Analysis: Klitschko Is The Best Heavyweight, Period!

By Tom Donelson
Updated: March 15, 2007

IOWA CITY, Ia. — Wladimir Klitschko did what he was supposed to do, dispatch Ray Austin in two rounds. The Ukrainian used the first round as feeling out round as he threw jabs after jabs.

Austin attempted to outbox Klitschko. This charade ended very quickly in the second round when Klitschko landed four straight left hooks to Austin’s head.

The first left hook short-circuited Austin’s brain as he was already out on his feet as the next three left hooks landed. This fight shows that Wladimir Klitschko is the best heavyweight today. Period.

Does anyone truly believe that Nicklay Valuev could beat Klitschko? If Valuev actually gets in the ring, Klitschko would find the massive seven foot Valuev easy target for his sledgehammer punches.

Oleg Maskaev? As one pundit recently noted, the only top ten fighters that Maskaev ever beaten was Hasim Rahman. And Klitschko is a better fighter than Rahman.

The one fighter that may have the power and skills to compete with Klitschko is Shannon Briggs, but Briggs showed his weakness in his victory over Serguei Lyakhovich.

Briggs was thirty seconds from defeat before his right hand saved the fight. Briggs presently fights nearly 50 pounds heavier than when he started his career and he does not carry this extra weight very well.

He fought Liakhovich like an exhausted fighter, just looking for the one shot to end the fight. Against Klitschko, he will not get that opportunity. If Briggs comes in 30 pounds lighter, he will have a solid shot.

If he comes in at 265 pounds or heavier, forget it.

And Klitschko has already defeated Samuel Peter, the hardest puncher in the division. You can say that the Peter fight was the fight that turned Klitschko into the fighter that he is presently.

Going into the Peter fight, the rap on Klitschko was that he would melt under pressure and had a glass chin. Against Peter, he boxed effectively and survived three knockdowns and nearly stopped Peter with a great left hook in the 12th round.

From that point, Klitschko went from being just a contender with talent to the main man in the division.

In his next three fights, he has stopped Chris Byrd, Calvin Brock and Austin. He is slowing weeding out the top contenders and the only thing that’s stopping him from cleaning out the division is the politics of boxing.

As Larry Merchant observed after his most recent victory, promoters and the various heads of the sanctioning bodies do not want the heavyweight title unified.

If they did, the title would have been unified.

All of these fighters have their own mandatory fights and the other champions are not in a hurry to fight Wladimir Klitschko. As for Valuev, Don King has been hesitant to allow him to fight a truly elite fighter.

With the Byzantine world of boxing politics conspiring against him, Klitschko is being denied his shot at heavyweight glory and history. As long as Klitschko is denied his shot at unifying his title, his place in boxing history will never truly be written.

Klitschko reminds me of Lennox Lewis, another big heavyweight, who found his grove later in his career. Many of the same criticism used against Klitschko were previously said of Lewis.

Lewis was soft with a glass chin but under the tutelage of Emmanuel Steward, Lewis learned to fight big. Lewis ended up being the best fighter of his generation.

Klitschko has his chance of being this generation best but as long as he is denied his opportunity to fight the other champions, then he will never get the respect that he deserve.

He is a better fighter now than when he was being pounded by Corrie Sanders or being stopped by Lamon Brewster.

Klitschko has the ability to stop any heavyweight with both hands. His left hook is becoming his money punch and combined that with his powerful right, he is the one boxer who is developing the complete package.

Klitschko is the best heavyweight today. Only the boxing bureaucracy is denying him his rightful place in boxing history.