An honest look at the heavyweight division

By Tom Donelson
Updated: March 26, 2009

Boxing Gloves IOWA CITY — This is Klitschko’s world when it comes to the heavyweight division. The recent beat down administered by Vitali over Juan Carlos Gomez simply reinforces what every boxing pundits should know.

There are the Klitschko’s brothers and then there is the rest of the heavyweight division. Since Wladimir lost to Lamon Brewster in a surprise knockout in a fight that he was easily winning; he has not lost a fight since.

Vitali only lost was to Lennox Lewis and Chris Byrd in the early part of the decade and his comeback from years of inactivity from back injuries featured easy victories over Samuel Peter and Gomez.

As stated in a previous piece, Wladimir has either been a contender for the Heavyweight title or owned a portion of the title throughout this decade.

His brother Vitali lost to Chris Byrd in a fight that he was winning before sustaining a injury and Lennox Lewis, a Hall of Fame fighter.

In the case of Wladimir, many pundits have not forgiven him for losing to fighters he should have easily beaten and losing by knockouts, no less.

His first fight with Brewster was the symbol of Wladimir’s career when he was easily winning the fight before getting nailed by a left hook with 30 seconds left in the fifth round.

Since that fight, Wladimir Klitschko dominated the division including a revenge victory over Lamon Brewster. The fight that showed his maturity was the Peter fight in which he survived three knockdowns to win a unanimous decision.

What was more impressive was the last round when Wladimir nearly stopped Peter and this fight showed that he can not only survive a big banger but beat one.

From that point, Wladimir dominated the division whereas Vitali suffered back injuries but after sitting out for nearly four years, he came back to shut out Samuel Peter.

Peter wasn’t in the fight and to make sure that boxing fans and pundits understand that the Peter was no fluke; Vitali demolished Gomez.

Both fighters began with extensive amateur campaign and come on the scene as one of boxing great Heavyweight eras was ending.

When Lennox Lewis defeated Vitali Klitschko in 2003, an era ended. The fight itself saw an old and out of shape Lewis open up a cut over Vitali to pull out the win.

When the fight was stopped, Lewis was actually behind on points but a Lewis right in the third round open a cut over the left eye and at the end of the sixth round; Vitali could no longer continue as blood spurted over his face.

From that point, the Klitschko’s brothers lacked an substantial competition that ensured Lewis his own legacy.

Lewis defeated Evander Holyfield in their second match after getting robbed in their first fight with a questionable draw.

Five years later, he stopped Mike Tyson to ensure his own place in boxing’s history. After Lewis retired, neither Klitschko’s brother had that great opponent that secures their own legacy and what they have instead is a pattern of defeating good fighters but not yet faced that great fighter that makes a reputation.

So what challenges are left?

There is the WBA champion Nicolay Valuev, the big seven foot Russian and there is no way that Valuev defeat either brother. The other leading Russian fighter Ruslan Chagaev doesn’t threaten the brothers.

There are young fighters like Alexander Dimitrenko, Aleander Povetkin and Chris Arreola who represent a new wave to challenge the Klitschko’s brother but right now, there is no reason to suppose that any of these fighters threatens the Ukrainians.

The biggest threat may come from the Cruiserweight division champion David Haye, who is an excellent boxer and puncher but no one, knows what will happen if a Klitschko punch lands on Haye.

Haye’s only lost was a knockout lost at the Cruiserweight level, so there are questions marks about Chris Arreola, who has fought an elite heavyweight.