Corrie Sanders may have his fair share of detractors, but the former WBO heavyweight world champion is still one of the quickest and most exciting punchers in heavyweight boxing, and he is looking to make this year his own.
Following his 8th round stoppage at the hands of WBC heavyweight king, Vitali Klitschko in April last year, Sanders took some time off to heal and to re-evaluate his future. Going into the Klitschko fight Sanders admittedly was not looking to stay in the game and was merely looking to pick up a few final paychecks before focusing his attention on the celebrity golf circuit. What the Klitschko fight did, however, was to give Sanders a wake up call. He suddenly realized that he was indeed a legitimate contender for the biggest title in the world, with the potential to go further than he had.
The self-defeating attitude of “it’s an honour just to be nominated”, which for some reason is ingrained in most South Africans, was discarded and the reborn boxer decided to jump back into the gym and prove once and for all that he can trade blows with the best the world has to offer. Under new management, Sanders returned to the ring on December 14th and blew away little known Russian heavyweight champion, Alexei Varakin (21-13-2 with12 KO’s) in two rounds. With his confidence restored against a boxer who by no means had any business being in the ring with him, Sanders can now look forward to clinching a fight against a worthier opponent and then, who knows, perhaps Klitschko–Sanders 2 x 2 could be on the cards.
It was, after all, Sanders who popped the Wladimir Klitschko bubble, and Sanders did manage to shake Vitali with his big left hand in April. Something Lennox Lewis couldn’t even do when he faced Vitali Klitschko. So, looking down the road past the Rahmans et al., Sanders could see himself back in the spotlight.
Perhaps his next warm-up should be against Danny Williams, or who was that other guy Williams beat last year? Golota-Sanders would be interesting. And Rahman-Sanders 1 was an entertaining affair, so if the WBC champ decides to get it on with someone else first, that could be an option for a later date.
So while we bide our time by matching former champs with former almost-rans and the like, let’s send a little prayer that somewhere out there is a real powerhouse heavyweight boxer just waiting to clean up the division and restore the championship aura to the sport.
Is there anybody out there?