By Anthony "Zute" George
Wladimir Klitschko has accomplished plenty as a boxer. He sports a record of 64-4, 53 KO’s, is a three-time world champion and defended his IBF version of the championship 18 times. Awesome credentials.
Or are they? From a fan perspective, Klitschko is one of the most disrespected world champions of all time. I often think, is the scrutiny shoveled on Wlad’s resume justified?
One of the knocks on Wlad is that he does not have a signature win. This is despite the fact that he has defeated Chris Byrd (twice), Samuel Peter (twice), Tony Thompson (twice), Hasim Rahman, Eddie Chambers, David Haye, Alexander Povetkin and Bryant Jennings.
Okay, no all-time greats there, but not exactly tomato can row either. Besides, the only two bona fide HOF’ers during Wlad’s error has been Lennox Lewis and his brother. A close call with brother Vitali sent Lennox into retirement. Should Wald’s career be scrutinized because he fought in what is considered to be a weak era for the big boys?
Personally, I thought it was a pretty formidable era, not great but certainly respectable, and Klitschko stood head and shoulders above the crop.
Another knock on Klitschko is that he was dull to watch. I hear this one often. I admit that sometimes watching the six foot six inch Klitschko work his jab and control distance over twelve rounds was less than thrilling, however, is not the science of boxing to hit and not get hit? If so, Wlad met that criteria with flying colors during his second championship reign.
Why is it when fans say a Whitaker, Wright, Mayweather are often boring, other fans debunk these claims by saying ‘you do not appreciate the true meaning of boxing’, or something jazzy like that?
If doing enough to win rounds and not take unnecessary risks is revered - why is Klitschko criticized for doing the same thing? Since 2006, Waldimir has lost very few rounds. Last time a checked, he chad a much better KO percentage than the aforementioned pugilists as well.
Peculiar. As I have said on many occasions, boxing is the ultimate Rorchach test. A Rorchach test that often lacks inconsistency.
The one knock on Klitschko I cannot defend is his last performance against Tyson Fury. Indeed, a terrible performance. Of course, losing he title to a total buffoon; as Fury has been since his victory, helps little.
With that being said, the embarrassment of losing to the class clown can erased with one stunning victory against Anthony Joshua. Undefeated and sporting a perfect KO percentage, Joshua appears to be the real thing. Many have already anointed him as the second coming. Few give Klitschko a real chance to be competitive, let alone beat Joshua.
Klitschko is now over 40 and has not competed in over a year. Joshua is 27 and fought three times in 2016. On paper, it reads like a massacre; especially if you consider how Klitschko performed in his last bout.
If Klitschko can pull off the upset, his spot in the International Boxing Hall of Fame is baked in the cake. His signature would have been had. If he loses, he might not even be able to lick the bowl. Which is a shame. From a pure sweet science standpoint, few pugilists have had a championship run of consistency that Klitschko had from 2006, when he beat Chris Byrd for the IBF title, until his last defense against Bryant Jennings.
I did not say great, I did not say exciting. What I did say was a consistent model of the hit and not get hit model. Klitschko certainly did that for nearly ten years. Boxing fans, if you are going to make the rules, at least abide by them.