apparent to the Heavyweight crown whereas Mercer has been relatively inactive and at his age how much of a threat is he?

Factor in his limited opposition over the last six years the chances of a Mercer upset seem somewhat farfetched. Since his win over Tim Witherspoon in 1996 he has fought a total of thirteen rounds against unknown opponents. His career began in 1989. It appeared that it would take off after his vicious knock out win over Tommy Morrison. The expectations were high for the 1988 Olympian. After losing a lacklustre decision to the aging Larry Holmes in his next fight, questions were being asked.

Ray Mercer went on to win two fights following his loss to Holmes and then the infamous bribe fight with Jesse Ferguson put the spotlight on him for all the wrong reasons. He lost a decision and the opportunity to challenge Riddick Bowe for the championship. Bowe would easily dispose of the Boogeyman in two rounds. For Mercer it was back to the drawing board. He would avenge his loss to Ferguson by winning a ten round split decision.

After a controversial draw against Marion Wilson he would meet Evander Holyfield who was coming off a loss against Michael Moorer. This would turn out to be a very entertaining bout that would result in Ray Mercer being dropped for the first time in his career in the eighth round. It was a delayed reaction and it is the only time he has been down. Coming off a good showing against Holyfield, Mercer would lose a very close majority decision against Lennox Lewis. Many boxing insiders thought Mercer did enough to win but the judges didn't see it that way.

He would finally get thrust back into the limelight when he won a ten round unanimous decision over Tim Witherspoon. The momentum did not last long as Mercer would suffer an illness and any future plans for him were put on hold. He would make his return to the ring after a lay off that lasted fourteen months. His fights have been exciting and have many people talking. Mercer has the power but does he have the stamina to carry him through into the later rounds if it goes that far? Don't be fooled by Mercer and his power because one look at his list of sub par opponents over the last few years would make anyone look good. If he lands a big bomb then it could be a whole different story. Wladimir Klitschko on the other hand should not underestimate the merciless one. After all, this is boxing and it is the theatre of the unexpected. I look at this fight as future glory vs. career survival. Klitschko is very close to achieving his ultimate dream and the roadblock that lies ahead in Ray Mercer will be mowed down. When it is all said and done I am sure this will move Mercer one step closer to retirement. AP Photo/ Louis Lanzano

No Pulse Wladimir?

By Steve Trellert

23.06 - There seems to be two main schools of thought amongst boxing writers and commentators regarding WBO Heavyweight Champion Wladimir Klitschko. One school states that Wladimir has never had a real gut check where he has faced adversity and demonstrated heart and courage to get out of it. While the second school states that he already has against Ross Puritty and failed. The latter school of thought seems to think Wladimir a bit of a paper tiger, who would put up about as much resistance as a tent full of fresh meat before a grizzly, or the Bush daughters to a bottle of tequila. Not so as the evidence will shortly bear (excuse the pun) out.

Wladimir Klitschko's fight with Ross Puritty seems to somehow stand out as the archetype of Wladimir's boxing heart amongst those who tend to denigrate him. My guess is that most of these critics have not actually seen the fight and have only listened to hearsay. For those of you who have not seen the fight, there was a virtual equivalent shown on HBO a few years back. Remember the Derrick Jeffeson versus David Izon fight on the Roy Jones/David Telesco undercard? Well, Jefferson was Wladimir and Izon was Puritty. In almost identical fashion, Wladimir knocked Puritty from pillar to post and dominated him until the very end, where like Jefferson, he ran out of gas and had nothing left to give. It was not Wladimir who quit, but his corner who threw in the towel. Wladimir Klitschko had given it his all but failed to pace himself correctly. A bad mistake, but one understandable for a fighter who was but 22 years old and trying to impress his hometown of Kiev, Ukraine and knockout a guy who's chin was not going anywhere. Was Derrick Jefferson considered a coward after his similar loss to Izon? No! Instead Jefferson was regarded as an unblemished warrior despite that loss. Now of course some may say that Jefferson has demonstrated his heart previous times before whereas Klitschko did not. Let us see.

