Corrie Sanders: Is He Really All That ?

BY Frank Lotierzo ON April 21, 2004
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This coming Saturday night former WBO Heavyweight Champion Corrie Sanders fights top ranked contender Vitali Klitschko. This fight is for the WBC title recently left vacant by the retirement of former champ Lennox Lewis. This fight was made basically because of the two strong showings both fighters had in their last outing.

In March of 2003 Sanders, a southpaw stopped Wladimir Klitschko in two rounds to win his WBO Heavyweight title, which is currently held by Lamon Brewster. Klitschko also has been impressive in his last couple fights. In June he gave former champ Lennox Lewis nine kinds of hell before the fight was halted in between the sixth and seventh rounds due to a severely cut left eye. At the time of the stoppage, Vitali was up slightly in the scoring. Six month's later Klitschko stopped top contender Kirk Johnson in two rounds cementing his top contender status.

As it stands right now Vitali Klitschko is the man many believe has the best chance to possibly seize the Heavyweight division. His opponent Corrie Sanders is somewhat of an enigma. He is a southpaw who is known for being a decent boxer with good hand speed and power. Some have inferred that the winner of the Klitschko-Sanders WBC title clash will be perceived as the lineal Champion. If it's Klitschko, I can see why. He is the fighter who probably comes closest to meeting the prerequisite for what fans look for in the Heavyweight Champion. Klitschko is big and strong, he can hit and has a very good chin. On top of that 10 months ago he gave the World's top Heavyweight all he wanted and then some. So basically Klitschko has shown that he is capable of fighting with today's Heavyweight elite.

What if Sanders wins? Corrie has been getting major props as of late regarding his status as one of the World's top Heavyweights. This comes mainly from his two round destruction of Wladimir Klitschko 13 months ago. However, I wonder if he is fully deserving of all this high praise he has been showered with? My question is, outside of Wladimir Klitschko, what has he really done to warrant this standing? And now looking back at Wladimir, that win has to be somewhat re-evaluated. Yes it was impressive, but Klitschko's questionable chin must be considered. Again, not taking anything away from Sanders, but who else has he defeated warranting so much adulation?

Sanders has achieved a rep as being this terrific puncher, but going off of his record this can very easily be questioned. Does knocking out the likes of Johnny DuPlooy, Art Card, a shot Bert Cooper and Levi Billups qualify him as Tua or Tyson? Lets not forget that fat Nate Tubbs did stop him and Mike Dixon, Mike Evans, and Ross Puritty stood up to his best and only lost a decision.

In his biggest and most high profile bout prior to fighting Wladimir Klitschko, he was stopped by Hasim Rahman in May of 2000. In the fight with Rahman, Sanders was taking it to Rahman and beating him from pillar to post. That was until he ran out of gas and was stopped. Stamina and endurance are a problem for Sanders. On top of that he doesn't fight the full round and only fights in spurts. Granted, he is like most punchers, very dangerous early. But once a fighter can make it through the early onslaught, they seem to do much better and make it to the decision when facing him.

Corrie Sanders no doubt can hit, but I don't think he is Tua or Tyson. His hands are pretty quick and he's a fairly good boxer. He deserves to be where he is, fighting for what's being called the linear Heavyweight title. It's just that I don't think he is quite the destroyer that the media and some fans have built him up as being. However, if he goes on to stop Vitali Klitschko, than all the praise he'll be garnered with is well earned and justified.

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