by Johnny Walker
In an anticlimactic announcement today, it was confirmed that The Ring magazine recognized heavyweight champion of the world, Wladimir Klitschko (that’s as opposed to the Boxing Insider recognized heavyweight champion of the world, his brother and WBC champion Vitali Klitschko), is set to take on French challenger Jean Marc Mormeck in a title bout on December 10 in Düsseldorf, Germany.
The announcement is being greeted with yawns and skepticism, in this case probably justified.
When 6’8” Polish heavyweight Mariusz Wach knocked Kevin McBride cold with a spectacular right cross earlier this year, his name was being bandied about as Wladimir’s next opponent, to howls of derision from the Internet boxing mob. Maybe not coincidentally, Wach was then dropped from consideration by the Klitschko camp, which began courting Mormeck instead.
Yet when Wach blasted McBride (who had previously taken Tomasz Adamek the distance) out in four rounds, he had accomplished far more than Jean Marc Mormeck has done since becoming a heavyweight. An 8-round UD over Vinny Maddalone, and then two questionable wins against the perennially hard-luck Fres Oquendo and against Timur Ibragimov (this writer had Ibragimov winning the fight), all of these in his back yard in Paris, are what Mormeck is bringing to the table against one of the top two heavyweights in the world.
Perhaps the thinking in the Klitschko camp is that Mormeck is someone who the over-cautious member of the Klitschko clan can open up against. While Klitschko shut down ex WBA world heavyweight champion David Haye fairly easily, he left many of his own fans disappointed by not going on the attack more in the later rounds, when it was clear that Haye was no threat to him. Klitschko even later admitted being disappointed in himself for not doing so.
Mormeck seems tailor-made for a highlight reel knockout, and that is the only real danger, it seems, for Wladimir in this fight: the failure to deliver anything less than a spectacular beatdown of the 39-year-old Mormeck will leave him open to more criticism, and cause more observers to defect to his brother’s camp as far as who is the world’s premier heavyweight is concerned.
Klitschko and Mormeck are making all the right noises, of course: Wlad worries that “to underestimate [Mormeck] would be a fatal mistake,” while the Frenchman assures everyone that “I enjoy being the underdog in this fight and I will shock the boxing world!” But a cynic might say this is about a cash-out payday for Mormeck and about looking sensational for Wlad.
By the end of this one, however, it’s also a possibility that those people who were so opposed to Mariusz Wach facing Klitschko will be fondly daydreaming about the potential of that lost matchup.