Vitali Klitschko vs. The World Part 2
27.07.04 - By Don Deane: In part one we looked at potential fights with Joe Mesi, John Ruiz, James Toney and Lamon Brewster. In the second installment we further beat the dead horse that is the heavyweight division by breaking down possible matches with Chris Byrd, Nicolay Valuev, Juan Carlos Gomez and Audley Harrison.
Article posted on 27.07.2004
Rematch anyone? Four years ago Chris Byrd beat Klitschko by TKO after a shoulder injury ended Vitaliís night. Going into that tenth round Klitschko had taken at least 7 of the 9 rounds on all three scorecards. This fight would have commercial appeal due to many factors. First, Byrd is a belt holder and nothing draws a crowd like a heavyweight championship fight. Second, Byrd is the only active fighter to have defeated Klitschko. And third, it has been quite awhile since the first fight. A further look at each fightersí activity since their April 2000 meeting shows each fighter beating reasonable competition. Byrd is 6-1-1 since the Vitali fight with good decision wins against Holyfield, Harris, Oquendo and Tua. Vitali is 7-1 with his good wins against trial horses like Bean, Norris, Donald, Purity, Sanders and Johnson. The two have been on an even course, competition wise, and have stayed active fighting good competition. The parts that raise eyebrows are the loss and draw for Byrd. A loss to the younger Klitschko and his very recent draw with Golota have proven that Byrd still doesnít know what to do with a taller guy with a big reach advantage. PREDICTION: Vitali by decision.
Going the more geographic route could lead Vitali to an all Sputnik showdown with Nicolay Valuev. Probably the only time Klitschko would give up a height advantage would be to the 7 foot Russian giant. Valuev has stepped up from nobodies to trial horses recently by dispatching Otis Tisdale and Dickie Ryan in 1 round apiece. A unanimous decision over the grossly undersized former cruiserweight stud Marcelo Dominguez is also a quality win. The fight would probably be fought at a plodding, one punch at a time pace. It would be reminiscent of a George Foreman fight in the latter part of his career. The fighters donít move all that fast, but they wouldnít have to as any one punch could end it at any moment. The most interesting thing Valuev presents is the size factor. The two tallest fighters Klitschko has fought were Timo Hoffman (6-7) and Lennox Lewis (6-5). Hoffman is the only professional fighter to take Vitali to the final bell, and we all no the debacle the Lewis-Klitschko fight was. In both fights Klitschko was able to land shots and didnít get intimidated by fighting a guy his own size, but you can argue that Klitschko hasnít proved that his power caries over against a big, solid heavyweight. Valuev presents 6 feet, 11 inches and 320 odd pounds of big heavyweight. Although Valuev doesnít possess the speed of Byrd or the veteran savvy of Toney, he does posses the size and strength to make one think he at least has a chance. PREDICTION: Vitali by decision.
Number 3 on our short list is Juan Carlos Gomez. The 31 year old former amateur standout is another blown up cruiserweight that also has a bit of height. His 6-3 frame and 80Ē reach give him the build requirements, but his 220 pounds leaves him a little undersized. Gomez had an easy time dispatching two trial horses in Ken Murphy and Al Cole as well as easy wins over the reasonably regarded Imamu Mayfield and Pietro Aurino. There is no doubt Juan Carlos Gomez can hold his own against the top flight. His only drawback is the 10 month layoff and the fact he has fought twice in the last 2 years. Both fighters prefer to end things early; and both have the power and skill to end this fight early. Gomez is a legitimate top 5 guy and has more than a few good years left. He is too inexperienced at the top level to defeat Klitschko at this point but he will be the toughest fight for Vitali. PREDICTION: Vitali by decision.
Finally, another amateur standout in Audley Harrison would be a good fight for Vitali. The 2000 Olympic champion from England is only 17-0 as a pro, but his age dictates a quicker pace to title fights. His extensive amateur experience gives him enough of a fundamental background to push him past the B class fighters and into the top 10 without much debate. Unfortunately, the WBF heavyweight champion hasnít fought anybody. His best win was probably over Quinn Navarre, although Rob Calloway is a tough stiff. Audley would have to package his fundamental skills with his 6-6 252lb frame to outwork Vitali from the outside to bang out a decision on points. Harrison does have power, but with 12 knockouts in 17 wins it wouldnít be wise for him to try to match power with the potent Klitschko. Audley will end up going the same way as Gomez in his fight. Plenty of size, plenty of talent, not enough top level ring work. PREDICTION: Vitali by late KO.
Now that the two parts of this are complete, we see as all expected that there really is no challenge for Vitali out there. The purpose of all this was to prove that the heavyweight division is not dead and to give a little background on eight of the top fighters to prove that this division is stocked full of B+/A- level fighters.
Vitali Klitschko vs The World: Part 1
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