Vitali Klitschko: The Wolf is on the Prowl

26.04.04 – By Izyaslav – Vitali Klitschko proved on Saturday night his legitimacy as the best heavyweight in the world by taking out an overweight, although very dangerous Corrie Sanders. With a dominating performance that Sanders reduced to a bleeding hulk, Vitali establishes himself as the best current Heavyweight in the world, and hopefully continues the humorously dubbed “Klitschko plan for world Domination.”


Due to Vernon Forrest’s injury, HBO had to cancel the undercard to tonight’s main event, between the Viper and Teddy Reid. Instead of taking any of a number promising fighters (including Sumya Anani, arguably the best female fighter in the world, Jose Navarro undefeated flyweight, or Taras Bidenko, rugged Ukrainian ex-military champ), and making their bouts as the preview show, HBO in its infinite wisdom decided to take a panel of “experts” and discuss the heavyweight division. This charade was invariably stupid and boring, because no matter how smart Chris Byrd sounds, they didn’t say anything that the normal boxing fan wouldn’t already know. Thankfully, this waste of time only lasted around 10 minutes. The fight saved us from having to hear Lewis drone on about how he accomplished everything, and the reason he doesn’t fight is “I can beat all of them.” Frankly speaking, listening to his verbal vomit made me ill. (Message to Lewis: No matter how big your mouth is, only your fists can do the kind of talking your brain came up with on Saturday night).


After a continuous argument with myself on whether to throw up or not, I decided to hold it in, as it was time for Corrie Sanders to make his ring walk. No matter how relaxed the guy looked days before the fight, his “Jamaican don’t worry be happy” mood seemed to have disappeared as soon as he started walking towards the ring. The guy honestly looked scared to me. His eyes were completely wide open as if he had just seen a ghost or the Angel of Death. It was amusing for me to watch his suffering expression on his face, especially after all his bold talk before the fight.

Speaking of the Angel of Death, Vitali’s entrance was what I like to think of as typical Vitali, with one added twist. Instead of entering to that god awful opera music that Vladimir likes to enter the ring to, or the mediocre choice of “Simply the Best,” Vitali chose to enter to the Eagle’s “Hotel California (one of his favorite songs as stated on his website. Sorry, I am a Klitschko fan and it’s my business to know this stuff). The one thing that didn’t change, though, was the hungry look of determination that Vitali carries into every fight. Vitali looked completely focused and ready to take the belt that eluded him when he went to hell and back with Lennox “the pension collector” Lewis.

I was a bit put off by the mistake in announcing, when HBO kept the camera fixed on Sanders and showed his record during Buffer’s first announcing of Klitschko’s and then Sander’s names. Especially when the last time there was a mistake in announcing in a fight between a Klitschko and Sanders, the result was shocking and vicious.

After this very rare HBO foul up, the referee called both fighters to the center of the ring. In turning to Vitali, the referee, Jon Schorle, decided to show off his mastery of college level Russian. I found this wholly unnecessary, seeing as Vitali can understand English quite well (especially since starting his pro career, unlike Mohammed Abdulaev, Vitali probably learned how to count and understand all English boxing terms), and proved the point in the post fight interview. Nevertheless, I would have liked for the referee to not show complete bias, and speak a few words in African for Sander’s benefit, but we will take what we can get. Actually, the referee did a good job tonight, in that he was invisible for most of the fight, which is exactly how referees should behave.

Round 1

Vitali comes out and naturally establishes his jab, and takes command early. He pushes Sanders to the ropes, and dominates most of the round, although Sanders fires throughout as well. Towards the end of the round, Vitali, perhaps examining to see whether he has clipped Sanders sufficiently to do some lasting damage, gets caught by a counter that really nails him good. Sanders completely rejuvenated by this good fortune, goes on the attack and uses a sweeping hand to push Vitali down. It was a really a slip, in that there was no punch landed. However, the punch that caused Vitali to back up, (straight left hand) was sufficient enough to give Sanders the round.
10-9 Sanders

