The fourth time will not be the charm for challenger Hasim Rahman as heavyweight champion Vitali Klitschko postponed their November 12 fight in Las Vegas due to a right knee injury suffered in a sparring session. Four times now, Klitschko has bowed out of his title defense due to injury. This time he knocked himself out by spraining his right knee in the eighth round of a scheduled 10-round sparring session last Thursday in a Los Angeles gym.
“I don’t want to go inside the ring with horrible pain. It is so painful. I hope as soon as possible I will fight again. I hope the problem is not so huge. But I am sorry for this. I don’t know what more I can say,” Klitschko said.
Bernd Bonte, Klitschko’s manager, explained what exactly happened. “In the eighth round, he twisted his knee and really hurt it. He was shaking his knee. He tried to go on. On his next step, the knee was completely instable. Then we spoke to Arum and told him we have a big problem.”
After spraining the knee, Klitschko was examined by an orthopedic surgeon and fitted with a brace that would still allow him to fight. But the brace didn’t hold up and Klitschko was done after one round of sparring.
“I was at the gym and he worked out with the new brace,” Arum said. When he went backward and made sudden movements, the knee buckled. It just didn’t work. We certainly tried to keep the fight on. He (Klitschko) was crushed a disappointed. He was devastated. But he can’t go into a fight where he can’t go backwards or side to side.”
According to Bonte, an MRI showed a torn meniscus in Klitschko’s right knee. And so Bob Arum may have even bigger problems than he imagined, realizing that his new goldmine might be out of action for longer than expected, thus further delaying the fight.
“He has to go see the doctor and we will evaluate things. I have no idea of the timetable.”
Let’s give Klitschko the benefit of the doubt and believe in the stories we’re hearing. Yet, it’s understandable to grow skeptical as to the severity of Klitschko’s injuries considering he’s now postponed his bout with Rahman for the fourth time. Despite his seemingly legitimate medical excuses, Klitschko will now be forever known as the heavyweight champion of postponement. Will we ever see Klitschko and Rahman face each other in the ring?
Maybe not considering the string of ailments inflicting Vitali Klitschko. His body seems to be failing him, and instead of embodying the invincibility of the heavyweight champion, his body’s acting more like a geriatrics patient. It doesn’t bode well for Klitschko’s future that his sprained knee was self-inflicted in sparring, and that this was the fourth consecutive injury he’s suffered in preparation for a fight. From Rahman’s perspective, Klitschko’s fourth postponement is not at all surprising, just terribly disappointing and a waste of his time.
“All year long he’s been ducking me,” Rahman said. “This doesn’t happen by happenstance. I’ve been more of a champion without the championship than he’s been with the championship and I’m the one acting like a champion.”
Rahman’s frustration finally bubbled over after explaining that he’d wasted a year of his life training to fight Klitschko. “There’s gonna be hell to pay for this. But I’m like a cat, I’m always going to land on my feet.”
This whole saga only adds to the circus atmosphere of today’s heavyweights. We were hoping and praying for an invigorating battle to help recharge this lackluster division, but instead must settle for looking forward to the fifth promotion of Klitschko-Rahman. I can’t wait.