Boxing


Klitschko vs Williamson: Wladimir hoping to get his career back on track

01.10.04 - By Patrick Corcoran: He was supposed to be the future of the heavyweight division, but after being knocked out twice in the last 18 months, Wladimir Klitschko hopes to prove all his numerous critics wrong about his questionable chin and ragged stamina. Wladimir Klitschko is a quick fisted mountain of a fighter.

Wlad's fights are entertaining, he deploys an arsenal of punches rarely seen in the heavyweight division these days, and he looks good on camera during fights and interviews alike.

All of this makes Wlad Klitschko a very marketable fighter. HBO, and Jim Lampley in particular, anointed Wlad the heir apparent during the wan of the Lennox Lewis era, and there was little reason to doubt the wisdom of his promotion. Klitschko's outright destruction of Ray Mercer raised suggestions that the big Ukrainian would perhaps be too much for Lewis as well. A meeting between the two European giants seemed inevitable.

Something got screwed up along the way. All of us that were so enamored of Klitschko's gifts that we forgot to ask ourselves the obvious: can he take a punch? As it turned out, Klitschko cannot, at least not on a heavyweight champion level. Corrie Sanders first stunned him in 2003, knocking him down four times en route to a second-round knockout. (As a result, it was Vitali Klitschko would get the first crack at Lennox, not Wlad.) That could well have spelled the end of Wladimir Klitschko's flirtation with the crown, but with the heavyweight division wallowing in mediocrity following Lewis's retirement, Klitschko was granted a reprieve. After Lewis called it quits, Klitschko, still popular and very marketable, was given a cakewalk to a title, with only Lamon Brewster standing in front of him. Brewster, whose biggest claim to fame going into that fight was losing to the guy who played George Foreman in "Ali," took weathered the worst of Klitschko's shots before testing that chin once more. An exhausted Klitschko failed the test, succumbing to a fifth-round knockout.

Somehow, even a Brewster loss didn't bury Klitschko for very long. After all, the heavyweight division is still as middling as ever, Klitschko is still a popular, marketable fighter, even if his chin is shaky. And so he rides into Saturday's bout poised to announce his reentry to the upper echelon of the heavyweight division. His handlers have the ideal opponent in front of him in DaVarryl Williamson, a man perhaps best known for suffering a first-round knockout to Joe Mesi in 2003. Mesi can crack, but not like Klitschko can. Williamson, known as "A Touch of Sleep," will likely retiring to bed early on Saturday, about the time the first of the left-hook leads from Klitschko finds a home on his jaw. DaVarryl Williamson, who often fights at a weight below 200 pounds, is a heavyweight from decades gone by, while Klitschko, at 6 feet, 7 inches, represents the future. But that doesn't mean a heavyweight belt is in his future.

Article posted on 01.10.2004



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