THROUGHOUT the world of boxing’s long and colourful history, dozens of heavyweight fighters have made fans and experts alike marvel at their skill and power.
These men became household names and true larger than life characters such as “Smokin” Joe Frazier and George Foreman in the Golden Era of the 1970’s to the epic battles between “Iron” Mike Tyson, Evander Holyfield and Lennox Lewis and of course the one and only, Muhammad Ali.
However, heavyweight boxing in the 21st century is a far cry from the glory days of yesteryear.
The division is dominated by two of the most decorated and successful fighters that boxing has ever seen. They are often simply referred to as “The Klitschko’s”, with the implication being that heavyweight champions Wladimir and Vitali are clones of each other, that they fight the same way and have the same attitude in the ring.
In actual fact, nothing could be further from the truth. IBF, WBO & WBA Super Champion, Wladimir Klitschko has become a disciplined technician, enjoying the process of breaking down his opponent until he either slumps over from exhaustion or is otherwise unable to defend himself.
WBC Heavyweight Champion, Vitali Klitschko, on the other hand has more of a gunslinger’s mentality, fighting with his hands held low, inviting his opponent to take his best shot.
Wladimir has shown to be mindful of protecting his allegedly fragile chin, having been sent to the floor by Corrie Sanders earlier in his career. Vitali, however, couldn’t care less – hit him hard, and he’ll hit you back harder.
Their dominance has divided opinion amongst boxing fans, with some claiming that they are just too good to beat but many arguing that they have led to the downfall of heavyweight boxing and that many of their fights are just plain boring.
Both Klitschkos will again be fighting in their adopted homeland of Germany as on February 18th, Vitali will face England’s Dereck Chisora (a man coming off a loss to Robert Helenius) in the Olympiahalle in Munich and on March 3 Wladimir will step into the ring to defend his belts against Jean Marc Mormeck in the Espirit Arena in Dusseldorf.
It has gotten to the point where all the brothers are searching for is an opponent that can at least put up a competitive fight, simple as that. While many think that “Del Boy” Chisora at least has a shot at causing Vitali some trouble, almost everyone outside his immediate family figures that Mormeck is totally overmatched against Wladimir Klitschko.
Former cruiserweight champion Mormeck entered the heavyweight division in 2007 and in his first fight in November of that year, he knocked down Britain’s last heavyweight hero (or villain) David Haye in round four. This was pretty much the highlight of Mormeck’s career up until now. He went on to be TKO’d by Haye in the 7th round of the fight.
Despite the supposed dire state of the heavyweight division, there are certainly new contenders out there that could easily outclass fighters like Mormeck.
Britain’s own Tyson Fury is now seen as the new face of British heavyweight boxing and after recently vacating his British and Commonwealth titles, which suggests that a World title shot with one of the Klitschko’s or WBA World Champion, Alexander Povetkin could be on the cards.
However, by vacating his belts, Fury has shunned a proposed fight with unbeaten Liverpudlian giant, David Price, after he beat John McDermott in 90 seconds to claim the vacant English Heavyweight Title. Price and his manager Frank Maloney were livid at Fury’s decision to surrender his titles, calling him a coward and stating that he has robbed the British fans.
In the wake of the Klitschko’s most recent performances, many people (including myself) would rank 40-year old Vitali over his younger brother as the world’s top heavyweight. Wladimir’s fight with Mormeck is actually more crucial than you would think, with it being perceived that he has taken the easy route with Mormeck. He desperately needs to make a statement by showing his class and showing that he isnt simply accepting fights with washed-up journeyman. The pressure here is immense.
Vitali’s last fight was against highly-rated Polish warrior, Tomasz Adamek, who put up a decent fight until the 8th round but Vitali put on a solid and polished performance. Vitali is under pressure also, as his age will certainly play a part in his next few fights. Every time he steps in the ring, he has alot to lose.
Not only is his World title on the line but his knockout percentage and his winning streak that has lasted since 2003 are up for grabs too. A loss to Chisora would undoubtebly be very bad for Vitali but his entertaining and youthful opponent is the kind of fighter who is good for boxing, so it would be seen as a passing of the torch, the natural order of things taking place, should Vitali fall to the Londoner.