Wladimir Place in Heavyweights
by Tom Donelson
Wladimir Klitschko victory over Tony Thompson only reinforced what is obvious; he is the best Heavyweight in the world. Never mind the various sanctioning bodies; there is no one at the moment who combines Klitschko boxing ability and power. Thompson awkward style gave Klitschko problems for the first six rounds. While Klitschko was winning the early rounds but these rounds were close and Thompson “soft punches” produced a welt under Klitschko’s left eye. (Both fighters suffered cuts over the right eye over an apparent unintentional head butt even though the referee did not see it that way.) Thompson concentrated his attack on Klitschko’s body with the idea of wearing the Ukrainian down.
Klitschko past history showed that he could wear down but over the past few fights, Klitschko has shown good endurance and this appears no longer a major problem. Klitschko’s main problem is boxing indecipherable politics that has kept Klitschko from unifying the title and right now, one division (WBA) have their champion injured and out of action so now we will have a “intern” championship between a bout between Nikolay Valuev and John Ruiz. Meanwhile, WBC champion Samuel Peter is preparing for a fight with Wladimir’s brother, Vitali. Vitali has not fought for four years and lately have been unable to finish a training camp.
Klitschko has already defeated Peter. The Klitschko-Peter bout saw Klitschko go down three times but in the final round, Klitschko nearly stopped Peter before winning a decision. Throughout the fight Klitschko out boxed Peter and build up the points. And over the past few fights, Klitschko have shown more growth than Peter, so the question that remains; would a Peter-Klitschko end the same way?
Klitschko does have options. The big secret is that Klitschko does not need the America market or for the matter; America boxing pundits. While most American boxing fans would love to see a second Peter-Klitschko fight; Klitschko biggest fight might be against the massive Nikolay Valuev in Europe. That is the state of the Heavyweight division. The heavyweight division is nothing but a central and Russian division with American heavyweights providing occasional payday for the Europeans.
Tony Thompson was that pay day for Klitschko and while he made a good fight for the first half of the fight, the second half saw Klitschko take it to another level. Klitschko began use his full arsenal as he unleashed hooks and his fearsome jabs to set up the power right. In the first half of the fight, the jab was ineffectual and Klitschko depended up on his right hand. The problem was that Thompson prepared for the Klitschko’s right. Thompson punches, though they had less impact, were landing with great accuracy as they found way past Klitschko’s defenses. In the second half, the jab broke through Thompson defenses and then Klitschko popped his hook along with rights to the body. This opened up the right to the head. It also wore the American down.
While Thompson connected on more punches, these punches had little pop as the fight progressed and did very little to discourage Klitschko. Klitschko appeared fresher in the later rounds. In the eleventh round, Klitschko went for the kill. Sensing that Thompson was weak from the previous round work, Klitschko attacked with hooks to the bodies and rights to the head as he forced Thompson to the rope. Thompson moved to middle of round as he retreated away from the rope to escape the Klitschko’s onslaught.
A short accurate right stopped Thompson in his track and Thompson landed on his side. He moved flat on his back and struggled to beat the count. As the referee yelled ten, Thompson was not completely off the canvas. Fight over.
Klitschko showed that he is the best heavyweight but he is being denied a chance at history as the boxing sanctioning bodies keep him from unifying the division by forcing various champs to fight mandatory challengers instead of each other. Klitschko is a good fighter who is still improving but it is hard to judge how good he really is. And it is time for Klitschko to be allowed to clean out the division.