Vitali Klitschko's wasted talent

Discussion in 'Classic Boxing Forum' started by McGrain, Jan 11, 2020 at 4:43 AM.


  1. McGrain

    McGrain Diamond Dog Staff Member

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    Vitali was a principled and intelligent man which is why it is so disappointing that he spent most of his career being led around by the nose, the WBC riding him like its personal show pony. Still, they made a lot of money together and bottom line speaks loudest.

    As far as legacy goes, let's take a look at his defences. Rankings by Ring.

    DEC 2004: Danny Williams
    Fair Defence?
    ...probably, barely. Williams had been defeated by Michael Sprott earlier that year. Williams fought two outrageous fights with Sprott and could be mercurial so perhaps he was always going to lose one, but to be clear, losing to Sprott should rule you out as a title challenger at least for the calendar year you lose to him in! After that loss though, Williams was picked as a gimme for an ageing, under-motivated and soon-to-be-injured Mike Tyson. When Tyson threw his knee in the ring Williams showed guts and heart to take the W. Vitali would go on to explain that he wanted to fight Tyson very badly and was out to punish the man who prevented the fight coming off.

    Good Fight?
    No, awful. I said before the fight that it was a contest which would prove bad for boxing and it did. Really, really depressing and one sided encounter.
    Just a bit of fun. Who should he have fought instead?
    Chris Byrd of course. Byrd held a win over Vitali from 2000 and as Joe Louis put it "I don't want you men to call me champion until i've beaten Max Schmeling". Byrd had been fortuitous in taking Vitali but he was unbeaten since Wladimir took revenge for Vitali that same year, and highly ranked.

    MARCH 2009: Juan Carlos Gomez
    Fair defence?

    Yes. Having retired with injury after Williams, Vitali took Sam Peter straight off the bench to reclaim his WBC trinket. Gomez was very decent and ranked #9 going in. It was reasonable in the circumstances for Vitali to pick out a lower-end contender.

    Good Fight?
    It rarely is when you fight one of your old sparring partners. Vitali didn't enjoy the first two rounds but won a one-sided contest he claimed was "not easy" despite all evidence to the contrary. Still, Gomez was good and it's hardly Vitali's fault that he was so much better than a valid opponent that the one-sidedness rendered it unsatisfying. Gomez was rescued by the ref in the ninth after being banged about and twice dropped. This one at least provided the thrill of seeing a fighter of absolute brilliance outclass a fighter who was good.

    Just a bit of fun. Who should he have fought instead?
    Nikolay Valuev. Valuev held the WBA belt and was about to drop it to David Haye. Valuev could have got out in May and Vitali could have picked it up instead, bidding adieu to the WBC in the process. Vitali was actually involved with arbitration with the WBC at this point who were trying to make him fight Maskaev after Gomez, whereas Vitali wanted Valuev. A combination of Valuev's financial demands and his weird commitment to the green felt led him back to the WBC and...

    SEPT 2009: Chris Arreola
    Fair defence?

    Yes. This is Vitali's highest ranked defence of the decade at #6. Piteously, he defended only once against a fighter in the top 5. That's grim reading.

    Good Fight?
    In a sick way. Vitali battered Arreola's face into a mis-shapen lump in what was probably his best jabbing performance. Arreola's corner pulled him after the tenth. This was a career-altering beating. Vitali won every round. More than any other contest, this one makes you wonder how he would have done versus the best fighters of this time.

    Just a bit of fun. Who should he have fought instead?
    The ideal opponent would have been Ruslan Chagaev but Chagaev was involved with Wladimir this year. It depends how you feel about the sharing of the title between the two. Should Vitali have been so happy to let his brother do the heavy lifting? Personally, I don't think so. But if you feel that's valid, I'd go so far as to say Arreola was the right man - arguably the best opponent in the circumstances.

    DEC 2009: Kevin Johnson
    Fair defence?

    Nope. Undefeated but unranked and untested (his best scalp was arguably that of the corpse of Bruce Seldon) Johnson absolutely did not belong in the ring with someone like Vitali Klitschko and he never would. You can argue gatekeeper versus journeyman but you can't argue contender.

    Good Fight?
    Nope. Johnson spent the whole fight on the run while Vitali hit him often on the way to a shut out victory. it was an embarrassment.

    Just a bit of fun. Who should he have fought instead?
    Alexander Povetkin had by now established himself as one of the very best in the world and would have made an excellent choice of opponent. Failing that, Denis Boystov, Eddie Chambers, Dimitrenko...

    MAY 2010: Albert Sosnowski
    Fair Defence?

    No, it was a disgusting defence and a real low point in a really poor series of defences. Zuri Lawrence victim Sosnowski had boxed a draw with Francesco Pianeta two fights ago and somehow, through the WBCs fever dream, his victory over someone called Paolo Vidoz (3-3 in his previous six) qualified him for a shot at a fighter as dangerous as Vitali. This defence wasn't just embarrassing it was dangerous.

