Philip H. Anselmo: Vitali Dismantles Awkward Gomez
A ROUND—BY—ROUND ANALYSIS BY PHILIP H. ANSELMO
Hans-Martin-Schleyer Halle, Stuttgart, Baden-Wurttemberg, Germany
“Dr. Iron Fist” Vitali Klitschko (37-2, 36 KO’s) stopped a tough, awkward Juan Carlos Gomez (44-2, 35 KO’s) in the 9th round, in his first defense of the WBC title.
1st. The first round was a bit deceiving, as Vitali seemed off the mark; circling directly to his left and into Gomez power punching range. Gomez’ southpaw stance had Klitschko hand-cuffed on the outside, with both men jousting instead of clean jabbing, while Juan landed a few body shots before initiating a clinch.
ROUND ONE: 10-9 GOMEZ
2nd. Round two started more promising for the champion, as his left hand, a masterpiece just unveiling, landed in the form of a number of thudding jabs and cuffing hooks which moved the challenger’s head into perfect position for two straight right hands.
Gomez’ offensive try’s were literally ineffective against Klitschko’s defense and surprisingly good footwork.
ROUND TWO: 10-9 KLITSCHKO
3rd. Vitali found his range in this round, raking Gomez with several variations of left-right combinations. Klitschko’s accuracy and size began to put a slightly noticeable toll on Gomez, whose offense was ambitious but next to nil in effectiveness. Once again, Klitschko’s footwork and precision punches offset anything Gomez had to offer.
ROUND THREE: 10-9 KLITSCHKO
4th. Klitschko continued to impose his will upon a still-determined Gomez, with numerous hybrid jab-uppercut-hook left hand shots, as well as pinpoint right hands. Gomez landed his left hand from titme to time, but to no avail. A noticeable swelling around Gomez right eye, an obvious result from Vitali’s increase in left handed shots and straight rights, became noticeable by the middle portion of the round. A Klitschko right hand sent Gomez off balance and into the ropes at the bell.
ROUND FOUR: 10-9 KLITSCHKO
5th. Gomez opened the round with a desperate intensity, and enjoyed some brief moments, only to eat a clean counter-punch that opened a cut over his already-damaged right eyelid by a sharp-shooting Klitschko. Vitali continued the one-way abuse till, for the first time, Gomez body language began to speak volumes of how one-sided the fight really was by the round’s end.
ROUND FIVE: 10-9 KLITSCHKO
6th. In this heat, Klitschko’s stamina came into question. His punch output dropped, as he was content to allow Gomez to launch his offensive attacks, with no great effect, and tie up. Gomez took an unexpected trip to the canvas, ruled correctly as a slip by ref Daniel Van de Wiele. Klitschko landed the sharper punches down the stretch, perhaps gaining a second wind by the end of the round. An accidental head-butt opened a decent sized gash on the hairline of Vitali, which poured down his face. This circumstance seemed to fuel urgency out of the champion.
ROUND SIX: 10-9 KLITSCHKO
7th: The first half of this particular round, Vitali went back to dictating the pace, although most of the action was a bit sloppy. At the midway point, any thoughts of Vitali being tired were dispelled as a deadly Klitschko straight right, followed by an uppercut put Gomez down. Vitali, now smelling blood, went for the kill, landing several right hands to the face of a reeling Gomez, but Juan proved durable and brave whilst under heavy artillery, and made it out of the round. As Gomez shuffled back to the corner, his right eye was now closed.
ROUND SEVEN: 10-8 KLITSCHKO
8th: As bad a beating Gomez had taken the previous round(s), he was still game, but his legs were spread too far apart and unsteady. Vitali tested Juan in the early going; pounding Gomez with a variety of shots. Both men fell to the canvas in a tangle of feet, much to the detriment of Gomez, as the full weight of Vitali fell directly on top of him. A right hand to the body froze Gomez along the ropes at the end of the round that looked to take whatever fight Juan had left out of him, but he didn’t quit, and remained upright as the bell sounded.
