Klitschko And Moorer Win: Now What?

By Tom Donelson
Updated: December 15, 2004

Michael Moorer

LAS VEGAS — Michael Moorer beat Jirov. Those are the facts but what’s now for Moorer? I don’t buy into the notion that beating Jirov entitles Moorer to a heavyweight shot or for that matter a top ten rating. For most of the bout, Jirov out hustled and out boxed Moorer.

Jirov maneuvered side to side and attacked from different angles and true to his nature; threw a lot of punches. Moorer for most of the bout played catcher, as he seemed to be deflecting many of Jirov’s punches with his head and body. Rarely did Moorer strike back with his jab.

What saved Moorer was that Jirov was a cruiserweight and not a heavyweight. Jirov rarely punished or hurt Moorer and Moorer could stand in Jirov’s wheelhouse. At the end of the eighth round, Jirov showed sign of tiring and Moorer, being the heavy puncher, could afford to be losing rounds as he had the equalizer. He struck with the equalizer in the ninth.

Jirov pressed the action, throwing a combination following a Moorer combination. Both men were toe to toe and Jirov dropped his right hand and Moorer delivered a beautiful short left cross from his southpaw stance and it was goodnight sweet Irene.

Jirov hit the canvas and immediately jumped back up. He staggered back a few steps and referee, after finishing the count, stopped the fight, as Jirov appeared still shaken.

So what does this prove for Moorer? Moorer, in his comeback, lost to David Tua in 30 seconds and to an Eliso Castillo in his last fight. Two years ago, Moorer weighed 225 and this weight was similar to his peak as a heavyweight. For his past three fights, he has weighed 237, 251 and 247.

Moorer did not look like a fighter who could beat any of the major contenders or champions. In the mid 90’s, he would be the favorite against Ruiz or Brewster and match up with Chris Byrd. The only fighter that could have given the 1994 Moorer was Klitschko. The Moorer of 2004 is not the fighter he once was. The old Moorer had an excellent jab and carried his power to the heavyweights.

What people forget about Moorer was that as a light heavyweight, he was unbeatable. If he had stayed a light heavyweight, we may have been talking about the Moorer era and he certainly had the tools to beat a prime Roy Jones. He was that good and he was good enough to beat Holyfield in his prime. There was a time that Moorer could easily be declared one of the best pound for pound but those days are gone. Let see what he could do against another contender before we start crowning him king.

As for Jirov, he is now 0-3 against heavyweights. (I am counting Toney, who he fought as a cruiserweight. Toney is now a heavyweight and if the two fought at heavyweight, the results would be same.) Jirov has fought Moorer, Mesi and Toney and he has yet to prevail.

He is not a heavyweight but Jirov was a great cruiserweight, but unfortunately there is no money in that division. Jirov now has tested the heavyweight division and he has two choices. Stay a heavyweight and he becomes an opponent like Al Cole or goes back to Cruiserweight and possibly be champ again.

Vitali Klitschko demolished Danny Williams in eight rounds. This fight was a mismatch from the opening moments but Williams was game. Being game is not the same as being better. Great heart does not always win and Williams could not penetrate Klitschko defenses.

Klitschko proved to be workman like and what makes him the best today at Heavyweight is that he uses his size to its advantage. He is not in the same league with Tyson as a puncher but he has enough power in either hand to discourage smaller fighters from coming in.

Here is the question; can anyone really see any of the other champions beating Klitschko? Byrd has beaten Vitali once but that was only because Klitschko suffered a separated shoulder. In a rematch, Klitschko would be the favorite and most likely win. Ruiz is not strong enough and Lamon Brewster strategy of allowing Klitschko tiring himself out by hitting Brewster will not work. Vitali is not his brother.

The only obstacles that stand in the way of Vitali Klitschko unifying the title is the fact that he is not interested in any deal that ties him to Don King and Don King is not about allow any of his fighters get in the ring with Klitschko if it means that they could lose.

Right now, Don King is the promoter of three of the Heavyweight champion but he could easily lose his control over the heavyweight if Klitschko mows over his champions. Unless Don King gets a piece of the Klitschko’s action, he is not about to allow Klitschko defeat his fighters.

Which could mean that the big money fight for Klitschko may be Hasim Rahman, who recently resurrected his career with a big win over Kali Meehan. Rahman does not have a title and if Don King allows Rahman to fight Klitschko, there is no chance that a King fighter will lose a championship belt. Plus Rahman, with his long reach, could compete with Klitschko.
As for Byrd-Klitschko, which is the most logical fight, there is no immediate prospect unless both sides deem it necessary. Klitschko is the recognized champion and Chris Byrd or John Ruiz need Klitschko more than the other way around. So for the moment, it is Vitali that is the people champ and until the others beat him; they can’t truly claim to be the best in the division. His giant shadow reaches over the Heavyweight division.