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Byrd-Klitschko Post-Fight Analysis

BY Michael Olajide ON April 23, 2006
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Rematches like this are always cool because you feel like you can truly measure the abilities of a fighter. Where they were and where they are going. Generally they have either slipped or stayed in the same place. (Ain’t it funny how they rarely improve once they get to top contended status?) At quick glance it seems both fighters’ abilities have been eroded by experience, Byrd by being more stationary and Klitschko’s wilting under the heat… But on closer inspection, Klitschko is not the same as he was. “Whenever a puncher loses the air of invincibility, even the non-punchers get brave.” So even though Wlad beat Chris from pillar to ring post the first time, this ain’t necessarily Bill Murray’s “groundhog day.” And in boxing, nothing is guaranteed.

The thought crosses my mind that whether Byrd can punch or not, if his opponent flinches whenever he is going to punch, he is being effective. I mean, why flinch if he doesn’t hit hard? Maybe the flinch is an “acquired instinct”… after being hit hard, a fist coming at you is a fist coming at you no matter what… interesting phenomenon, don’t you think? I mean, why would a 6’7 Jameel McCline hesitate from getting on Byrd? Whereas Ike Ibeabuchi just took it to him? Ah, the mind of a fighter.

Wlad’s entrance… ummm, boring… Chris’s… ummmm, boring ER. Neither one like Mike Tyson’s “Welcome to the Terrordome” entrance vs. Alex Stewart. But for the aforementioned reason this fight still interests me.

For years people have been on Byrd’s case, saying how he is the least desirable of the heavyweights to watch fight, wish he would get knocked out, blasé, blasé, so on and so forth. I looked at it differently. I thought it interesting that he could function in the heavyweight world. Kinda like those guys that can lay down in a bed of snakes and dude doesn’t get strangled or bit… wouldn’t do it myself, but more power to ya, guy! Give him credit, this man has got some bolas…

These thoughts come into my mind… The strangeness of hearing the US national anthem by violin… The grit is gone… it is so NOT the United States I know... Not as entertaining but more talented than Rosanne Barr’s rendition, I guess.

Don’t know Klitschko, but from meeting Chris, I like him.

How many languages does Buffer speak?

Wlad, on first glance looks big, but soft, not as chiseled as before… maybe it’s cuz I don’t have the Hi-Def TV? Why do heavyweights never come out warmed up? No sweat. I think Emmanuel is going to send him out BOMBING… Like he did Lewis vs. Golota. Byrd looks good physically.

Round 1
Byrd pressing the fight. Byrd with left to the body. A jab or two by Klitschko. Klitschko doesn’t let his hands go. Byrd’s left to the body is like trying to sink the Bismarck with a peashooter, but it is a scoring blow. Byrd’s round.

Round 2
Klitschko’s round behind a couple good rights, but, gee… MAN UP! He may be doing the right thing, but something about him flinching and grabbing against a much smaller opponent boggles me. Kinda like when I saw Hagler moving and trying to box laterally and in reverse against Duran… it didn’t make sense.

Round 3
If Byrd can keep Klitschko flexed, he can win this fight but Wlad is letting his hands go more, plus he is jousting with his left. Not letting Chris get close, Wlad round

Round 4
Chris got hurt with a right. Getting picked apart from the outside. Chris don’t know how to counter. Merchant can’t understand why the ref is on Klitschko about holding… it isn’t that it’s wrong for a fighter to hold, I think it is weird seeing someone with considered physical advantages holding a smaller less powerful man. And I am sure the ref and even his fans thought the same thing. Nonetheless, Wlad’s round.

Round 5
BAM, Chris hits the deck from a huge right hand… caught a beating all the way through the round. Didn’t know what he got hit with. Interesting to hear the corner conversation… but they didn’t stay with it, UNFORTUNATELY. Klitschko’s round

Round 6
Chris got no answer for the straight right. Klitschko, getting braver. Byrd gotta fade left and come with the right hook to hit this guy. Klitschko ain’t the only one on Byrd’s back, now it’s wifey… But throwing inside shots when a 6’6, 240-pound man is laying on your back ain’t easy Tracy, sorry. Besides, right now she’s spouting words of advice to ease herself, she thinks it’s helping Chris, but it ain’t. “Get under his right and come with the straight left” is good advice. “You’re fighting stupid”… well, maybe that’s code communication for something else. Klitschko round. Just busier.

Round 7
Ugh, Byrd nailed with UGLY shots. The type of shots that “repeat themselves,” especially when you sitting on the couch watching the grandchildren play… And DOWN again! The fight is stopped! Klitschko used his ability as a big man to throw any kinda punch and took Chris’s title. Say whatever about him, but Klitschko does have great ability to move the hands with accuracy, power and speed… Chris’s plan was to beat this guy by pressing him and waiting for him to get tired. But Wlad is like Tommy Hearns, he don’t get tired unless you bring the heat followed by lefts and rights, otherwise you will catch a beat-down as long as your motor skills don’t run out of gas.

“Whenever a puncher loses the air of invincibility, even the non-punchers get brave.” And so there was Byrd’s undoing. He convinced himself that he could actually walk through a 240-pound man’s punches and do what he has never done before, at least as a heavyweight… knock his man out. What was it that made Chris fight that kinda fight? Instead of focusing on his own strengths, he focused on Klitschko weakness… He neglected his own abilities and got the “sickness.” He got the curse of the puncher and he isn’t and never was a puncher. That is an anomaly… beyond the realm of comprehension… Man, it takes me back to Mancini and Art Frias…. Double digit wins, single digit KO’s, and he comes out like a house on fire… he surprised “Boom-Boom” initially, but nature got back to normalcy pretty quick.

HBO says Klitchsko’s the best of the heavyweights… And I don’t completely disagree… But there is still a matter of Rahman, whom I believe has the goods to give Klitschko some unfortunate flashbacks… James Toney; I would pay money to see that one (Revenge of the Former Middleweights) and even Lamon Brewster… That win was no fluke, he took Wlad’s heart in that fight, does he still have it? Writing Lamon off now is like writing Wlad off after the Brewster fight. Now look, he’s back on top. Klitschko definitely has some questions to answer and unanswered questions always create great drama.

Klitchsko’s biggest advantage this night? Emmanuel Stewart. The man is smart. Was this a great fight? No, and if that were someone’s initiation to boxing it must look like some warped slaughter… 6’1, 210-pound American vs. a 6’6, 240-pound eastern European built like Zeus (adrenaline does some amazing things) in the middle of Germany. From that performance I can see why the AMA has always called for the abolishment of boxing. But we are adults and make our own decisions. Saturday night, Byrd made the worst decision of his boxing life.

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