    Good Fight?
    ...weirdly, it wasn't that bad. Sosnowski was so spirited in his efforts and defiant in his approach that the match held moments of weird interest, like when the Pole, on the end of a savage beating, saluted the crowd, fist held high, between rounds. Still, it made for very uncomfortable viewing and I haven't seen it since. The referee rescued Sosnowski after ten.

    Who should he have fought instead?
    Anyone.

    OCT 2010: Shannon Briggs
    Fair Defence?

    No. Briggs hadn't been ranked since 2006 and hadn't beaten a fighter that mattered since that same year. He had also been using steroids. On all levels, this was an embarrassing, irresponsible defence.

    Good Fight?
    Awful. Briggs belonged nowhere near that ring and the frightening beating that it seemed Sosnowski might get was instead absorbed by Briggs. This is why taking on qualified opponents matters so much: when a special fighter meets an awful one, the awful one's life is in danger. Briggs was awful and was hospitalised with alarming damage to his face after sustaining a twelve round beating and failing to win a minute of a round.

    Just a bit of fun. Who Should He Have Fought Instead?
    David Haye. Haye may not have taken the fight to be fair, in which case even the man Haye was messing with at this time, Audley Harrison, may have been preferable. But again, there was a top ten and although Vitali couldn't fight Wladimir, there were nine other fighters available to him (Wladimir was ranked champion plus ten contenders).

    MAR 2011: Odlanier Solis
    Fair Defence?

    ...tricky one this. Solis had hardly proven himself at 17-0, but he was talented and it is forgotten now that there was something of a buzz about this fight. As a part of a wider campaign where he was fighting guys with a pulse, this defence would have been OK by me - but in the light of the embarrassment of his recent defences the answer has to be "no".

    Good Fight?
    No. Solis blew out his knee and yet another Vitali defence was wasted.

    Just a bit of fun. Who should he have fought instead?
    If he's not going to fight Povetkin or Haye or Boystov or Chambers, how about Robert Helenius?

    SEPT 2011: Tomasz Adamek
    Fair Defence?

    Yes. Adamek was ranked number three and as such would be the only ranked contender Vitali would meet that decade and the highest ranked man he would ever defend against. Vitali never saw sight of the #1 contender (note NOT his brother, the champion - the number one contender to that title).

    Good Fight?
    No. Adamek was just too small. A dull, one-sided affair.

    Just a bit of fun. Who should he have fought instead?
    Povetkin.

    FEB 2012: Derrick Chisora
    Fair Defence?

    No. Chisora was 15-2 and had lost two of his last three. Vital's WBC fever dream continues in a bad tempered affair brightened only by Chisora's despicable behaviour, slapping Vitali at the weigh in, spitting in Wladimir's face pre-fight.

    Good Fight?
    Given the drudgery we had been forced to sit through watching Vitali the past few years, this was actually not bad. It was bad-tempered, frayed, short on technical acumen and mildly entertaining. Notable for Vital's fighting on despite an injury to his shoulder that limited the use of his left arm. This made him very available for Chisora's punches, and he landed on Vitali at probably the highest rate of any opponent, so that was a bonus. It underlined, though, the fear factor in facing him - even against Vitali when he was so hampered, Chisora was the less busy man, fearing to throw, and losing the fight wide.

    Just a bit of fun. Who should he have fought instead?
    I'm bored of this bit now.

    SEPT 2012: Mannuel Charr
    Fair Defence?

    No. Charr was unbeaten but unranked and untested. The biggest name on his ledger was the broken down Danny Williams. But it was a kind of fitting defence for his last defence - a nobody in a nothing fight against a man who had no chance of beating him and who wasn't deserving of the attention of a fighter as good as Vitali Klitschko.

    Good Fight?
    Also fitting - I have actually never seen it.

    Just a bit of fun. Who should he have fought instead?
    Hindsight is 20-20 but the ranked contender he should have faced was Tyson Fury. What an ending that would have made for. Fury was, by now, ranked, and he had also defeated Vitali's last opponent Chisora -so it is far from far-fetched. Certainly, he was more qualified for a pop at Vitali than either Chisora or Charr - or 5 of his last 6 defences in fact!
     
    Last edited: Jan 11, 2020 at 7:49 AM
  2. Eye of Timaeus

    Eye of Timaeus Active Member Full Member

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    **** resume but I don't favour many against him.
     
  3. BitPlayerVesti

    BitPlayerVesti The Ad Wolgast of Googling Stuff Full Member

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    For Chisora, it's worth noting he had been completely robbed against Helenius, who was being pretty touted. But I just like Chisora
     
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  4. janitor

    janitor Obsessed with Boxing Full Member

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    I agree.
     
  5. McGrain

    McGrain Diamond Dog Staff Member

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    Yeah, Chisora was unlucky against Helenious.

    Are you boys trying to say this makes his fight with Vitali a good defence? Let's pretend he was 16-1 and 2-1 instead of 1-2 in his last three.
     
