Boxing


Sharkie's Machine: Vitali Klitschko Wins As Expected

12.12.04 - By Frank Gonzalez Jr.: Vitali Klitschko is the most dangerous Heavyweight in Boxing today. He's a very good boxer for a man his size. He hits hard, accurately and from all angles. He usually hurts his opponents quickly. He has won 34 of his 37 fights by knockout. He rose to prominence after his battle with former HW Champion, Lennox Lewis, who retired afterwards. Vitali was pummeling Lewis until getting caught with a Lewis punch that opened up a nasty cut over his left eye, forcing the ringside doctor to stop the fight. A lot of people weren't happy with the stoppage but the cut was serious enough to warrant the stoppage. He lost that fight, but gained the respect and admiration of even the fans that have questioned his ability in the past.

Saturday night at the Mandalay Bay in Las Vegas, Vitali Klitschko retained his Title defeating Danny Williams by TKO 8. It was a brutal beating in a fight that featured Vitali Klitschko landing at will in every round.

The ring was spotted with blood from three previous fights as Klitschko and Williams received their instructions and touched gloves..

The Fight

Round 1
Williams rushed into Klitschko and threw wild punches. Klitschko moved back, then to the side, countered a few times and that was the end of Williams assault. Klitschko established his range and Williams complied. VK was landing at will and hurting Williams. During one exchange, VK landed a right hand to the head of Williams that wobbled him. VK followed up with another
right, and then a pair of left hooks thrown sideways that sent the staggering Williams to the canvas. Danny beat the count, got up and after a few more VK punches; he almost went down again but was saved by the bell. 10-8 Klitschko.

Round 2
Williams landed a jab and looked to start his offense but VK neutralized him with distance and combinations that wobbled Williams again. Williams was already beaten at this point but admirably, he stood his ground and didn't quit. Williams managed to score a few halfway decent shots, but in return, took another pounding until the bell rang. VK was breathing through his
mouth and looked like he was tiring. The disparity of effectiveness warranted a 10-8 score but just to stay out of trouble.10-9 Klitschko.

Round 3
Williams landed a left hook to open the round. Klitschko boxed well and landed shots at will from the outside, using distance and rendering Williams ineffective. Williams landed a jab to the face that stunned VK and allowed DW a bit of confidence that he desperately needed. VK then popped Williams all over the place. Williams threw a low blow and was warned by Jay Nady. VK landed a left hook that sent Williams to the canvas for a second time. 10-8 Klitschko.

Round 4
VK continued to score at will from the outside. Williams' face was swollen like a pumpkin. His right eye almost closed with a mouse over it. VK kept his left hand low in his stance. DW landed a rare left hook. VK kept out of Danny's range, used his reach, and scored with hooks, uppercuts, jabs, you name it, he was landing it. DW landed a low blow again and Nady warned him again. Williams managed to land a couple of shots that refreshed his confidence. Unfortunately for Williams, he was unable to put any combinations together and seriously test VK's ability to take his power. 10-9 Klitschko.

Between rounds, Williams corner implored him to move his head more and to throw combinations. They insisted that VK was tired and that Williams could take advantage of that. In Klitschko's corner, all was well. His trainer only asked him to move a little more.

Round 5
More of the same as VK landed at will and Williams continued to take a pounding. How long could this beating go on? Williams hardly did anything in round 5 and was thoroughly outclassed. VK did look tired but Williams was so beaten up that he was unable to take Vitali to task. Though VK looked tired, it never stopped him from landing most of his punches. His defense consisted of staying out of Williams' range and constantly punching, forcing Williams to block or be rocked. 10-9 Klitschko.

Round 6
Klitschko continued to neutralize Williams with distance and long range precision punching. This is a mismatch if ever I saw one with Williams reduced to the status of punching bag with a big heart. VK peppered Williams all round. 10-9 Klitschko.

Round 7
Williams surprised the crowd as he landed a few shots. VK looked slower but wobbled Williams with crisp counter shots as he pressed into DW, who landed a good shot that backed VK up for a short moment. As they traded near the ropes, VK wobbled DW again and in a moment of imbalance, VK landed a right, then a left that sent Williams down for a third time. Williams fell face down almost through the ropes. He got up on the count of nine. VK was as cool as ice as he commanded the action in the ring. 10-8 Klitschko.

Round 8
They exchange at centering, VK gets the better of it. Williams was quite tired himself and battered to boot, but he showed big heart. VK landed a double right uppercut combo to the face followed by a left jab and a straight right that sent Williams down again. DW got up at the count of nine but this time, referee Jay Nady stepped in and waved the fight off. Williams may have been game to continue but besides the beating he was taking, he was bleeding profusely from a cut over his right eye, which was practically closed. VK wins by TKO 8.

* * *

After the fight, Vitali commended Williams for his big heart and his "Iron chin." Williams was also complimentary towards Vitali for his boxing skills and his work rate.

I had no complaint with the stoppage since Williams had not won a single round nor did it look like he was on the verge of reversing his fortunes in the fight. VK was just too much for him. That was a mercy stoppage in my view.

Though this was a mismatch and Danny Williams had not done anything that honestly merited him a shot at Klitschko's title, he fought bravely and I give him plenty of credit for his heart and spirit. The Lords of Boxing must really think the fans are stupid by putting Vitali Klitschko vs. Danny Williams on PPV. Unless you're just so in love with Vitali that you'd pay to see him fight anyone, I can't see how this fight was worth $50. As the Main Event-Williams vs. Klitschko was not even competitive.