ROUND EIGHT: 10-8 KLITSCHKO
9th: In a chaotic turn of events, what looked like a clean Klitschko right hand turned out to be a head-butt, that opened a cut above Gomez left eye. As Gomez turned away, apparently either hurt or stalling for time, referee Daniel Van de Wiele ceremoniously took a point from a confused and angry Vitali. However, all of this mess turned out to be moot when the action resumed, as an incised Klitschko landed another straight right that deposited Gomez to the canvas for the second time in the fight. Gomez beat the count again, only to eat several left hooks along the ropes, ending matters at 1:48 of the round.
SIDEBAR NOTE: Head-butts had occurred from round one till the fight’s conclusive ending. Not only were both fighters cut from head clashes, the ref had not audibly warned either fighter to the knowledge of the viewer. Two fighters, one orthodox, and the other southpaw, who commit full-body whilst in combat, are going to knock heads 95% of the time.
Another thing—after the first round, at the beginning of each following stanza, directly as the ref would wave his arms together in order for both fighters to commence fighting, Klitschko would immediately snap out that crazy, awkward part jab, part hook, part uppercut, in order to impose his WILL and establish the tempo of the fight, one hard-fought round at a time.
PERSONAL PERCEPTIONS: What the hell is going on here? I’ll tell you right now to look at the hard, cold facts: after little brother Wladimir’s recent fights: a 12 round struggle in victory with small, defensive-minded, former WBO champion, southpaw, Sultan Ibragimov in a boring unification bout; a tedious 11th round KO of big, but passive southpaw challenger Tony Thompson, and finally his much-scrutinized, tentatively strategic TKO via a jousting match with a shot, over-the-hill, shell of a fighter in Hasim Rahman—big brother Vitali is once again stealing Wlad’s momentum, or lack-there-of.
Vitali conducts himself like a true champion; he defies opponents to defeat him. He talks a good talk, especially when provoked, and carries a large chip on his shoulder, as a defending champ should.
Meanwhile younger brother Wladimir is content to show that he’s an adept body-surfer, para-sailor, and a general nice guy. When it comes to trash-talk, Wlad doesn’t engage.
If the Sam Peter was supposed to be Wladimir’s red carpet to the heavyweight throne, big brother Vitali stepped in and took care of business, depriving little brother of a career-defining event. In Vitali’s first defense (vs. Gomez), big brother showed more combative spirit in dispatching Gomez, another southpaw fighter who at least came to fight, unlike Thompson vs. little brother.
The question is, which brother is truly worthy of being named the #1 heavy in the world? Recent poll says Vitali. Because actions always speak much louder than words.
One last thought: if perennial big—mouth David Haye wants The Klitschko’s so bad, why wasn’t he seen ringside?
No matter, I couldn’t help but see that Vitali seemed a bit slower in his aforementioned performance, and considering Haye is about the same size, looks light-years faster, and hits harder than Gomez, David himself might want to consider challenging Vitali as soon as possible. As for the much-talked-about, on/off Wladimir Klitschko-Haye fight, one thing is for sure; David has effectively negated Wladimir’s future options. As of the 21st of this month, if Haye hadn’t made up his mind, Wlad has promised to move on to a different opponent, after numerous back and forth negotiating.
With Chris Arreola, a fighter once considered as a near future opponent for Wlad if the Haye fight fell through, now obligated to fight shop-worn Jameel McCline and Alexander Povetkin fighting soft-touch Jason Estrada, that leaves the obvious choice of fighting WBO #1 contender Alexander Dimitrenko. And the inside word is that HBO has no intentions of airing the fight if it happens.
On a night where Vitali Klitschko didn’t shine as brightly as he once did, but still got the job done in style, overall, he may have eclipsed younger bro Wladimir in the heavyweight ratings, and in the hearts of heavyweight boxing fans after only two fights back, after returning from retirement only last year.