by Charles Jay
In the convoluted world of professional boxing, there are “super” champions, “interim” champions and “regular” champions, and even fans of esoterica tend to get confused, frustrated and finally give up when challenged to arrange all of it in their mind.
But one guy who has earned his stripes- and his belts – in the ring of battle is Wladimir Klitschko, who holds a lot of titles. Let’s see….at the current time the younger Klitschko brother is the IBF heavyweight champion, the WBO champion, and the WBA “super” champion, in addition to holding Oscar De La Hoya / Golden Boy’s ersatz title belt. With big brother Vitali holding the WBC crown, he’s about as close to an undisputed champion as it can get these days (unless, of course, there’s a bit of a dispute at holiday family gatherings, which can tend to get ugly).
The WBA had ordered him to fight Alexander Povetkin, who wants his chance to be super-duper but for now has to settle for being that organization’s “regular” champion, having defeated Ruslan Chagaev in August 2011 as the title was vacant. He was last seen in action on September 29, stopping former heavyweight champion Hasim Rahman in two rounds.
The WBA, which likes to have as much control over its titles as possible to generate sanctioning fees (hey, everybody’s got to eat), will strip Wladimir if he doesn’t go through with this fight. It’s not that the guy wants to duck Povetkin, but he also wants to make an additional payday here and there, so he would like to take a fight with someone else in the interim. The target along those lines is Odlanier Solis, who represented Cuba and, in fact, won the gold, in the 2004 Olympics.
Wladimir, whose last fight was a decision against the gutsy but limited Mariusz Wach in November, will be allowed to do it, but only under one condition: he’s got to sign for a fight with Povetkin by February 28, or else they will take his hardware away. Is he worried about that? Who knows. But the schedule would basically go like this: a fight with Solis on April 6, then Povetkin sometime in July.
That sounds like a plan. Could Solis disrupt that plan?
Well, although he doesn’t always look in the best of shape, this Cuban (transplanted to Miami) is very talented; in fact, he might carry more raw tools into the fray than most of the opponents for either Klitschko brother in the last several years. Not that his professional resume is littered with contenders, but his amateur exploits were always well-known. he won three times at the World Amateur Championships, and twice at the Pan Am games, in addition to his Olympic win.
Solis’ only loss came at the hands of Vitali Klitschko – a first-round knockout in March 2011 when Solis suffered a knee injury after going down from a punch that admittedly was sharp enough to trigger a knockdown. Until the unfortunate ending, he looked like he might be capable of offering a little more resistance than most Klitschko foes.
After that defeat, he stayed out of action for fourteen months until finally returning with an uninspired 12-round decision over Konstantin Airich last May, capturing the IBF’s Inter-Continental heavyweight tile. A fight that had been scheduled against Tomasz Adamek last December fell through, with Steve Cunningham taking his place, as it turns out, in an NBC fight at the Sands Casino in Pennsylvania.