Boxing


Danny's ready for another upset!

10.12.04 - By Phydos Sergiou: On December 11, 2004, Danny Williams 32-3-0 (27 KO'S) goes head to head with Vitali Klitschko 34-2-0 (33 KO'S) for the WBC Heavyweight Title, and the big question for most fans is, does Williams have a chance or will Vitali just blow him away as he did against Kirk Johnson? Will there be a bigger shock than that of the Tyson fight or has Vitali Klitschko totally underestimated Williams? One thing is clear, it's easily the biggest fight of Williams' career. A title fight in Vegas on pay-per-view. It's a big step up for someone who recently was easily knocked out last year by 2nd tier fighter, Sinan Samil Sam in a one-sided fight.

Before his defeat of Tyson, Williams was an average journeyman who was better know for for crying before stepping into the ring and having a fragile chin. For most people, it's somewhat unbelievable that Williams has all of a sudden turned over a new leaf and become suddenly a great fighter based on his victory over Tyson. If it turns out to be false, then Vitali will likely annihilate Williams in the first couple of rounds.

Vitali won't be an easy task puzzle to solve. First of all, he's big and awkward, and fights standing straight up and appears easy to hit. However, he has a big overhead right hand that has helped him get 33 knockouts in 36 fights. In his last fight, Klitschko beat South Africa's Corrie Sanders in the eighth round of their April bout for the vacant WBC heavyweight title.

Klitschko weighed in at 250 pounds, although he will still be outweighed by 20 pounds against the tank-like Williams, who doesn't appear to be carrying much fat. Williams' 270 pounds equals Primo Carnera's 1934 mark for the highest individual weight in a title fight.

For the most part, boxing fans are in agreement that Williams, 31, has little chance and will be brushed aside in under 3 rounds by the hard punching giant Ukrainian. It's hard to disagree with that belief, as Williams does not have the past track record, other than his lucky win over Tyson, to deserve a title shot against Vitali. If not for Williams one important victory over Mike Tyson last July, where Williams convincingly finished with a 22 punch flurry that sent the old champ crashing to the canvas utterly humiliated, we would likely be talking about Vitali versus Chris Byrd. Tyson fans call it luck and use excuses like a damaged leg (he walked out of the ring okay that night) but whichever way you look at it, that was the shock of the decade for most fans that did not know who Williams was.

However, one negative going against Williams will be the experience factor. He learned to box in the the England amateur system and has had most of his fights there, and hasn't faced nearly the top-quality opposition that Vitali has. If Danny has any hope of winning, he better pray for a miracle cut or punch or else he may be in for a rude awakening against the more talented Klitschko.

Yet, I feel Williams can win the bout, but he will have to fight a different fight than the one with Tyson. Tyson came looking for Williams but against Vitali, he will have to be more patient and calculating, because of Vitali's style of calm and relaxed boxing. Tyson does not have the engine to go 12 rounds he had to press the fight Vitali does not have to.

Danny has to throw his combinations if he wants to win and he also needs to have a lot of lateral movement to avoid Vitali's big looping shots. In previous fights, Sanders and Lewis attempted to beat Vitali with one big punch, and neither of them had the stamina to outbox or out work klitschko, who always has a busy work rate. Williams does have the stamina and the style to upset and frustrate Vitali and the desire also.

One additional factor going for Williams is that Vitali may not be mentally ready for this bout, as he freely admits that many of his thoughts are thousands of miles away in his Ukrainian homeland. Ukraine is in the middle of massive political unrest, and there are daily protests against the outcome of the recent presidential election many say was fraudulent. "I am not a politician. I am a sportsman. But it is very difficult for me, very painful, because of what is happening in my country," says Klitschko

Many of the fans of the Ukrainian giant have said he has never been knocked down, and even when he lost, he should have won. Yet, if he is so unstoppable, why is he not undisputed champ? Why has he not cleaned up the weakest heavyweight division in years? Why is he not fighting Byrd or Brewster or Ruiz? Is Don King saving his fighters from a beating from Vitali? Of course not! In my opinion, I feel he is completely overrated and nothing but a hype job. Don't get me wrong, Vitali is cumbersome and difficult to fight due to his size, but if a strong fighter, such as Williams stands up to him, he will slice and dice Vitali and make him look as bad as he did after the Lewis fight. For all of you who might have forgotten how Vitali looked after that fight, just picture a person walking through a meat grinder and then somehow surviving.

Unbelieveable as it may seem, I feel Williams has finally exorcised his mental demons that cost him so much against Mike Sprott, who he lost to controversially back in January 2004, after referee Dave Parish awarded the fight to Sprott because he was fed up with Williams showboating. There was his loss to Sinal Sam for the European title in February 2003, where he took the fight a week after suffering from shingles.

We have seen both sides of Williams - the bad (losses to Sprott, Sam and Francis)and we have seen the good - Tyson and the one armed victory against Mark Potter in October 2000, where he dislocated his right arm, but carried on fighting and knocked out Potter with his left.

His trainer, Jim McDonnell, is equally as confident, saying "Danny was absolutely fantastic. On the first day, Dan was doing a couple of things wrong, but we had a talk about this and on the second day, he'd shed every single bit of ring rust. Danny is so up for this. I knew Danny was already in scary shape because of the training we did in England, but the way he got his timing and shots (back on top form) was something I've never seen any fighter do. He's so focused on winning this fight. I honestly think Klitschko has only a lucky puncher's chance of retaining his belt on December 11. He's in better shape - in every way - than he was for the Tyson fight. All the training we did in England, the running, the pushing cars around, the rounds of bag work with only 10 seconds rest in between, that's paying off like you wouldn't even believe. He's the fittest big man on the planet right now."

Affectionately referred to as a "Complete psycho" by his star charge, McDonnell is well known on the British scene as the fittest trainer in boxing. 'Jimmy Mac' describes a typical day at their facility just outside of the Neon City of Las Vegas.

Some weights, he's working on his neck to absorb Klitschko's right hands better.

"Last week Danny was doing eight 800 meter runs in a row - and all of them were under 3 minutes, which is astonishing considering the size of the guy. I know good athletes in England who compete at a very high level who can't do that. Danny's fitness, his natural athletic abilities, are something else. Dan will tell you himself, he is really up for this. I already know Danny will be the fittest world heavyweight title challenger in years and years come December 11. All we need to do now is work on skills and technique and the title is coming back to England."

Bold words from his trainer lets hope they do not backfire on him! This is Danny’s biggest fight of his career and a big step up in class for him, but if Williams is focused, he can cause upset number two of 2004.

Critics give Williams slim hope against the 6'7" Ukrainian, but the Brixton brawler has been using Tyson's example while sparring tall men in training. "I can go straight in against Klitschko and prove that I'm one of the best heavyweights. In fact, the best out there. I'm in the best shape of his life and I'm prepared for every eventuality."

Prediction: Williams by 6th round KO!

Article posted on 10.12.2004



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