What Klitschko could be

By Michael Gonzalez


What Klitschko could be

He’s 6’6”, built like an action figure, has a PhD, was winner of the 1996 Olympic gold medal at super-heavyweight, is a UNESCO (the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization) ambassador and current IBF/WBO and IBO heavyweight champion, speaks several languages and has knockout power in either hand.  He also has celebrated trainer Manny Steward (his current trainer) claiming he could be the best heavyweight ever.   And when Wladimir Klitschko's mug flashes across the screen, most people mutter ‘who’s that?’

What more could boxing want to lead its glamour division?  I doubt unification will change anything; the titles haven’t been relevant since more than one champ per division became ‘recognized.’  (Just doesn’t make sense, changes the definition of the word.)

Could it be because he isn’t really popular in the states?  All the greats have been from the states, as have the most lucrative purses.  He just doesn’t appeal to yanks, there’s certain blandness to him, and he doesn’t leave much of an impression.  He has crumbled under pressure and the one time he weathered it, it was to predictable slugger at the time Sam Peter in a bout in about he was winning easy and was only in trouble when he was on the canvas.

What’s holding him back is his temperament in the ring and the lack of a real battle under his belt, he’s shown championship talent, but has yet to show championship heart.  When his big bro Vitali valiantly lost a sixth round stoppage on cuts to a lethargic Lennox Lewis, his stock rose higher than ever. 

What he needs is a huckleberry to bring out the best in him, then he will truly reap the benefits of his talents and achievements.

The Epic Battle Continues

Sounds more like an opening line of a comic book than the title of a boxing card, and in the words of Manny Steward, ‘the fight turned out just as I thought it would.’  By not giving a prediction I could tell you how I knew Kelly Pavlik vs. Jermain Taylor would be a close bout where Pavlik’s activity would separate him from Taylor’s round stealing, explosive, athletic bursts.  It’s a bit frustrating to see Taylor doze off into long valleys after those short peaks.  He and Zab Judah seem to suffer from that same affliction.

So maybe he did gas.  Maybe the weight made a difference.  Maybe that’s why he caught so many right hands in the first one.  What does that say about his split from Manny Stewart?  My take is that he had Taylor thinking too much in there.  He’s where he’s at because of his athletic ability not his boxing prowess.  It also could have been that with the motivation from the loss, Steward could have wrung every ounce of talent out of Taylor. 

In the lead in bout Christian Mijares, if not for the mandatory mouthpiece, would have whistled through his impressive win over not quite champ (yet) but world class Jose Navarro.  Mijares looks on the verge of laughter while professional pugs punch away at him.  I guess its fun when you’re that good.  A match with Fernando Montiel, who mugged wily technician Martin Castillo, stopping him in four rounds in the fight before, dances in the dreams of boxing junkies around the world. 

It was unfortunate for Fernando Montiel, who happened to meet Castillo at time when he was declining, while Montiel seems to be surging.  Montiel had been criticized earlier in his career for not engaging enough, has gone all Los Mochis on his last three opponents, winning by stoppage.  It’s like Montiel is making the change from safety first counter puncher to a more aggressive style, ala Juan Manuel Marquez and exactly the opposite of Marco Antonio Barrera. 


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