This coming July 4th in Hamburg Germany, 27 year-old “Fast” Eddie Chambers 34-1 (18 KOs) will fight 26 year old Alexander Dimitrenko 29-0 (19 KOs) in a WBO heavyweight title elimination bout. Currently, Wladimir Klitschko is the reigning WBO champ — and will likely remain so after his upcoming June 20th defense against David Haye, also taking place in Germany.
The Chambers-Dimitrenko bout is a rarity today in the heavyweight division, being that both participants are under 30 years old — actually slightly past their mid-twenties. Along with that they're both willing to risk smearing the mascara on their glowing records in agreeing to face each other. Originally, Dimitrenko was supposed to fight Alexander Povetkin 17-0 (12 KOs), the WBO's fourth ranked contender. Chambers, to his credit, has already fought Povetkin and lost a unanimous decision to him despite getting out to an early lead in the fight.
Obviously, Chambers and Dimitrenko will be applauded numerous times for fighting each other as the fight nears. Which will be code for giving boxing fans something they seldom get, and that's seeing two top contenders signing for real fights instead of set-ups. What a different boxing world it is today. In 1973 Jerry Quarry beat undefeated Ron Lyle and the twice beaten Earnie Shavers, just for the privilege to meet Joe Frazier in an elimination bout to meet the winner of the Foreman-Ali heavyweight title fight in late 1974. That's a version of boxing’s murderers row. Having to fight and beat Lyle and Shavers (while they were close to their peak) just to fight Frazier for a shot at the title held by the Foreman vs. Ali winner!
Based on their age and records the Chambers-Dimitrenko bout looks promising, but in the ring it's a different story. The reality is the style matchup between them could very well dictate a fight that's going to be hard on the eyes. In the main it looks as if the quicker and perceived better boxer, Chambers, should be able to out-box and maneuver the bigger and more powerful Dimitrenko. Maybe. However, I'm not envisioning an action packed fight with a lot of excitement and wouldn't mind a bit if I'm wrong.
The 6'7″ Dimitrenko works from behind his long left jab and only opens up when his opponent moves to him or crowds him on the ropes. And he follows boxing 101 in that he hardly ever throws his right hand unless his jab lands. Conversely, the 6'1″ Chambers likes to establish his jab and quick hands, throwing basic one-twos. Amazingly, every weakness and void in Dimitrenko's style, Chambers won't be able to take advantage of because of his style.
When confronted by an opponent who attempts to move Dimitrenko back with their jab, he'll usually allow them to do so. However, sometimes his moving back is just to set his opponent up for a big left-hook to the body. If Chambers attempts to push Dimitrenko back and is met with a few hard left-hooks to his body, somehow I get the feeling he'll cease attacking. Pushing the fight is not who Chambers is, but Dimitrenko is pretty coy in the way he goes about setting up his hook up top and downstairs. It'll be interesting to see how Chambers handles that tactic.
Dimitrenko can be manhandled and moved around the ring, but once again that's not who Chambers is nor is he fighting from his strength in attempting to be physical. If Chambers isn't busy against a fighter like Dimitrenko, who will let his hands go and try to get inside, he'll find himself trying to fight Dimitrenko off him instead of beating him up. Inside, Alexander mixes his left-hook to the head and body, and when he feels his feet set and is on balance, he'll come up with his right upper-cut. Not only is Dimitrenko the better inside fighter, he has the more sophisticated offense and punch variation from outside.
Chambers is faster and throws punches in flurries, but his advantage is his physical skill-set, as opposed to Dimitrenko, who has the better foundation and structure. Chambers is clearly the sharper puncher and Dimitrenko is the bigger puncher. In this one it's imperative for Chambers to be the busier puncher! I've heard it said Chambers is the slicker fighter, but in my opinion that doesn't apply to either. I think it's better stated saying it this way–Chambers is flashier.
In order for Chambers to pull this fight out, he's going to have to show Dimitrenko some new things and add to his game. If he's the same fighter who fought Alexander Povetkin and Samuel Peter, he'll lose. His tendency to fight without a sense of urgency and give rounds away will be crucial in this fight. Dimitrenko is the type fighter who tries to get a read on his opponent and gauge their confidence. If he senses a mental or physical leak, he'll raise his game and attempt to bust it open. On the other hand, if his opponent is assertive and punches back, he'll fight more measured.
Although I've made a strong case for Dimitrenko, this is a winnable fight for Chambers. In today's heavyweight division, they practically all are with the absence of a single great heavyweight. Fast “Eddie” better be fast and show Alexander some angles. He'll need to fight in spurts and always be a step ahead of Dimitrenko. When Alexander is waiting on him, he's got to go, and then get out. When he sees him getting ready to step to him or get off, Chambers has to move his feet, but not get too far away where he can't score himself. He has to keep in my mind if he avoids a fight, Dimitrenko will fight just hard enough to win it. Basically, Chambers has to box when Dimitrenko attempts to fight, and beat him to the punch and stay a step ahead when Dimitrenko wants to pick his spots and box.
Lastly, Chambers needs to make Dimitrenko aware that he does more than just pot-shot with one-twos and actually has a left-hook, something he'll have to make use of when Dimitrenko tries to crowd him. It's also imperative that Chambers attacks Dimitrenko low and underneath, because he'll get his head handed to him if he remains straight up and reaches for him.
I applaud Eddie Chambers and Alexander Dimitrenko for doing what professional fighters are supposed to do — fight the best fighters available. I just hope they give us a good fight on July 4th, 2009.