20.12.04 – By Tim Foley: Has there ever been a fighter smarter than Vitali Klitschko? Many will argue and debate with me on this subject, but after watching the replay (yet again) of Klitschko’s mauling of Danny Williams, it’s clear that Klitschko IS the true heavyweight champion of the world.
What makes a champion is heart, determination, and skill. Probably the most underrated attribute that creates a champion is understanding a fighter’s own limitations. Klitschko is probably the most awkward looking fighter of the new millennium, but he gets the job done. He seems to understand, probably more than anybody, what his strengths and weaknesses are.
He knows he’s huge and must preserve his energy. Unlike his brother, Wladimir, he knows how to pace himself and not waste all of his energy in 4 rounds. He has very little wasted motion in his punches, and by doing so, can last for 9-10 rounds. Since all but one of his fights has ended by KO, he doesn’t need to have the stamina to go 12.
He also understands that his jab sets up his entire arsenal. He is capable of winning a fight simply by jabbing. Ironically, the man he last lost to is the man he most resembles. Lennox Lewis completely decimated Mike Tyson with his left jab, similar to Klitschko’s annihilation of Danny Williams. He will throw that jab two or three times and follow it up with his straight right hand. It’s repetitive, but unusually effective.
Unlike his brother, he uses his size to his advantage. Most fighters can’t do it to this extent. It happens in all weight classes…the taller fighter doesn’t take advantage of his size and ends up getting knocked out. A recent example is Guty Espadas, Jr’s KO loss to Rocky Juarez. Klitschko NEVER crouches to become the same height as his opponent. He uses this as his weapon and ends up the victor.
What I find so amazing is his ability to still develop as a fighter. He looks like a raw talent that still has a ton of potential to improve. It’s very rare to find a 33 year old fighter who can be called ‘raw’. He’s still developing his short left hook, which did put Williams down once in the fight. After a few more fights, he could possibly be the deadliest fighter in the game.
He lives by the old adage, “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.” Most will argue that he is robotic or predictable, but I believe he’s just smarter because he knows he doesn’t need to be flashy to dominate. His awkwardness is so hard to judge by watching tape. You really have to see it live to understand why he is so effective.