I do think Emanuel Steward has finally gotten to Wladimir Klitchko. He threw with nasty intent against Jean-Marc Mormeck from the Esprit Arena in Dusseldorf, Germany on Saturday, and while it must be said Mormeck's effort was sub-pathetic, closed the show with a fearsome combo in round four of a severe mismatch. Steward had begged and pleaded with Wlad for years to look to close the show in a timely fashion, and not take so long to take minor league chances against foes who are just about out on their feet. From the get go, basically, Wlad on this night, tried to give the people what they wanted. The end came at 1:12 of the fourth.
The punchcounters had the loser landing three, count them three punches on this night. I said before that he needed to employ the Corrie Sanders method, and look to land everything in the first or second round on Wlad. He did the opposite, looking to land nothing. I suppose he could have done himself more of a disservice, if he looked for a place to lay down in round two, but all in all, nobody would be up in arms if he went away with his pile of money and did something else with his life.
While your assessment of Wlad must be tempered by the understanding that Mormeck's effort was pretty embarassing, little brother's shots looked crisp and clean, and on this night, he finally showed me that he'd be favored to beat his big brother Vitali if and when they ever clashed, in an alternate universe.
Wladimir talked to Chris Mannix after. He said he clinched in the first, because Mormeck led with his head. He was happy with the result, that he took care of him within a good amount of time, and he respects Mormeck for showing up, and trying. "He tried, he tried," the winner maintained. He said he defended his territory, and didn't want to back up, so that's why he clinched. He said there are plenty of foes out there, such as David Price, Tyson Fury, Alexander Povetkin, Seth Mitchell, and Mannix mentioned Cris Arreola. Wlad said he thinks Arreola deserves a fight and that should be the next clash for him. Manny Steward said that his guy is not nasty like Liston, and that he worked within Wlad's personality to get it done on this night. Steward said he'd like to fight Arreola, because he'd like a fight in the US. Steward said there are no real challenges out there, that Mitchell isn't ready, and that Povetkin has shown no interest. "It's a case where he doesn't have much of a challenge," he said.
Steward said Wlad is still improving. He said his one punch ability is maybe the best, but that he doesn't have the mindset to show that off.
Klitschko (age 35; 6-6 1-2; born in Kazahkstan, grew up in Ukraine; 56-3 entering) was 244.7, and the ex cruiserweight champion Mormeck (age 39; 5-11 1/2; from France; 3-0 as a heavyweight; 36-4 entering) was 216 on Friday. The men were supposed to clash in December, but Klitschko had to have surgery for a kidney stone, and that postponed the event, which was seen by 50,000 fans, a sellout at Esprit.
The fight ran and streamed on EPIX in the US. This was the third consecutive heavyweight title fight EPIX presented by EPIX, on succeeding Saturdays. Bruce Beck, Freddie Roach and Dan Rafael did the call for EPIX.
The typical glitzy production, with lasers, and lights and video bits, looked swell, though the French and German spoken by the boxers wasn't translated.
Luis Pabon was the ref. He worked the Alexander Povetkin-Marco Huck bout last week.
In the first, Klitschko, looking to get 50 KOs, passing Joe Louis and Jack Dempsey for KOs by heavyweight champs, held and clinched Mormeck, who looked to get inside, but did nothing when there. Mormeck, fighting for the first time since December 2010, led with his head, and threw only a few punches. He was trained in the bob and weave style by Kevin Rooney, but Rooney couldn't be present for the first two weeks of camp, so Team Mormeck brought in another trainer. Mormeck didn't land one single blow in the first, for the record.
In the second, Mormeck dipped his head to the right, and Wlad corraled him with the left forearm. Pabon from the start warned the fighters about clinchiness. Left hooks looked heavy from Wlad. A jab-right combo sent Mormeck down at the 1:20 mark. A combo with 15 seconds left buzzed Mormeck again. Roach called Wlad, who he trained for four fights, the "best puncher I ever caught." Mormeck landed a single punch in the round. Rafael said he was battling a cold and taking antibiotics when he came to Germany.
In the third, Wlad did some pummeling, and Mormeck landed three of 15 blows. Wlad' jab was nasty. The men tumbled to the mat near the end of the round, another horrid one for the Frenchman.
In the fourth, a combo finished off the Frenchman. A jab, right follow and left hook had Mormeck out of it. The loser was already headed down from the right. He stood up neat ten, but was groggy and Pabon said no mas.
The matchmaker in me wants to set up a David Haye-Mormeck clash, because these two have so much in common. Haye beat Mormeck when they met in 2007, KO7, but the rules for this scrap would include mandaory retirement for the loser. Maybe it'd be a draw and they could both exit the stage...
Note: Rooney did himself a favor not being present. Mormeck, I must say, might have been fighting a cold or flu, and if that is the case, we can better understand his showing. But to throw about twenty punches over three plus rounds is a stain on his resume.
Who wins the WBO Middleweight title fight Dec. 19th?