Klitschko dominates Thompson Again, What’s next?July 17, 2012
The latest title defense for Unified IBF/WBO/WBA/IBO Heavyweight champion Wladimir Klitschko was in reality what many have come to expect of the two-headed Heavyweight championship monster known as the Klitschko brothers. Highly skilled, master craftsmen applying their craft and dominating their opposition.
On this occasion it was Wladimir stepping in the ring for a rematch with longtime top Heavyweight contender Tony Thompson. In their first meeting in 2008 Thompson was able to have his moments in the bout and was very “Game” before falling to Klitschko in the eleventh round.
When the two entered the ring for their rematch on July 7 in Switzerland however it was one-sided domination by the champion Klitschko. After an uneventful first round, Klitschko stepped up his aggression and gradually muscled Thompson around the ring cutting him over the left eye and knocking the challenger down twice in route to a sixth round stoppage. Quite frankly there isn’t much to say or analyze about this fight. It was simply yet another demonstration of the Klitschko brothers’ dominance atop the Heavyweight division. For Wladimir Klitschko his second victory over Thompson signaled the twelfth successful title defense in this his second reign as a World Heavyweight champion that began in 2006 stopping eleven of his twelve challengers inside the distance.
It is also a reign that has seen Wladimir Klitschko unify four of five world titles in the Heavyweight division leaving the fifth world title controlled by his brother Vitali. The accomplishments and numbers compiled by the two brothers speak for themselves. Both men multi-time world champions, both men with multiple successful title defenses that have stretched out over several years in their current reigns. Both with career knockout percentages of well over 80%. Simply put, the numbers do not lie.
The morning after Klitschko’s second knockout of Tony Thompson, with frankly not having much to say about the fight; I commented on social media that the two brothers that I refer to as the “Two-headed Heavyweight championship monster” are likely to be viewed as the two most dominant and un-appreciated Heavyweight champions in Boxing history once their careers conclude.
The two most dominant based on statistics. Numbers don’t lie. The two most un-appreciated based on the opinion of some, specifically here in the United States that the Klitschko’s are not entertaining and quite boring. I will be the first to admit that the Klitschko Brothers’ style of Boxing may not be for everyone and I will even take it a step further by saying that in terms of the American Heavyweight scene there is not the same name recognition depth in the division that existed for decades. It goes without saying however that if you are a fighter the best that you can do is beat whoever is put in front of you.
In the case of the Klitschko brothers one may argue that the only obstacle that remains for either Wladimir or Vitali could very well be each other. Although there have been some that have called for the brothers to square off over the years, this observer is not one of them. The Klitschko brothers have stated several times over the years that they will not fight each other and in the eyes of this observer it would be ridiculous for anyone to expect and, or, demand that such a bout take place.
Therefore, as the brothers continue to rule the Heavyweight division with two iron fists, we must look to those climbing up the Heavyweight ranks, top contenders and those fighters with name recognition value that may be in line to face either Wladimir or Vitali. In the case of Vitali Klitschko his immediate plans seem to be set as he is next scheduled to defend his WBC championship against undefeated contender Manuel Charr in September.
What’s next for Wladimir Klitschko? Well the obvious name that has come to my mind several times since the Thompson rematch is Alexander Povetkin who currently holds “Regular”/Interim status in the WBA’s Heavyweight ratings. Povetkin has held this status for close to a year since defeating former Heavyweight world champion Ruslan Chagaev and has maintained his number one position to challenge Klitschko.
Although there has been some confusion over the WBA’s designation of using the term “Regular” as opposed to Interim, the reality is Povetkin is a mandatory challenger for Klitschko and realistically the best option out there for the champion currently.
Povetkin was scheduled to face former two-time Heavyweight world champion Hasim Rahman earlier this month however the bout was cancelled due to an injury to Rahman. Based on this it makes all the sense in the world to this observer to have Povetkin as the next challenger for Klitschko.
Povetkin has been challenged in recent fights and has shown the ability to overcome adversity. It would however be in Povetkin’s best interest in the eyes of this observer to reunite with his former trainer Teddy Atlas whom was not in his corner for his last fight when Povetkin narrowly defeated Cruiserweight world champion Marco Huck in an extremely close contest.
Atlas is known for his legendary motivational tactics and it has served Povetkin well having him in his corner in bouts against Ruslan Chagaev and Cedric Boswell. Previous Klitschko opponents have had somewhat of a tendency to break mentally during fights. In his career, Teddy Atlas has shown the ability to get the absolute best out of his fighters in moments of adversity. With all due respect to Povetkin’s current trainer Alexander Zimin, Povetkin needs Atlas if he is to challenge a fighter like one of the Klitschko brothers. Perhaps bringing Atlas back in to share duties with Zimin could produce the ingredients necessary for Povetkin to win.
The time has come for Alexander Povetkin, with a record of 24-0, 16 Knockouts to get his shot at the World Heavyweight championship. He has shown he is a top contender by achieving Interim status. He has also shown that he can maintain his position to challenge Klitschko. Why make him wait longer?
Of course despite the opinion of this observer that Povetkin should be next line for Wladimir Klitschko; there will be some who will no doubt suggest that former two-division world champion and former WBA Heavyweight champion David Haye could be in line for a rematch. Off of his impressive knockout win over Dereck Chisora on July 14th and fresh out of retirement Haye may want to vindicate his earlier loss to Wladimir. David Haye surely has the name recognition value and credentials that could garner him a fight with either Wladimir or Vitali. This is especially true given that the Klitschko Brothers and Haye are not fans of each other.
Despite the controversial elements of which the David Haye-Dereck Chisora bout took place, Haye does deserve credit for his performance in that fight. It is the opinion of this observer however that should Haye opt to continue his career and get licensing wherever he chooses to compete that he may want to face a top contender or two before seeking either a rematch with Wladimir or a bout with Vitali. Surely the fact that Haye knocked Chisora a fighter who gave a “Game” effort in going the distance with Vitali Klitschko will surely generate talk of a potential bout.
There are also obviously other fighters who are noteworthy as possible Klitschko opponents including Robert Helenius, Tomasz Adamek, Chris Arreola and Seth Mitchell, all of whom are currently top rated by almost every sanctioning organization who will surely be in the discussion sooner than later.
For the immediate future however there is only one logical challenger who has earned his chance… Alexander Povetkin.