Vitali Klitschko seeks to defend his WBC Heavyweight title for the fifth time (of his second reign) against Albert “The Dragon” Sosnowski, the former European Champion. Over 60,000 are in Gelsenkirchen, Germany to watch the historic reign of one of boxing’s most dominant champions. Vitali, at 38, has, so far, not declined as some of his brothers of the throne who were far faded at 38 than in their younger days – Joe Louis, Muhammad Ali, Jack Johnson, Larry Holmes, Mike Tyson, for examples. Sosnowski looks the part and has the experience of a 45-2 record (27 KO’s) to perhaps shock the world. When they meet at ring center for Jay Nady’s referee’s instruction, Sosnowski keeps his head down and refuses to meet the icy glare of Dr. Iron Fist.
Round one: Vitali boxes with left hand way down and right at shoulder level, he is an aggressive but calm predator using left hooks and jabs and occasion rights to find a feel for his target. Sosnowski can’t do anything but be in a bit of awe facing this giant force, who is unquestionably one of the most formidable heavyweight champions in the history of the sport.
Round two: Vitali shows intensity as he hunts his prey, Sosnowski has handspeed and tries to counter. He is entirely on the defensive but not an easy capture. Sosnowski will launch counters which apparently have enough power to cause Vitali to be somewhat respectful.
Round three: Vitali lands two of those right bolos to the body. Then Sosnowski scores with a left hook. Sosnowski is showing top 10 worthy skills, on the level of previous heavyweight title challengers as Jerry Quarry, George Chuvalo, Michael Moorer, Phil Jackson and Frans Botha.
Round four: Ineffective round for both, just occasional scoring jabs by the champion. At the bell Vitali gives a slight head shake, which could be a possible hint of frustration at his inability to land many solid hits.
Round five: Sosnowski lands a solid right but it doesn’t phase the behemoth. Vitali landing his unorthodox punches but can he pull the trigger at 38? So far, no.
Round six: Scoring hooks by Vitali, nice jabs by Sosnowski. Sosnowski is backed up by a solid combination of a right and then a left by the champion. First blood is drawn by Vitali as Sosnowski has a bloody nose.
Round seven: This is another vintage dissection by Vitali picking apart an overmatched but game challenger. Sosnowski connects with a rare combination that forces the champ to show his excellent defensive footwork. Only a couple of seconds does he appear in trouble, but quickly regains control of the duel.
Round eight: The pattern continues with Vitali in total control, using his height, intelligence and unorthodox missile launchers. Vitali is a very difficult gladiator to box with, so far only Lennox Lewis is the only man able to effectively compete with him in 14 years as a professional boxer. It makes you wonder why didn’t other tall heavyweights like James J. Woody, Gerry Cooney, Michael Grant, Ernie Terrell, etc. did not think of employing a style like Vitali uses? Were they not complete enough or smart enough to devise this style which is so effective? Vitali is making the sport look easy – which is what all the great ones do. And it’s not a weak era. There is no such thing as a weak era. That’s a lazy cop-out. It wasn’t a weak era when Tyson, Holmes, Louis, Lewis, Johnson and Dempsey ruled and it’s not a weak era now. The best is simply the best.
Round nine: Vitali in total control, the same pattern of all his fights. Mike Dokes, Trevor Berbick, Ken Norton, Joe Frazier, Joe Walcott, Luis Firpo would not be faring any better than Sosnowski. Suddenly two big rights in the last :10 have Sosnowski staggered. A big solid Vitali right strikes clean while Sosnowski is pulling back. Then a big right catches the top left side of his head paralyze Sosnowski who is badly dazed. It reminds of Norton being paralyzed by Foreman.
Round ten: There is a hush in the crowd who sense the end is near. If they know it, then so must Vitali. Another solid left-right by Vitali again paralyze Sosnowski who slumps down in the corner, he is a beaten man as Nady correctly stops it. It was not a very difficult fight for Vitali but not easy either. Sosnowski was brave and tough and came fully prepared to do everything in his power to win the title. He just had the misfortune of meeting one of the best in history. After, Sosnowski shows total respect for the champion, tapping his glove on Vitali’s chest and glove, it’s a show if sincere sportsmanship which draws a big roar from the crowd.
So there we have witnessed another masterful performance by an all-time great champion, equal to many of the performances of Ali, Holmes, Lewis, Holyfield, Louis, etc. Some ignorant media critics may wrongly call this latest Vitali victory as boring, but if they do, then they should say the same thing about Dempsey vs. Tunney, Holmes vs. Snipes, Ali vs. Bugner, Holyfield vs. Moorer or Louis vs. Conn.
This wasn’t by any means boring, it was the co-best heavyweight champion of this era subduing another worthy challenger. Too bad America wasn’t able to see this remarkable historic athletic competition, as HBO, ESPN and Showtime opted to ignore it. Do you think the American public would rather see a real-life Ivan Drago defend his heavyweight title in front of 60,000 fans – or would they rather see Tim Bradley vs. Carlos Abregu or Paulie Malignaggi vs. Amir Khan? A spectacle or a glorified set-up club fight? And everyone wonders why and how boxing has slipped so far down the totem pole of professional sports entertainment…