Originally Posted by Cachibatches
Its all semantics. He was certainly in his physical prime, but had not learned his winning style yet, and as Boxed Ears said, had not learned to control his nerves.
He will probably not lose again, and retire with a very respectable record. His career had a very strange arc to it, and that is all.
Bottom line- with wins over fellow champs like like Byrd, Brewster, Mercer, Chagaev, Ibragimov, Rahmen, and Haye, he will be remembered as a great fighter.
Physical prime... most definetly, styalistic prime... not at all.
After the 3 losses he sustained the blue print to beat Wlad is... take punishment but last through it and you will get the advantage when he gasses out (corrie sanders was the exception)
Now... There is no blue print, The fighters that beat Wlad wouldn't be able to accomplish it had the fights happened in today's world (RIP Corrie).
Even Historically the only fighters that i would consider better in H2H vs Wlad are Lennox and Vitaly (you need size). I would give a fair chance to Tyson, Bowe, Forman....and a minor chance to Holyfield and Ali... and a punchers chance to any other heavyweight.