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  6. Ra's Al-Ghul

    Ra's Al-Ghul The One and Only Full Member

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    Gomez was top 5 in my opinion and it was a mandatory defence; he outclassed undefeated European champion Sam and is the only human who knocked whom down (in the first round), won twice vs. McCall and had an outrageaous performance over Defiagbon (destroyed him in two rounds).
    Against Arreola, Solis Fuente and Adamek were it mandatory defence too, all were ranked as WBC #1 (Solis won even an elimination bout vs. Austin).
    David Haye was actual supposed as challenger in late 2009, but who avoided himmand choosed the easier route vs. Walujew in September 2009 (when he cancelled the Klitschko clash).
    Tomek was supposed to outbox Klitschko in the first half and build up a lead. But in fact he could have been finished off in 3 - 6 rounds.

    Sosnowsky was actual European champion, earnee the shot more than Harrison his one, and Vidoz defeated Sam less than two years previous, he also showed a lot of heart against Walujew, when he fougt with broken jaw. Just as was he bronze medal winner of Sydney 2000, which is more than what Peter achieved. Pianeta was undefeated too when they draw.
    Charr was also in the WBC rankings high, as he hold 5 regional titles of them (including the international title).


    Powetkin target the IBF line where he was the top challenger in 2009 and in 2011 became he WBA regular champion, so a fight against Vitaly Klitschko was never ever rumoured or considered, he was always supposed to challenge his brother and had nothing to do with the WBC at that time.

    Rather would be interesting Joe Mesi (instead of Danny Williams or later) or I'd like David Rodriguez, as he had a similar record as Wilder, but looked more muscular (instead of Chisora, Charr or afterwards).

    Lewis had weak challenger as well, like Botha, Jackson and actual Rahman too.
     
    Last edited: Jan 11, 2020 at 7:22 AM
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  7. Flash24

    Flash24 Well-Known Member Full Member

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    Wasted talent , or wasn't that talented to begin with. like
    all the Heavy champs from the late 90's until now.
     
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  8. janitor

    janitor Obsessed with Boxing Full Member

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    I think that some of the criticism of his post Peter resume is unfair.

    It is almost impossible to make ideal match making in the current political climate, and with his brother holding three of the belts, it would have been darn near impossible.

    He was always going to be playing second fiddle, in terms of quality of title defenses.

    I would certainly never criticize a contemporary champion for fighting the #3 Ring contender, just because that man was a small heavyweight.

    Above all i think that he was unlucky.

    His biggest tactical error, was not moving to consolidate his claim on the vacant title, after he defeated Sanders.

    He lost his most important years due to injury, and by the time he returned to the ring, his younger brother already had the succession sewn up.
     
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  9. BitPlayerVesti

    BitPlayerVesti The Ad Wolgast of Googling Stuff Full Member

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    I think it makes it a bit more acceptable, but doesn't change the overall picture
     
  10. McGrain

    McGrain Diamond Dog Staff Member

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    Well the ideal match is Wlad-Vitali. At no time is Vitali held responsible for not making this match.

    The second choice match is just a bit of fun - Vitali is not held accountable here for who he didn't fight but rather who he did.

    Why?

    I did not criticise him for this. I appraised the fight as fair, a good defence. You seem to have confused my appraisal of the fight itself - which was not good - with the defence, although I did go out of my way to make it clear these were two separate issues.
     
  11. NoNeck

    NoNeck Pugilist Specialist Full Member

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    The “who he should’ve fought” column is a little simplistic considering promoter issues.

    I thought Gomez, Arreola, Johnson, Chisora and especially Solis were okay, and Williams at least beat Tyson. The bigger problem is that Vitali didn’t fight really big fights in between these guys. He beat Peter and Sanders but missed Haye, Povetkin, Iggy, Chagaev, etc.
     
  12. McGrain

    McGrain Diamond Dog Staff Member

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    I'll change the "who he should have fought" column to "just a little bit of fun, who he should have fought." It's just pointing out a better option - it's not really that important.

    I'll also change "Good Defence?" to "Good Fight?" as that seems to have caused some confusion too :lol:
     
  13. NoNeck

    NoNeck Pugilist Specialist Full Member

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    Vitali’s fights almost all sucked, but a lot of that is because he was too dominant.
     
  14. dinovelvet

    dinovelvet Antifanboi Full Member

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    :nononoKingpin was never a runner. He barely even moved against Vitali and spent most of the fight up against the ropes. Vitali should have bombed him out but he could barely land a solid glove on an open target right in front of him.

    The punch stats show Vitali missed 700 punches. 700!!!.. Imagine how ineffective he would be against skilled HWs with good defense.

    This should also tell you that the Byrd result was no fluke. Byrd made him miss and made him pay , resulting in him trowing in the towel and ducking the rematch.

     
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  15. dinovelvet

    dinovelvet Antifanboi Full Member

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    Golovkins was dominant and his fights never sucked. Silly comment.
     


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