Klitschko Dodges The Sniper

25.04.04 – Aidan Monaghan: Corrie “The Sniper” Sanders, the humble, aging, unremarkable looking but crafty and resolute heavyweight contender and aspiring golfer, nearly pulled off the seemingly impossible again Saturday night against Vitali Klitschko in Los Angles, California, for the WBC fraction in the heavyweight crown, as he did a little over a year ago against kid brother Wladimir Klitschko, the presumed heir apparent of the division, with a remarkably uncanny, quick, accurate and very hard straight left hand fired early and often against Vitali, the same one that had previously toppled the other half of the Klitschko Express.

With Vitali applying early pressure, Sanders took advantage of several opportunities to throw and land big straight left counter punches – one perfect counter punch in particular that followed slipping a Klitschko right – that rocked Klitschko in round one, in a scene eerily similar to the demolition of the younger Klitschko 13 months ago. With one almost feeling the same sense of anticipation that used to be felt waiting for any punch from a vintage Mike Tyson, Sanders surely kept those in attendance spellbound with his remarkable ability to land the very strong left hand counter to great effect and nearly at will in the early rounds. Sanders exposed Vitali’s – as is the case as well, with most right handed fighters – vulnerability to the southpaw stance. Klitschko at times seemed very unable to defend himself sufficiently against it but, unlike kid brother Wladimir, he was able to adjust and alter his normally aggressive approach into a more calculated campaign of attrition. In round 3, the two combatants were firing and landing almost at will in a breathtaking final 30 second exchange .With a greater number of jabs and inside punches landed from unexpected angles, Klitschko was finally able to wear down the apparently somewhat out of shape Sanders and land almost at will during the final 7th and 8th rounds. But to Sanders great credit, he went out with his boots on – and standing, taking everything Klitschko had to offer until the referee – seemingly a bit overdue – brought a halt to the bout at 2:46 of the 8th round.

For Klitschko, a well deserved rest might be in order after having had to reach as deep as he had, in winning the WBC belt. For Sanders, he will likely be pulling off the gloves for good and putting on some greens instead, but not before giving the Klitschko’s and boxing fans more than they bargained for during the last year.