Round 2

Vitali comes out very carefully, and forces the action with his jab. He lands the more telling blows, as Sanders hands are already south of his own waist line. I really think Sanders was trying to do a Lamon Brewster on Vitali, by hoping he would punch himself out, but that strategy will never work with Vitali. The older Klitschko is a very smart fighter, who will never go in for the kill unless he has a clearly discouraged or open prey in front of him. Vitali is patient, and determined. He will knock you out in the later rounds when he is sure you have no reserves. This is why I feel Sanders should have given it his all in this round, and died trying right then to end the fight. Sanders came in with a modest strategy, to out wait Klitschko, as evident in this round, but it was really to no avail, as Vitali is extremely patient if necessary.
10-9 Klitschko

Round 3

Perhaps the best two way action of the fight, but still in favor of Vitali, who uses his reach and height advantage perfectly. Vitali may stand straight up, but when Sanders goes in to force the exchange, Vitali leans back enough for Sanders to overexert his punches, and leave himself, unbalanced to take Vitali’s blows. Sanders shows a durable chin, but that is never enough to win a fight.
10-9 Klitschko

Round 4

Sanders still waiting at the checkout lane for Vitali to tire himself out, eats nice patient jabs and massive body shots. Vitali is very economical with his punching, and uses his body and feints to maneuver the immobile Sanders to deliver the necessary blows. Sanders completely unabashed, takes it but refuses to quit.
10-9 Klitschko

Round 5

Klitschko staggers Sanders, and sends him unbalanced across the ring and into the ropes. Sanders is in all kinds of hell, and wobbles with almost every punch Vitali shotguns at him. He again relies on his chin to carry him through, but I don’t know how much good that will do him. The mark of a truly good fighter is to take a good punch, and right away be able to give one back. Vitali did not swing for the fences with his blows, even though they were clearly measured and effective, so Sanders had a few opportunities to make a fight of it, but he chose the road more traveled. By compubox, Corrie Sanders landed only 1 punch in this round, so it there was no real argument who to give the round oo.
10-8 due to Sanders lack of connects

Round 6

Sanders finally delivers some of his iron lefts, and catches Klitschko cleanly and whirls his head back. Vitali shows a very good chin, and tremendous recuperative powers, and charges back to land his own telling combinations. The amount of good punching Vitali did after Sander’s one significant connect, was enough to give him the round.
10-9 Klitschko

Round 7

Klitschko hurts Sanders big, but Corrie hangs in there. Sanders is completely flat footed now, and his arms seem to be flailing around like Salamis at a butcher shop. Vitali continues pressing as the round ends.
10-9 Klitschko

Round 8

Vitali comes out doing the same thing he has done the previous rounds, and barrages Sanders with anything and everything, finally landing some crisp straights, and hooks, busting Sanders visibly. Sanders, injured from the measured pummeling of the elder Klitschko, and visibly not conditioned enough to go the full distance, decides to go for broke here. Like an injured beast, rushing its deadly pursuer, Sanders runs at Vitali and connects with 2 or 3 good punches. The defining moment of the fight, comes when Vitali un-phased and aware Sanders has sung his last hurrah, takes the last barrage and proceeds to unleash nine kinds of hell on Corrie Sanders. I do not care which fighter would be standing in front of Klitschko at the beginning of that mauling, but I can assure you at the end of it, they would be flat on their back. If it matters, final credit should go to Corrie Sanders for finishing the fight on his feet, as the referee hugged him and waived the fight to a merciful conclusion.

Of all the champions fighting this month, Vitali Klitschko put on the best performance. In this victory he showed the following:

1. Willingness to take a punch. (Some of the shots Sanders landed could have busted a Watermelon in two, and forced even the most resilient opponent to back off. Vitali walked through some of them, and offered some of his own Gallagher-Mallet shots)
2. Elusive Defensive skills (Klitschko may seem awkward and clumsy, but he was plain “Byrd like” in certain situations, by ducking under when on the ropes, and almost turning up behind, the rarely attacking Sanders.)
3. Power – (Vitali has finished all but one of his fights inside the distance, and this one was no exception, as Sanders eyes and mouth caught the tail end of a hurricane)
4. Measured Determination (Vitali always has the look of a guy, that wants to put you down in one round. However, he never proceeds to let loose his emotion until he knows you have taken enough punishment, and will meet the fury in his punches without any opposition. Vitali always takes his time, and efficiently uses his punches, until he can hurt his opponent enough to completely finish them)

Vitali Klitschko landed exactly one more punch then Corrie Sanders threw.

