This past Monday former cruiserweight title holder Jean-Marc Mormeck 36-4 (22) said something on the order of, one hard blow will be enough to beat multiple heavyweight title belt holder Wladimir Klitschko 56-3 (49) this coming December 10th. Keep in mind this is coming from a fighter who wasn't a terrifically big punching cruiserweight, and is worse as a heavyweight.
Mormeck continued, "I want his belts. If I want to get them, I'll have to smash his face. I've seen all his opponents, and when they get in the ring, I have the impression that they don't do what they need to do. They don't move forward. They don't take any risk.''
Mormeck has come out of nowhere and is providing great copy for what many believe will be a fight that's tremendously one-sided and devoid of action and drama. His words echo what many believe is part and parcel as to what it'll take to beat Wladimir Klitschko. No doubt the fighter who next beats Wladimir will have to take risk because if we know nothing else, we know Wladimir won't press the action without trepidation. However, saying it and then committing to that strategy once the bell rings under the bright lights with everything on the line are night and day different. It goes back to the old adage about fighters with a plan, something they all bring into the ring with them. But once they're in front of each other and they feel the presence of one another one of them usually assumes the role of the alpha.
For years Muhammad Ali's opponents insisted they were going to cut off the ring and force him to the ropes and make him fight. Only one fighter accomplished that when Ali was at or near his prime, "Smokin" Joe Frazier. Speaking of Frazier, how many of Joe's opponents said before the fight how they weren't going to stand there and trade with him? Instead, they were going to use the ring and box him, something that suddenly changed once Frazier was cutting the ring off as he was banging them to the head and body, forcing them against the ropes or into a corner with them having to fight him off. So much for boxing him. Fight plans are only as good the fighter trying to implement it.
''He has lost three fights and each time he lost them without going the distance,'' Mormeck said. ''He couldn't recover each time he got hit. That means he doesn't take those hits well.''
Mormeck's above statement has a lot of truth to it. But the point is, can he get to Wladimir's chin, and even more importantly, is he tough enough or man enough to even try to? Granted, Klitschko has only gotten off the canvas in two fights (DaVarryl Williamson and Samuel Peter I) that he won. Then again Mormeck couldn't keep Klitschko's last opponent, David Haye, down after dropping him in their title bout in 2007. And say what you will about Wladimir's chin, but he's never been stopped by one punch. And Mormeck is no life-taker with one shot. If he was, how'd Haye get off the canvas and stop him?
On top of Mormeck not being able to finish Haye, he's 39 years old, only fought three times as a full fledged heavyweight and he's a shade under 5'11. Oh sure, he's being trained by former Mike Tyson trainer Kevin Rooney, something that'll make for good pre-fight theatrics and interviews, but will have zero bearing on the outcome. It's not like even moderately sophisticated boxing fans don't know that Mike Tyson made Kevin Rooney, not the opposite. Sure, Kevin helped keep Mike somewhat disciplined circa 1986-88, but he had nothing to do with Mike's once in a generation skill-set and power.
Wladimir Klitschko is a nightmare for short swarmers because of his reach and power. Add to that Emanuel Steward has been a blessing for him and taught him how to use his size and reach and how to fight big. So getting to him would be a real task even for upper-tier swarmers like Joe Frazier, Mike Tyson and David Tua. In all honesty, how many heavyweights under six-feet tall would you bet on from the past 40 years to beat Wladimir Klitschko? I just named three, and if there's a fourth name to add to the list, I'm drawing a blank. And it's definitely not Mormeck.
It's hard to get excited about Klitschko-Mormeck. In fact, this is a fight that Wladimir Klitschko will rightly be excoriated for taking. It's these kind of match-ups that leave him open for criticism about the level of the opposition he's faced. Obviously the current heavyweight division is very pedestrian, but he could find a bigger challenge than Mormeck. And if someone tries to make the excuse it's a mandatory bout for one of the heavyweight title belts Wladimir owns, that's a joke. The Klitschkos don't take their marching orders from anyone within the boxing establishment.
As for Mormeck's chances against Klitschko. Does Jean Mormeck cut the ring off and apply constant pressure like Joe Frazier did, of course not. Does he posses the hand speed that Mike Tyson did? Not even in his dreams. Nor does he have the single shot knockout power that David Tua carried during his prime. And if you're not blinded by bias, Frazier, Tyson and Tua wouldn't just blitz through Klitschko when they were at or near their best. Certainly they'd be favored and I for one would pick all three to beat him, but it's not like I'd be sitting there as calm as I'd be if I were watching a movie had I placed a meaningful amount of money on them on fight night.
Mormeck at 39 is nowhere close to being in the same stratosphere as a fighter/swarmer as Frazier, Tyson or Tua. I can't see him even competing against Klitschko. In all reality, I'd be pleasantly surprised if he just threw hard at Klitschko and tried to take his head off from the opening bell. If he just did that and got knocked out in the first round, I'd gain a ton of respect for him. When all is said and done, Klitschko is fighting Mormeck because Jean-Marc has a big following in France. That's the long and short of it.
On a separate issue, the Klitschkos have never fought tough guys. I don't mean tough boxers, I'm talking about hard characters. The closest they've come is Corrie Sanders, who was more of a 'I just don't give a s--t" kind of guy. I'm not suggesting that some witless thug could handle the brothers. But a marginally talented opponent with a serious chip on his shoulder might do very well, especially against Wladimir. Is Jean Mormeck that guy?
Frank Lotierzo can be contacted at GlovedFist@Gmail.com