How about the first school who claims his heart has never been tested? Well, in the ring this is somewhat true but is it Wladimir's fault that he has been so dominant against the opposition he has faced? Clearly not, and by the way he has the best resume of victories, besides Lennox Lewis, amongst the top ten heavyweights today (in the last five years) so criticism of his opposition can be dismissed. If that is unconvincing how about his actions outside of the ring in terms of choosing opposition? An example of a lack of heart?

He fought German boxing hero Axel Shulz in his home country when he could of insisted on neutral ground and nevertheless pounded him into the ground. In Chris Byrd he fought a fighter whom all of the top flight (damn, another pun) were avoiding. In fact, forget Mike Tyson, it is Chris Byrd who appears to be the most feared boxer in the Heavyweight division. Even undeniable warrior Evander Holyfield does not want to fight him as he stated in an interview after his fight with Hasim Rahman. Tyson no problem, Byrd? Get me out of here! Did Wladimir run and hide from Byrd? No, instead he took the challenge and went on to dominate the fly boy by winning virtually every round and knocking him down twice. Of course some commentators attempted to diminish this victory by citing the weight difference of 40 pounds as a factor, or as some German conspiracy that caused Byrd's eye to swell up. If the former is true why does nobody want to fight Chris Byrd, and does that not in itself make his lighter weight irrelevant? If the latter is true, why did Chris Byrd raise his hands and clap when Wladimir's name was announced as the winner of their fight? A gesture of a deserved win is it not? No thoughts of conspiracy then, hmm must have been that jab sandwich he was eating all night.

Now Wladimir Klitschko moves on to fight another avoided fighter in 'Merciless' Ray Mercer. Anyone who saw Ray fight Evander Holyfield and Lennox Lewis can see why. In big fights Mercer gives no quarter and literally has no mercy as Tommy Morrison can attest. Now of course it has been five years since Ray has been at that level so he is a bit of an unknown quantity, but it cannot be denied that he still has an iron chin and a deadly punch. Those factors as well as the fact that Mercer is hovering around age 40 make this fight risky for Wladimir in terms of a cost/benefit analysis. If he wins he beat an old man, if he loses he lost to an old man. Sounds like a no win situation that a person with no heart would surely avoid.

For those obstinate about Wladimir's lack of pulse, this fight will not satisfy the question at hand, but for those of a more balanced and neutral character some satisfaction is likely to occur. Ray Mercer's chin is legendary and we all know that Wladimir is highly likely to be pushed to the distance. The longer the fight, the greater the chance of adversity for Dr. Klitschko. The additional fact that Mercer is an efficient finisher and can punch should also allow us to finally get a look at Wladimir's chin. Irrespective of the outcome, the naysayers will continue to circle like vultures, but their position will become even more so of what it currently is, largely untenable.

If you have any comments you would like to make regarding this article, either click "comments" below, or email me personally at

Interview: The Klitschko Brothers

Could you give us some opening thoughts?

Tommy Brooks: I’ve worked with a lot of great champions. I think by far these guys are the brightest stars I have had the opportunity to work with. I see a lot of great things happening with these guys.

Vitali Klitschko: I am feeling very well. I am doing preparations with my brother. I hope this fight with Larry Donald (on July 20) will be interesting and be presented in the Unites States on American TV.

Wladimir Klitschko: Everything is going well. It was very tough preparation, like eight weeks, for this fight. The preparation is a very tough thing. The fight is much lighter. Mercer is a famous guy. Everyone knows he is very tough with a strong chin, and has never been knocked out. He was very quiet today at the press conference, and seems to be concentrating on the fight. Right now, he is in very good shape and in very good form.

Why did you bring Tommy Brooks into your camp?

Wladimir: We met each other for the first time four year ago, during the preparations for Holyfield versus Michael Moorer. I think bringing Tommy in is a perfect thing, because my trainer Fritz Dunick (?) teaches European style, and Tommy Brooks teaches American style. I am learning and mixing the best of European and American styles.

