By Sean Crose
So now Vitali Klitshcko is out as heavyweight champion. Hard to blame the guy for his decision, really. He lives in a pretty dark and unfair corner of the world, after all. What he’s doing is actually quite honorable. He’s showing he cares about other things besides himself. In this narcissistic age we live in, it’s difficult to see that as a bad thing.
It’s also difficult to see the older Klitschko’s exit from the ring as a bad thing. Things have needed to liven up in the heavyweight division for years now. Sure, Vitali is amazing – and he really is, but Wladimir’s older brother hasn’t caught on here in the states. Truth be told, I’ve never once felt either Klitschko has been in real danger of losing a fight these past few years – and that includes Wladimir’s match against David Haye.
Thing is, boxing is nothing if not a sport of question marks. People tune in to see how things will turn out. That’s why the weight classes between 140 and 175 seem so electric right now. Can Maidana carry his big win Saturday night onto greater things? Will Golovkin move up or down in weight? Will Floyd fight someone who has a real chance against him? How will Ward make the jump to light heavyweight? These are some of the questions fight fans will want to see answered through 2014 and beyond.
There simply haven’t been many burning questions regarding the Klitschko brothers recently, aside from those pertaining to when their reign of shared dominance would end. Through no fault of their own, the brothers have given us nothing to talk about. Believe it or not, Joe Louis himself once had similar problems.
Louis, however, was exciting. Very exciting. The Klitschkos are excellent – but they’re not exciting. With all due respect to the promise they made their mother, I really wished the two had laced up and battled one another. That fight might have actually been pretty interesting. What a moneymaker it would have been, too, even here in the states. The whole brother versus brother aspect would have been too much for the public to ignore with a heavyweight title (or titles) at stake.
The fight never happened, though, so the heavyweight division was left with more and more of the same. Now, however, Vitali’s vacated his throne and a bunch of young names are being thrown into the mix. They’re not all Russian or Eastern European names, either. There’s actually some Americans out there who have a shot at the big time. If Deontay Wilder falls flat perhaps Eddie Chambers will be able to attain dominance among the big men.
Let’s not forget, though, that there’s still another Klitschko and he’s no small feat to beat. Word is Wladimir’s people have been trying to get a fight going with Tyson Fury, but – get this – Fury’s people have kept deferring, claiming their man isn’t ready yet. I actually believe they’re right. If you want the heavyweight championship of the world, you best be ready to bring your A-game.
Let’s hope some of these up and comers get their A-games going sooner rather than later. There’s a void out there, after all, and the fans want to see things to start heating up. Truth be told, I think Wladimir does, too. He needs a crowning achievement to add to his resume. And a victory over a red hot, lauded, and legitimately dangerous opponent would more than suffice. Hey, the guy deserves to have something to hang his hat on.