The final Punchstat was
Kitsch – Sanders
230/4113 51/229
56% landed 27% landed

Vitali Klitschko thanked everybody after the fight, and made it clear his desire is to fight Lennox Lewis, retired or not. He also stated (as HBO flashed over to his brother) that Vladimir is the best Heavyweight in the division, and soon, he too, will be champion, although his road is a bit longer to travel. He also claimed the goal of the brothers was to collect all the belts in the division, and keep them in the Klitschko name.

FINAL THOUGHTS (sorry Jerry Springer)

I think Jim Lampley said it best tonight when he mentioned “This is only the beginning.” Vitali Klitschko put on an exhibition and displayed the many traits and qualities he possesses by dominating, albeit an old, but still hard hitting and dangerous opponent in Corrie Sanders.

If Vitali can bring this kind of determination, desire, and skill into the ring, no matter who the opponent is, he will always be declared the winner. Currently I cannot see any of the so-called champions stopping him. Vitali’s abilities are heads & shoulders above the rest of the heavyweight crowd.

These are the heavyweights who are currently out there that might possibly be next for Vitali:

Lamon Brewster: basically was beaten by Wladimir, who almost killed him in four. I think Vitali would take longer, but make the beating more agonizing and cruel. This fight would be a another boring, one-sided affair that would do little to enhance Vitali’s name in the boxing world. Better Brewster be left for Vlad to finish off in a rematch.

Chris Byrd: He recently mentioned “We are in the hurt business,” referring to his “victory” over Vitali long ago, but does anybody really think Byrd could ever win a decision against Vitali? Byrd has looked terrible in his last two fights, and is incredibly lucky to have escaped each of those bouts without a loss on his record. He is a durable fighter, but with the amount of pure domineering skill I saw from Vitali on Saturday night, I think Byrd would not make it through 12 rounds with Vitali. Don’t get me wrong, I would love to see this fight happen, because I feel Vitali is dying to satisfy his thirst for revenge, yet I doubt Byrd would be interested in getting beaten to a pulp again by another Klitschko.

Andrew Golota: based off of his draw with Chris Byrd, he should technically share part of the championship picture and be considered a top contender. I am happy Golota got through his mentail issues and finally finished a championship fight, but I do not expect this phenomenon to happen against Vitali Klitschko. Golota was hurt by some of Byrd’s punches in their fight, and that’s a bad sign considering that Vitali packs a lot more concrete behind his punches than the feather-fisted Byrd. I see Golota getting overwhelmed by Vitali in one or two rounds in much the same way he did against Lewis.

John Ruiz: To me, I consider Ruiz a real no talent, who basically hugs his way to victory. I think he is the worse kind of boxer out there, and he is truly bad for boxing in that he puts the audience to sleep. His talent is not based on ability, but rather on what the referee will let him get away with in any chosen fight. If Ruiz is forced to fight by a good referee, then John Ruiz would wind up staring at the lights like in his fight with Tua. If not, then Vitali would win a sloppy decision fight, that would be filled probably capped off by a foul filled with a lot of holding and fouls by Ruiz. Honestly, I predict a devastating knockout by Vitali, which would probably signal the end of Ruiz’s career. Let’s just pray that this fight happens.

Wladimir Klitschko: Call me sick and crazy, but this is the Oedipus complex type fight.. I know the Klitschko brothers said they will never do it, and I know their mother forbids it, but what if they actually did? It would be a sensational! Imagine the press buildup for this fight. What if one day they get into an argument and try to settle it in the ring? I am getting too ahead of myself, but as of now I would go with Vitali by decision, although that may change as Vladimir regains his championship form.


Why are the Klitschko’s good for the heavyweight division? Its simple, they are family, and like most healthy families, they do everything together. That is commendable, and can be identified with by most people who have brothers & sisters. For instance, I watched Saturday’s fight with my uncle, and then debated about boxing with my own brother, father, and grandfather on the way home. The Klitschko’s can be identified with by almost anyone, and even though it sounds stupid, they bring families, at least mine, just a bit closer together.

Why am I saying all this?

As Vitali was celebrating his victory, Vladimir with a jubilant smile on his face, and no regret or jealousy, lifted his new trainer, Emmanuel Steward, into the air. It was as if he himself had won the fight, and perhaps that is why I feel that the Klitschkos are good for boxing. They are brothers in the truest sense of the word and it‘s up to them to save boxing..

Too emotional? if you want to tell me about it.