So What Ails Wladimir Klitschko?

BY Joey Knish ON August 31, 2004
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The last time boxing fans heard from Wladimir ‘the other’ Klitschko he was gasping for breath, and shortly after began grasping at straws. After dominating Lamon Brewster for most of the fifteen minutes of their April 10th heavyweight bout, Klitschko was gassed, winded, out of breath, wheezing like a lifetime chain smoker that had just enjoyed his pull on the cancer stick. What followed was a series of maneuvers that added up to nothing more than feeble grasps at straws.

“Stop the fights!” he shouted. “There shall be no more boxing until it is discovered why I collapsed and lost to this nobleman they call Lamon Brewster. And, until that time, there shall be no movement in the heavyweight rankings as I retain my #1 spot.”

Fortunately nobody listened, and the boxing world turned.

Nearly seven months later nothing is changed, but Wladimir will lug his body back to the scene of the crime and test his mettle once more. Twice he has failed and, although the German-based Kazakhstan-born good Doctor from the ‘burbs of Semipalatinsk may not be versed in the American pastime of baseball, his third strike may be his last.

A two-time loser without actually getting beat, the 6’ 7” behemoth has now punched himself out of two fights. Way back in 1998 the undefeated Klitschko had his corner stop the fight against to ‘Poster Boy for Journeymen’ Ross Purity (not his official nickname). In that bout Wladimir needed to lug his huge frame around the ring for less than 6 more minutes to win and remain undefeated. He chose not to.

The second strike was against Brewster as Wladimir threw everything at Brewster, including the kitchen sink, and knocked the Los Angeles-based heavyweight down in the fourth. Unfortunately for Klitschko, Brewster got up, and things went downhill from there. Without being hit by a knockout punch, Wladimir was TKO’d either by a body too big, a heart too small, or a medical malady that the world’s best medical minds couldn’t give a name to.

On his resume a third loss appears the old-fashioned way – he earned it. South African southpaw Corrie Sanders shook, rattled, and rolled Klitschko out of the ring in front of his own Hanover, Germany fans. Darn it anyway if Wladimir couldn’t figure out that the left-handed Sanders was throwing straight lefts down the pipe as opposed to the orthodox rights he was accustomed to seeing. Two rounds were simply not enough for Dr. Klitschko to figure his opponent out and as he picked himself off the canvas for the fourth time, Sanders walked out of the ring with the WBO Heavyweight title belt. At least we can credit Wladimir for earning that loss.

So now what? No revelations arose as to why Wladimir Klitschko couldn’t finish two of his fights despite previously having gone 12 full heats with Chris Byrd in October 2000. The #1 WBO ranking is a memory and his brother reigns as the consensus Heavyweight Champion of the day.

If there is a road back for Mad Wlad it begins October 2nd in Las Vegas against NABF Champ DaVarryl Williamson and won’t be a stroll in the park. The secret is out – take Wladimir deep into the fight and your odds greatly improve. Williamson gives it good but doesn’t take it quite as well, a trait that Klitschko may also possess. ‘Touch of Sleep’ Williamson has knocked out the opposition in 17 of 20 wins, but conveniently has been dropped for the count in both of his professional losses.

Wladimir Klitschko lost to Lamon Brewster after being KO’d by exhaustion and despite not being cured of whatever medically ails him, will step back into the ring next month.  Hopefully on October 2nd the boxer’s hand raised at the end of the fight is in reward for his ability to box, and not just his ability to stand upright.

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