DUSSELDORF – There is a strong probability that the ESPIRIT Arena here will have as many fans present this Saturday night for the Wladimir Klitschko – Eddie Chambers tilt as there were in Cowboys stadium last weekend for Pacquiao – Clottey.
And believe it or not, there is also a decent chance that the fans in Germany will see a better main event than those in Texas did. Despite many US observers who ridicule the Klitschkos, the comparison could be quite symbolic of the heavyweight division's slow but recently steady climb back to prominence.
It isn't stretching things too far to suggest that perhaps, just as boxing itself was incorrectly portrayed as a sport headed inexorably for Mike Tyson's Bolivia wasteland, the heavyweights had more life than reported.
Could booming exchanges flow along the Rhine more than they did in Rio Grande territory? Could Klitschko-Chambers actually eclipse Pacquiao-Clottey?
That's almost as absurd a possibility as Tyson getting a reality show about pigeons on Animal Planet.
HBO apparently figured the replay of Pacman-Clottey was a better bet than Klitschko-Chambers live, considering factors like production costs.
In Germany, just as women's boxing is a major attraction, so are the big boys, and recently across the region there have been many solid scraps between fighters who may never be true title contenders, but who can still provide some bang for the euro.
Klitschko-Chambers was a hot enough ticket that a large scale advertising campaign was minimal. The box office was busy through word of mouth alone. If ESPIRIT isn't full on Saturday evening, it will be very close.
As the soused season of Karneval came to pass in a blur last month, so did prime time availability to secure decent tickets for the scrap now coming up in just a few days. Most of the choice floor seats, VIP passes, and good first tier tickets were gone within a week of going on sale in February.
With around 72 hours before first bell, there were a handful (around twenty) of just released ringside seats going for the equivalent of around 850 US bucks. Other than that, all that remained were a few hundred spots along the top of the arena going for about thirty to sixty dollars. On my patrols in the upper levels at Klitschko fights, including a stadium holding 10,000 more than Pacquiao – Clottey, nobody was acting unhappy.
By cost effective standards in many zones of my limited European Union exposure, Klitschko VIP ticket scenes are one of the best sport bargains in this region of the punching planet, with extraordinary food, drink, beautiful people and famous Eurozone entertainers.
Klitschko may never be outrageously renown or fully accepted fully in the USA, but over here he's recognized as a top quality personality. Considering that great beers and brats will be widely available at a fraction of US stadium prices, its pretty much guaranteed that most of the fans will go home happy Saturday night, even if Chambers upsets the local favorite.
Whatever the haters may say, if Klitschko can continue his reign for another three or four fights, or approximately two more years, like it or not he'd be a very legitimate candidate for the Hall of Fame. If Vitali could accomplish the same, he'd qualify just as much.
If the brothers K could each notch big wins over two or three respected opponents, meaning fighters like Alexander Povetkin, David Haye, Odlainer Solis or Denis Boytsov, it would be hard to deny the K2 Dynasty.
Can someone in The TSS Universe document brother pairs to have each achieved comparable status? The names Spinks, Baer, and Marquez come to mind, but not many others in many decades. The Klitschkos are approaching rare rubling air among the highest profile brothers ever to achieve quite a feat. I've seen posts predicting that both the Spinks and Baer Bros would cream their European counterparts on the heavyweight ladder. Excepting the very exceptional Michael Spinks, I'd wager with the Kboys.
Back to the business of Saturday night. The biggest shock to my little corner of the scene would be if an American challenger showed up without using the “shock the world” cliche. Unless the folks at Goosen-Tudor come up with some new lines, we can expect pretty the same business as usual until the boxers head to their corners.
The scenarios during prefight buildups for the half dozen Klitschko shows I've seen have been almost identical. High class, with a more corporate feel than most US promotions, but also with less facades.
Unfortunately, the fights themselves have also followed their own repetitive pattern of “grind' em down and put 'em away,” However that translates to German, it translates to a winning, if unspectacular tradition.
It seems most likely that Chambers will find himself in roughly the same situation as Ruslan Chagaev and Hasim Rahman did during Klitschko's latest defenses. Sitting on the end of a jab that is getting harder and landing more, seemingly from farther away. The key question to any Klitschko fight is what the challenger does about it.
These days, they all wilt.
The feeling here is that Chambers will fight back more than anyone has in years, and try to establish the type of constant pressure attack that worked so well for Lamon Brewster the first time around. Chambers doesn't have the one shot power Brewster carried back then, but he does have better movement and combinations.
Odds against Chambers at over five to one are too high. Hey, he's based in Philadelphia. Two or three to one is more like it.
I for one won't be shocked if Chambers does well Saturday night, but I also think Klitschko is a class act and getting closer to even more significant acclaim and recognition.
Can Klitschko produce a more noteworthy performance than Pacquiao did within seven days of each other when both champions were very near their respective peaks?
On an even farther out limb, how about Klitschko-Pacquiao in a global charity event at a catch weight of 215?
Yes indeed, the sky could be the limit for the heavyweights soon. In another month, David Haye and John Ruiz attempt to light their own fireworks, just a time zone away. Around London, Haye's fight is bigger news than Pacquiao's or Mayweather's.
That isn't meant as any slight toward the iconic Pacman or any other fighter in the lighter weights, its only to say that maybe the heavyweights are finally stepping out of the smaller shadows.
This time last year, that was a crazy thought. Some will say it still is.
Saturday will say different.