How has he improved your fighting style?

Wladimir: He teaches American style, which is more powerful. European style is more technical. Tommy teaches a lot of special things. We have just started with the work, and we will see how everything goes.

Do you think this fight against Mercer is a stepping-stone for an eventual fight with Lennox Lewis?

Wladimir: I am concentrating just on this fight with Ray Mercer. After that, we can talk about the future. I hope a fight with Lennox Lewis will come this year. If the fight against Lewis comes, I am sure we will win.

Have you been preparing for a distance fight against Mercer, or do you think you can stop this guy earlier?

Wladimir: It will be difficult to stop this guy. He said during the press conference that this is his last chance, so I know he will be focused and give everything. He is in really good shape for his age. I think he is taking this very seriously, and I am taking him very seriously, too.

What will be your best weapon against Mercer?

Wladimir: I have a lot of weapons. It is difficult to say which one I will use in the fight, because it depends on the situation. Against Mercer, I think it will be better to show you in the ring.

Do you have a prediction for when you will knockout Mercer?

Wladimir: Of course, for the fans, it would be nice to see a “right” win, or a knockout. I will concentrate on getting a knockout, but I don’t want to drive myself crazy with this. I am not pushing myself for a knockout, just boxing well.

Do you think Mercer is a dangerous opponent, given his age and his previous losses?

Wladimir: I saw his last fight, and he was in very good shape. I know he takes this fight seriously. He will take advantage of his chances. I have to take care all the time, and focus 100 percent to take care of Mercer.

What do you do this week to prepare for the fight?

Wladimir: I was training today, and now it is just mental concentration. I am relaxing and concentrating on the fight.

Vitaly, when you see your younger brother fighting in a big fight and getting a lot of attention, how does that make you feel?

Vitaly: My younger brother Wladimir will be the future in boxing, because he is just 26 years old. He has really big potential in the sport. Right now, this is his first big fight in the United States. We have a dream for both brothers to be world champions at the same time. We want two belts for Wladimir, and two for me. I am 30-years old, and I think I have three to five years left in boxing, but Wladimir has many more years left. He is the future of boxing.

Which one of you is better?

Vitali: I think Wladimir is the better boxer, because right now he is a world champion. When I am a world champion, too, that will be a good question for boxing fans.

Even though you guys are brothers, is there still competition?

Vitaly: Yes, there is competition between us. We will not ever fight against each other, because the goal in boxing is to beat your opponent. I do not want to beat my brother.

What is your average training day like with Tommy Brooks?

Wladimir: It is funny, because it is something new to learn. If you learn new things, it helps you so much more.

What is your emotional and mental outlook going into this fight?

Wladimir: I am very happy. It is the last week before the fight. It is so boring to have preparation for the fight, because every day brings the same thing in terms of training. I am happy my preparation is behind me, and I can have a chance to fight. I am focused on this fight.

Tommy, what is it like to train the brothers?

Brooks: It is like a breath of fresh air, baby. You’ve got guys here who want to learn something. Not to point the finger at Tyson or anyone else. Tyson is the kind of guy who does what he wants to do when he wants to do it. These guys (Klitschkos) beat me to the gym. Sometimes with Tyson, you are standing around playing pocket pool because you are not sure if he is going to show up or not. But these guys want to learn.

Ray Mercer is a tough opponent. As Wladimir’s trainer, what do you think you need to help him with for this fight?

Brooks: What a lot of people don’t realize is, I used to work with Mercer. I am looking for Wladimir to put him out cold. We are going to keep changing pace because Ray is not a mover. I do not think Ray can handle what this kid has to put out. This kid brings plenty of thunder with him.

Wladimir, how long did it take for you to get over the loss to Ross Puritty, and how have you grown as fighter?

Wladimir: It was a good experience for me, because 3-4 years ago, I was like a boxing baby. The loss was because of a mistake, but I have learned a lot from it. It was good that it came at the middle of my career



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