What Now For Wladimir Klitschko? Who Will Be The Next Victim?
Paul McCreath -Now that Wlad Klitschko has defended his heavyweight championship successfully by demolishing Sam Peter in a decisive manner our thoughts will turn to the question of who will he fight next. Peter was the mandatory so Wlad now has a full year to fight pretty well anybody he wants but it seems only reasonable that it should be somebody rated in The Ring's top ten if at all possible. Let us take a look at their top ten rated fighters and see who is the most likely candidate.
The number one contender is big brother Vitali Klitschko. You can forget about a match between these two. It won't happen. Number two is David Haye. There is no question that this is the match that most fans want to see although the demand is perhaps not as strong as it once was. Given the past history between these two and their inability to reach an agreement on a fight it seems rather unlikely that it will happen now . Add to that the fact that Haye is signed to meet Audley Harrison on November 13 and must face his own mandatory Ruslan Chagaev in the new year he is hardly available anyway. Considering the fact that Haye fights only about once a year and generally avoids meeting any fighter not already over the hill I just don't think these two are going to fight any time soon..
You can also cross the name Alex Povetkin off the list of probables. If he wouldn't fight Wlad when he was the mandatory he certainly won't now. Teddy Atlas and the rest of the Povetkin team claim he is not ready yet. I don't buy that argument myself. I think the truth is that they know he will never be ready and that they are content to wait on a shot at one of the other titles, most likely the one held now by Vitali but only after he retires. Of course they can't admit that.
Two others on the top ten list can be eliminated because they have already been decisively defeated by Wlad. I refer to Ruslan Chagaev and Eddie Chambers. There would be no demand for rematches against either one of them and Chagaev will be going after David Haye anyway. You can discount the chances of Chris Arreola for similar reasons although his loss was to Vitali and not Wlad. His subsequent defeat by Tomasz Adamek pretty well rules him out now. Unless he comes in for his next fight at around 230 pounds and looks great we have probably seen the last of Chris at this level.
Two more in the top ten can be counted out because both are on the injured list. Denis Boytsov is recovering from hand surgery and has yet to meet a rated fighter. His time will come because he is a good one but not yet. Nicolay Valuev is old and hurt and probably out for the next six months and has already turned down a chance at both Klitschkos. Don King would never let him near Wlad even if he were healthy.
That leaves us with two Europeans. The first is Alex Dimitrenko. The problem here is that he lost badly to Eddie Chambers. He needs a couple of more good wins to make him marketable again against a top champ like Wlad. Maybe later he will get a chance but the timing is not right yet .
That leaves us with the one top ten rated fighter who does make sense Tomasz Adamek. Now nobody is suggesting that Adamek would seriously test Wlad Klitschko but he is the most qualified of all the challengers. He is a skilled former champion at both 175 and 200 pounds and is now campaigning actively against the heavyweights. He defeated #10 ranked Chris Arreola and also has wins over Jason Estrada, Michael Grant, and Andrew Golota who are all big men. He is popular in both America and Europe and wants the fight. It seems likely that Wlad would welcome him as an opponent. Tomasz has a bout scheduled with Vinnie Maddalone soon according to some reports but that should not hinder his availability. This is the bout that is most likely but not necessarily what we will get.
There are two long shot opponents that could be very attractive fights. What if Audley Harrison pulls a shocker on November 13 and defeats David Haye ? Wouldn't that then make a match with Wlad a big one? You could say the same thing about Shannon Briggs if he upsets Vitali on October 16. I don't think either upset will happen but I am just trying to cover all the bases.
Another name that often comes up is Odlanier Solis who is unranked by The Ring and only at #18 by Boxrec. The problem with this is that Solis is like Arreola before he fought Vitali, unproven and too heavy. He does have more technical skills than Arreola and his Olympic title helps but he needs a couple of wins over rated fighters to make him a better attraction.
Other than some old retreads like Ray Austin, Tony Thompson and Juan Carlos Gomez who have already had their chances there is nobody else. Young guns like Robert Helenius or Francesco Pianeta are not ready yet and would not want to risk their future at this time. David Tua is another old vet who is long gone. If he can't beat a washed up old Monte Barrett he is no threat to either of the Klitschkos.
That really only leaves us with one choice. It should be Tomasz Adamek.