The theatre of the unexpected strikes again. Folks were hoping the pedigree of the Cuban born contender Odlanier Solis would emerge against WBC heavyweight champion Vitali Klitschko in Cologne, Germany on Saturday night. Well, it did just that as Solis started the first round like a man with something of a plan.
But the plan unraveled quickly, when a right hook, delivered in retreat, on the forehead--or was it a left hand? or was it the wind?-- buzzed the 2004 Olympic gold medallist. He went down on his butt after a two second delay, and grabbed at his right knee. Solis, clearly pained, made it up at the count of six. But he needed to steady himself on the ropes, and he was on wobbly legs. The ref saw this, and halted the abbreviated bout. Vitali, now 42-2, hustled over to Solis (17-1) and barked at him, perhaps yapping at him to convey he believed he should have and could have continued. The official time of the end was 3:00 of the first.
Some folks thought that fact that the 30-year-old Solis was not as fat at weigh-in time as he had previously been was cause for hope. But many will now say that if he had not been packing 246 plus pounds on his frame, he might not have been as prone to injury. And hey, who knew that Solis' promoter Ahmet Oner moonlights as physician specializing in diagnosing sports injuries? He said after that the knee finished it for Solis, not any punch, and said that the loser would likely have surgery right away, because of torn ligaments.
Also, a prevalent instapundit reaction was that Solis was having a smashing first round, that he looked like he had the Klitschko riddle solved. Semi-baloney, I say. He wasn't that busy, though he did land a few clean blows. Mostly, he moved laterally, to his left, and the 39-year-old Vitali had him at the range he wanted, and assessed him as he let his joints lube up properly.
I must admit: I hoped maybe we would get a decent tussle here, and maybe some of my disappointment seeped into my coverage. I don't mean to take a cheap swat at Solis here, but when will these heavyweight learn, the bulk of them, that they should do everything in their power to reach a proper state of fitness when training for a heavyweight title bout?
Finally, Solis had a better night than EPIX. The new pay TV cabler drew fury and scorn as viewers were unable to log on to their website to watch the fight. Some logged on, but were kicked off. EPIX said this was because of a traffic surge. Not ready for primetime, many grumbled as they searched for a livestream somewhere. Hey, it's a new world out there in Medialand; we at TSS support any serious players who want to offer content, so we aren't goint to pile on, and bust EPIX chops. Next time, we're sure they'll do better. Can the same be said for Solis?
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