The under cards were decent at best, featuring Jr. Lightweights Carlos "Famoso" Hernandez against Juan Carlos "El Ranchero" Ramirez in a ten rounder, which was arguably the best match up of the night. Ramirez had the upper hand early, causing a cut over Famoso's right eye but Hernandez was able to overcome a weak start and score a knock down in the 8th round and ultimately, win by decision.

Then, there was the WBC Continental Americas Title on the line for Carlos Navarro against the much smaller Agapito Sanchez at Super Featherweight. Navarro easily handled Sanchez into the 11th round, where referee Richard Steele stopped it after Navarro was battering Sanchez against the ropes.

There was also a predictable match up of Jr. Welterweight rising Star, Miguel Cotto against the faded Randall Bailey, in a 140-pound contest where Cotto came in weighing 155-pounds. Cotto floored Bailey in the 2nd, 3rd and 6th rounds. After the last knockdown, the ringside doctor examined Bailey, who had blood coming from both eyes and called a halt to the fight. Another mercy stoppage.

* * *

Vitali Klitschko appears to be the cream of the Heavyweight crop. He has convincingly beaten his last two opponents, Corrie Sanders and Kirk Johnson, neither of which were titleholders when he fought them. For Vitali, this is the third fight in a row where he faced opponents who were not quite in his league.

Why Danny Williams? Williams only real claim to fame was his KO win over the very, very faded Mike Tyson. Why not Ruiz, Brewster or Byrd, who hold the other pieces of the HW Title? Is it because Don King 'owns' those other fighters and insists on having options on Vitali in order to allow his fighters to fight him?

I doubt Vitali is ducking anyone in the division other then Don King, who clearly would like to have Vitali as part of his stable of fighters. That Vitali does not want Don King promoting his fights is extremely understandable. But with King's unchallenged power in the sport, it seems
inevitable that Vitali will eventually have to sign his soul over to the Devil if he wants to unify the Titles. After all, there is no true authority in Boxing that could overrule the wishes of the Dark Lord, Don King.

The HW division is so poor that there really is no one for Vitali to duck. But there are three other HW Titles out there to be taken, the WBA, WBO and the IBF versions.

I'd like to see Vitali answer the call of John Ruiz, who recently posted an open letter to Vitali, offering to fight him. Ruiz is not a pretty fighter to watch but he is scrappy, tough and like him or not, he wins big fights. Ruiz has some assets that could present problems for Vitali, like his stamina, ability to take punches and the awkward, annoying style he employs.

If Jay Nady were the ref, Ruiz would have no chance of winning since Nady doesn't let fighters hit and hold, which is the foundation of Ruiz offense. Since Ruiz is under Don King's control, I doubt Nady would be assigned that task. I think VK would knock Ruiz out, but until I see it in the ring, that's just an educated guess. Ruiz does tend to fight in close and Vitali is best when he can set the distance between himself and his opponents, who are usually shorter and accessible to his long reach. If Ruiz were able to get away with his constant holding and hitting tactics, who knows what could result?

Chris Byrd has a W on his resume over Vitali Klitschko from their fight back in April of 2000, when after dominating Byrd; VK suffered a shoulder injury and was unable to continue. Byrd walked away with a TKO 10 win. That story alone is enough fuel to ignite a rematch with Byrd, who has enjoyed a couple of favorable decisions in his reign as IBF Champion.

In his last outing, Chris Byrd weathered the best of Jameel McCline's offense and took over in the late rounds, taking advantage of McCline's lack of energy late and winning a decision to retain his Title.

Byrd has the kind of stamina and elusiveness that could present problems for Vitali in a rematch. Vitali might catch Byrd and knock him out cold but Byrd has great ability to slip and dodge big punches, he's shown he has a good chin and knows how to stay out of trouble. Byrd has the stamina to mount a late rally when Vitali might be exhausted from throwing so many punches. I hate to say it but Byrd is the one fighter in the division who has the best chance of beating Vitali. Neither man is the same fighter they were when they fought back in 2000.

Lamon Brewster owns the WBO title. He won that title by beating 'not so little' brother Vladimir Klitschko last April in a fight that saw Vladimir dominate Brewster until running out of gas in the fifth round and being hammered by Brewster, floored and as Brewster was on the verge of knocking Vladimir down again, referee Robert Byrd stopped the fight.

As has been customary for the Klitschko brothers to avenge each other's losses, this fight seems a natural. I doubt Brewster would be able to handle Vitali, who is better at conserving his energy then younger brother Vlad. And after seeing Brewster actually lose to Kali Meehan and still retain his WBO title, I doubt there's anyone out there who thinks Brewster would have a prayer against Vitali, who's eons ahead of Meehan in terms of skills and power. It's doubtful that fight would go the distance, hence rendering King's Judges incapable of a controversial decision like the one Brewster enjoyed after losing to Meehan.

Right now, Vitali Klitschko is the man to beat at Heavyweight. My hope is that he will attempt to unify the titles and rule the division, as the best fighter in the division should.

Lets hope Vitali's next fight is NOT on PPV. Boxing is not a sport followed by the affluent. The biggest Boxing fan base is poor people. It's a shame that those on tight budgets and almost all kids will miss his fights because they can't afford to choose between buying food, paying the phone bill or ordering Pay-Per-View.

* * *

Agree or disagree? Comments can be emailed to dshark87@hotmail.com

Article posted on 12.12.2004



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