Wladimir Klitschko was hailed by just about everyone in the boxing business as the heir apparent to Lennox Lewis. Well, after getting sent to the canvas four times in less than four minutes by Corrie Sanders, I guess it was really an error in judgement.
Klitschko's promoters at Universum and HBO- which had just inked the hulking Ukrainian to a nine-fight deal- were hyping him as boxing's next superstar. And even those who don't have any real financial stake in him were signing his praises and forecasting a bright future. 'the Ring' magazine, recently put out a special issue that had a grinning Klitschko on the cover with the title cover,' Ali… Leonard…. Tyson… Klitschko?' I don't think that question needs to be asked anymore.
Now, that isn't to say that Klitschko can't rebound to have a very productive and lucrative career, because the bottom line is that the heavyweight division right now is filled with 'has been's and 'never were's and just take a look at the career path of Lewis, himself. Like Wladimir, Lennox, has impressive physical tools and a big right hand- but a suspect chin. Lewis, has comeback from not one, but two, disastrous knockout losses to Oliver McCall and Hasim Rahman, to have a Hall-of-Fame career.
And to Lewis' credit, he avenged both of his losses, what's interesting to me is that Klitschko never got around to fighting Ross Purrity, who handed him his first professional defeat back in 1997. In fact, he had his brother, Vitaly, do the dirty work for him. And when Vitaly, would quit-aly against Chris Byrd, it was big Wlad, who went Byrd hunting and avenged that loss. After this most recent Klitschko family setback, it was Vitaly who caused a stir by going up to the victorious Sanders and proclaiming that the WBO belt would soon be coming back to his family. I've heard of brotherly love, but this is ridiculous.
Wladimir, has made it crystal clear that he would like an immediate rematch with Sanders and with the cozy relationship his promoter Peter Kohl and WBO president Paco Valcarcel have, making the rematch should be a mere formality. If Wladimir gains revenge on the southpaw South African and then proceeds to mow down a few more name brand big men, all will be quickly forgotten. If he loses, well, his days as a blue-chip, world-class heavyweight our over. He will be gone and long remembered as another straight up and stiff European who didn't quite have it.
It never fails, everytime a high-profile fighter or young prospect gets upset, you get a slew of emails from fans saying, ' I told ya so' or ' I knew it all along' Yes, hindsight is 20-20 and boxing fans can predict fights- a day after they occur- like Nostradamus.
I'm not here to gloat or pat myself on the back, well, maybe juuuust a lil' bit, but this is what I said in January 2002 edition of 'the Ring' where 20 supposed experts gave their thoughts and forecasts on Wladimir Klitschko.
” Klitschko has the ability to make some noise but I'm not really a believer in the Klitschko's. Both Klitschko brothers have shown they're both frontrunners. As for Wlad, I wonder what would really happen if someone got within his reach and up in his chest. To a large degree, both Klitschko brothers have been protected by some of the guys they've fought in Europe. They're also stiff and mechanical, like Herman Munster.”
Hey, even a blind squirrel can get an acorn once in awhile, I guess.
I guess world-class trainer Emanuel Steward see's the end of the road with Lennox Lewis, as he has agreed to train a pair of young and flawed jr. welterweights in Ricardo Williams and Hector Camacho Jr.
I can see him working with Williams, who has a lackadaisical approach to working out but will never shy away from a real fight once you get him inside the ring. As for 'Not-so-Macho' Camacho, this one leaves me shaking my head. Junior, simply doesn't have the required work ethic, desire, discipline and plain old toughness and grit to succeed in this sport.
We got an inkling of that when he found a way out against Jesse James Leija and his 'performance' against Omar Weis last March should have erased all doubt about this guys gumption.
Don't count on a rubber match between Arturo Gatti and Micky Ward. According to one of my sources, Main Events which promotes Gatti, is only offering Ward about a third of the total money and Ward has made it clear to his management that he will not be accepting those terms.
So now it looks like Main Events, with HBO's blessing, will look at a rematch with Angel Manfredy, who beat Gatti in 1998 in an entertaining slugfest.
Just my opinion, but I think Gatti-Manfredy II is a physical mismatch that favors Gatti at 140 pounds.
The much embattled IBF took another backward step when they fired Joe Dwyer who was head of their championship committee and their rankings. 'Officer' Joe was as honest and upfront as they come in the sport and gave much needed credibility to the IBF the past few years.
So why was he let go by this organization? It seemed like he had this real disturbing habit of actually playing and abiding by the rules and not bending them when it was convenient.
The nerve of this guy. Didn't he know any better?