Boxing


Klitschko vs. Williams – Danny’s Demise

12.12.04 – By J.B. Reatherjreather@cox.net - On December 11th, Briton Danny Williams squared off against WBC Heavyweight Champion Vitali Klitschko in an ill-fated attempt to return the title to England. An unlikely contender, Williams, who lost to Michael Sprott last January, earned this bout by knocking out an injured Mike Tyson in July..

In the weeks leading up to the fight, much was made of Klitschko’s state of mind. A staunch supporter of democracy, Dr. Klitschko admitted he considered canceling the fight to return to his native Ukraine to join thousands of demonstrators supporting reform candidate, Viktor Yushchenko, following widespread voter fraud in the Nov. 21st Presidential election.

In the week leading up to the fight, Williams attempted to further distract the Ukrainian Colossus with the obligatory pre-fight trash-talk. In claiming “Klitschko has a yellow streak in him,” and “he’s not a true warrior,” Williams made his first mistake. (Apparently Danny never heard the _expression, “Don’t poke the bear.”) A focused, determined fighter, Klitschko’s resolve seems to only be galvanized by statements such as these.

Foretelling the evening’s events, Klitschko made his way to the ring to Metallica’s “Enter Sandman.” Eager to make a statement, Williams charged towards Klitschko at the opening bell, but it was Vitali’s left jab that set the tone for the fight. Unable to get inside, Williams was easy prey for Vitali’s bombs. Williams went down in the first and barely beat the count, hauling his 270 lb. body off the canvas just before Referee Jay Nady shouted, “Ten!” A sweeping right hand thrown over his head as he hit the canvas served as a statement from Vitali of what was to come.

Lennox Lewis had advised Williams to target Vitali’s left eye to reopen the cuts inflicted by Lewis last year. But it was Williams who was bleeding at the end of the 1st, from a gash over his right eye. In what seemed like déjà vu of his fight against Tyson, Williams barely made it out of the first round.

Williams went down again in the 3rd from a short left hook and received warnings for low blows in both the 3rd and 4th rounds. Desperate, Williams tried holding and hitting, receiving a warning in the 6th. Williams went down for the third time in the 7th. A hard right to the back of the head sent Williams sprawling under the ropes, nearly depositing him into Jim Lampley’s lap.

The fourth and final knockdown came in the 8th. Vitali landed two devastating upper-cuts followed by a 1-2 combination that put Williams on the canvas. Wobbly & shaken, Williams made it to his feet but Referee Jay Nady stopped the fight.

Displaying endless courage, a fighter’s heart and a granite chin, Danny Williams endured 7 ½ rounds of brutal punishment. Following the 3rd round when his corner yelled, “Don’t quit on me!” Danny shot back, “Who’s quitting?” And with his right eye swollen shut, Danny rose unsteadily to his feet after the fourth and final knockdown, willing to step up and take some more.

Landing 296 punches to Williams’ 44, Vitali Klitschko dominated the fight. Using his jab to keep Williams on the outside, Vitali was able to land devastating combinations while avoiding Williams’ monster left hook. Vitali displayed excellent defensive skills, fighting an intelligent fight. Williams did manage to land a few hard shots, none of which curbed the onslaught from the giant Ukrainian who’s never been on the canvas.

After Jim Lampley commented in the 6th round, “An increasingly frustrated Williams is flailing at him now.” Roy Jones Jr., hesitant to give credit to the 6’ 7” Ukranian, replied, “I don’t know that he’s (Williams) necessarily frustrated Jim, I think this is what he was looking forward to.” To which Larry Merchant chuckled and replied, “You mean he was planning on taking a beating and hoping that by the 10th round Klitschko would fall down on his own?” This fight should go a long way in cementing Vitali Klitschko’s claim to the Heavyweight crown.

With Lennox Lewis unwilling to come out of retirement to give Vitali a rematch, the question on everyone’s mind is, “Who’s next?” In an open letter to Klitschko, WBA Heavyweight Champion John Ruiz recently challenged the Ukrainian pugilist to a unification bout. Unfortunately, the letter didn’t include an assurance from Don King that he won’t demand options on Klitschko.

Hasim Rahman earned a mandatory title shot when he defeated Kali Meehan in King’s “Battle for Mediocrity” last month. But King could opt to have Rahman fight one of the three belt holders he controls (WBA Champion John Ruiz, IBF Champion Chris Byrd, WBO Champion Lamon Brewster) instead of dealing with self-promoted Klitschko.

Many writers, including myself, have called for a Klitschko vs. Golota match-up. If Andrew Golota is focused, this could be a true heavyweight battle. But while we’re left to ponder the possibilities, Vitali Klitschko is still standing on top.

Article posted on 12.12.2004



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