Klitschko vs Chambers: Fast Eddie might really be Mr. Phelps

Klutschko ChambersBy Paul Strauss: Sadly, long time television and movie star Peter Graves just passed away from a heart attack. He was just a few days shy of his 84th birthday. Graves was a former Minneapolis resident and brother to James Arness (Gunsmoke). He was best known for his starring role as Mr. Phelps in the long running television series called Mission Impossible. There's an old saying that life imitates art (Oscar Wilde), and Fast Eddie Chambers is facing what many believe is an impossible task in trying to conquer Wladimir Klitschko. However, Eddie Chambers undoubtedly would feel more comfortable being identified with someone like Mr. Phelps than with the character Fast Eddie Felson of The Hustler. He isn't trying to hide his talent from the public or to sucker them, but he will be using the "art of the con" with scientific boxing to get his mission done. . Chambers firmly believes he has the brains and skill to pull off what many think is an impossible beat Dr. Steelhammer.

The truth is not many believe Eddie Chambers has much of a chance against Wladimir "Dr. Steelhammer" Klitschko come March 20th. That's when Wlad will be defending his IBF, WBO and IBO titles. Why should anyone think Fast Eddie has much of a chance? The Klitschko brothers have handled everyone with ease so far, and most think there's no good reason to believe that will change..

On paper, Fast Eddie's chances look pretty bleak. He's only six foot - one inch tall versus Dr. Steelhammer's imposing six foot - six and one half inch towering frame. Eddie weighed 223 against Samuel Peter, but he certainly didn't look in great shape, and was probably fortunate Peter was even in worse shape. For this fight, Chambers will be coming in lighter, and will be giving up at least twenty plus pounds of muscle to Wlad.

The fight is set for the Esprit Arena, Dusseldorf, Nordrhein-Westfalen, Germany, which is Wlad's home ground. Undoubtedly the capacity crowd will inject a lot of energy into their adopted champion formerly from the Ukraine, and the reception they will be giving Fast Eddie will be something less than hospitable.

When gauging the disparity of size and power between the two fighters, you wonder just how soon the fight will be over. Fast Eddie has a knockout percentage of only about 50% as opposed to Wlad's close to 84%. Over the years, Wlad has developed into a very skilled and formitable fighter. The basic criticism leveled at him doesn't deal with a lack of skill, but rather with a reluctance on his part to display it. Fans want to see him do more and sooner in his fights. The knock is he is too cautious. There's the question of his chin as well, but inevitably he gets the job done. It's just that he's not as dramatic and crowd pleasing as fans want, especially for a heavyweight champion.

Eddie's only defeat came in a point loss to Alexander Povetkin. That occurred back on Jan 26th, 2008, also in Germany. The decision was unanimous, but the fact is Eddie looked good early in that fight, and landed several sharp short sneaky straight right hands that had Povetkin momentarily befuddled. However, Eddie failed to follow up, and worse yet he let Povetkin take over the play and stay busier. The scores were a bit lopsided, but the fact is Povetkin really didn't beat Eddie. Eddie beat himself. Apparently Eddie was intimidated by Povetlkin's well known amatuer credentials, as well as being on the foreign soil and Povetkin's backyard. Most expected Povetkin to win, so Eddie it seems, decided to cooperate.

In his fight with Peter, Eddie was faced with one of the strongest and hardest punchers in the division, but he maintained his composure and boxed very well; although, as previously mentioned, Peter was not in the best shape.

In the title eliminator bout against Alexander Dimitrenko, he scored a solid MD to earn the right to meet Wlad. Dimitrenko was a good test for Eddie, and the fight also took place in Germany, so it was prelude for Eddie to get acclimated to his opponent's home ground. In Dimitrenko he also was facing another giant, so he should by now be getting used to the challenges one faces when at a physical disadvantage.

Dimitrenko was no stiff either. When he and Chambers fought, alias Sascha was undefeated and determined to be the next man to face Klitschko. Since the fight was in Germany, he was the crowd favorite and comfortable with the surroundings. What a dramatic scene it was when they stood facing each other at the center of the ring. The size disparity was scary! Eddie looked a head shorter with a much smaller frame. It was interesting though, Eddie didn't seem fazed by the circumstances at all. In fact, his demeanor was just the opposite. He looked relaxed and loose.

The fight opened at a distance with Dimitrenko making use of his reach, sticking out a long solid jab. He also would leave the left out like a jousting pole, ala Klitschko and keep Eddie at bay. One wondered if this was going to be another Klitschko type fight where the bigger man stays at a distance and potshots the smaller man until the opportunity comes when the giant can land a telling blow.

However, before the first round was over, Eddie had managed to subtly close the distance and get inside. He landed some sharp combinations, and served warning to Dimitrenko that things weren't necessarily going to go Sascha's way. From the beginning Eddie seemed sharp, not only with his punches, but with his timing and reflexes. He didn't make the mistake many of his predecessors made against the Klitschko brothers by trying to flee out of range, only to be caught by the long range punches. It was obvious he was seeing Dimitrenko's punches and reacting well. He deftly slipped punches, sliding inside to land his counters, and then moving to the side to prevent retaliation.

It didn't go all his way though. Dimitrenko did have his moments, and a couple of times during the fight it seemed like he might be turning things into his favor. But, to Fast Eddie's credit, he stayed calm and continued to slip, slide and roll with the punches. He also would masterfully snap back just enough to avoid Dmittrenko's shorter punches when attempted, and then answer with his own combinations. In addition, he further kept Dimitrenko off balance with lead rights, followed by uppercuts. He negated Dimitrenko's long jab with old school style punches to the arm itself, ala Jack Dempsey. Dimitrenko tried to lean on him and push him down in an effort to tire him, and to prevent him from working inside. But, Fast Eddie was too clever, and would go with the flow, using Dimitrenko's momentum against him to escape. Finally, Fast Eddie made good use of the double and triple jab, as well as hooking off the jab. Even though Fast Eddie isn't known as a big puncher, he managed to hurt Dimitrenko on several occasions with both head and body shots. He dropped him in the seventh and won the fight convincingly, even though one of the three judges scored it a draw.

Despite Fast Eddie's good showing, the fact is for his mission impossible on the 20th, he will be facing someone who does everything Dimitrenko does, but better. Dr. Steelhammer will display better footwork and speed. He also will prove to be stronger and will punch harder. He will display better balance and is obviously more seasoned than Sasch, and will be more comfortable with the big show than was Dimitrenko.

Finally, Fast Eddie won't have an elite group to help him carry off his mission like Mr. Phelps. However, just like Mr. Phelps, he will depend upon human weakness. In Mr. Phelps' case, the weaknesses involved were such things as greed and dishonestly. In order for Fast Eddie to accomplish his task, he will have to depend on Wlad's too often overly cautious style and suspect chin. He will have to catch Wlad and shake his confidence, and at the same time he must show no fear. He will have to stay totally focused at all times, with no lapses, and he will have to employ picture perfect technique. He cannot muscle Wlad or hope to overpower him. Rather, he will have to resort to being subtle and deceptive in conning Wlad into believing he isn't within range and doesn't pose a threat. Most fans already believe that, but don't count on the overly cautious Wlad easily buy into it. Chambers will have to convince him. That's where the covert action and secrecy come into play. He will have to cleveryly close the distance without Wlad realizing what's occurring. He will have to present himself as an inviting target, so Wlad will be willing make himself vulnerable in order to take advantage. It will be vital that penalties are exacted against Wlad for his mistakes, and obviously all of this makes Chambers' task very difficult, but not impossible.

Article posted on 17.03.2010

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