By Anthony McClean, Editor In Chief Emeritus NEW HAVEN (BASN) —...
Corrie Sanders Remembered
NEW YORK, NY (BASN)-—-The boxing community is deeply saddened lover the recent murder of former WBO heavyweight champion Corrie Sanders (42-4, 31 KOs) of Pretroia, South Africa. Sanders was shot in both the hand and stomach while trying to protect relatives at a birthday party and later died in a local hospital.
Corrie Sanders was an intelligent man and a true gentleman. He was classy both inside and outside the ring. Even though Sanders didn’t have the look of a tremendously physically-fit specimen, Corrie Sanders was technically sound and had a left hand that was hard, fast, and difficult to see coming. Heavyweights feared Corrie Sanders because no one in the division was as big, strong, and as fast throwing a left-hand out the southpaw stance than him.
It was because of Corrie Sanders’ left-hand fighters like Mike Tyson, Lennox Lewis, and Evander Holyfield, elected not to fight him. Sanders fought here in the United States consistently as a rising prospect, but never really generated a lot of noise. Everyone within boxing new who Corrie Sanders was, but wanted no part of him. Corrie Sanders was one of the most intimidating punchers of his time. He was feared and respected by all.
During a 19-year professional fight career that began in 1989, Sanders didn’t get the respect that eluded him for many, many years until the night of March 8, 2003. After 14 years, Corrie Sanders took advantage of his first world title shot by pulling off a shocking second-round knockout of Wladimir Klitschko in Germany.
Corrie Sanders couldn’t miss Wladimir’s face with the left-hand. It was fast, hard, and accurate. Sanders threw his southpaw left-hand from various angles. Left uppercuts, straight-left hands, left hooks, and in one instance, a wild-wide right hook, followed by a straight-left badly hurt Wladimir. Klitschko was floored four times and in one instance was flattened like a pancake.
No one ever beat Wladimir the way Corrie Sanders did. Klitschko even considered retirement at one point because, very few people believed he was capable to resurrecting a once promising career.
The loss to Sanders eventually fired Wladimir to become a better fighter and fulfill his destiny as the one of the most dominant champions in heavyweight boxing history. Wladimir went on to unify the IBF/WBA/ WBO and IBO/RING Magazine heavyweight championships and hasn’t lost a fight in more than eight years and has won his last 13 world title fights, 11 by knockout.
Following the Klitschko shock, Sanders, in the biggest fight of his career here on American soil, challenged Wladimir’s older brother Vitali for the vacant WBC heavyweight title. Both men stood over 6’ 5,” 240-pounds and waged an exciting war. In the end, however, it was Vitali who successfully avenged his younger brother’s defeat and walked away with the WBC title.
Corrie Sanders last fought in 2008.
Corrie Sanders loved boxing. He will be remembered as one of the most overlooked heavyweights of our time. The Wladimir Klitschko performance is an attribute as to how dangerous Corrie Sanders was as a fighter and why he was avoided by generally every top heavyweight in the last 20 years. The moment I heard of Sanders’ passing, I instantly replayed flashes of his only official world title victory over Wladimir. The way Sanders systematically dispatched Wladimir so quickly was shocking, impressive, and mesmerizing.
I first met Corrie Sanders in May 2000 following a defeat to Hasim Rahman, who upset Lennox Lewis to become the Undisputed WBC/WBA and IBF heavyweight champion the following year. It wasn’t his best night, as Corrie Sanders was stopped by Rahman in the seventh round. Although he did not win, Corrie Sanders was gentlemen-like in defeat and promised to have a better performance in the future.
Corrie Sanders was a wonderful man and he will be missed by many.