BY JOHNNY WALKER
It was very amusing reading all the chatter around various boxing websites as last Saturday’s fight between Vitali Klitschko and Odlanier Solis drew near.
While Vitali has more support in the United States than is generally imagined, those on the other side were working themselves into a lather over the idea that Solis was indeed the man to end the Klitschkos’ vise-like grip on the heavyweight division.
My reply to one such fellow was this: “I expect Solis to fold up like a pup tent the minute Vitali hits him hard.”
At the risk of hurting my arm patting myself on the back, that is exactly what took place.
As the brief fight unfolded, Solis circled around, and, having fast hands, landed a few shots that didn’t really faze Klitschko, who held the right hand in check and used the jab as a measuring device as he waited to unload.
Finally, when Klitschko landed a right hand counter on the top of Solis’s head near the end of the round, a rather bizarre scene unfolded that ultimately resulted in another KO win for Vitali.
Whether the ultimate finisher of Solis was a Vitali punch or a bum knee is ultimately not of real import.
The result was an excellent one for the heavyweight division, because if there was ever a PR nightmare for heavyweight boxing, it is Odlanier Solis.
First of all, let’s face the facts: the man is lazy.
Solis waddled into his last fight against Ray Austin, an important fight for him as it meant a shot at the WBC championship, at an obese 260 pounds on a 6’1” frame, which tells you something about how seriously he takes his boxing career.
Solis was a gifted amateur, defeating none other than David Haye, but as soon as he defected from his native Cuba to live in the United States, something went awry.
His weight immediately began to balloon, reaching the obscene heights of 270 pounds against Monte Barrett, a fight the talented but slothful Solis nevertheless won by knockout.
Solis’s priorities as a person and as a fighter are thus almost the exact opposite of the Spartan Klitschkos.
Unlike the Klitschkos, Solis has made no effort to learn to speak English to broaden his appeal. He has been photographed in the company of strippers, and brandishes a gold “SpongeBob” bling-chain at every press conference, which has the unfortunate effect of making him look like he’s a few books short of a library.
While Vitali Klitschko speaks eloquently about the parallels between Chernobyl and the current nuclear situation in Japan, Odlanier Solis just wants you to admire his golden SpongeBob.
Also not helping Solis is the fact that his mouthpiece is one Ahmet Oner, an amusing, hyper fellow with a chequered past who comes across like Baghdad Bob of Iraq war fame every time he speaks.
Solis, then, would have been a very tough sell as a heavyweight champion of the world, but that was never really in the cards anyway.
Against Vitali Klitschko , Solis’s lifestyle and his attitude toward his chosen sport – he has said in the past that he doesn’t care for boxing and only does it as a job – finally caught up to him.