Connect with us

Featured Articles

Wladimir Klitschko Would’ve Been A Title Threat In Any Era

Published

on

He really was a poor man’s Klitschko, and he stood right in front of Wladimir with his head straight up and offered little or no movement. Yes, that’s basically the strategy the slower-handed Kubrat Pulev 20-1 (11) attempted to beat the best heavyweight in the world, Wladimir Klitschko 63-3 (53), with this past weekend.

Pulev was every bit as crude stylistically as most perceived him to be. He was a sitting duck for Klitschko’s right hands and left hooks. Pulev was dropped in the first round by a lead left-hook that Wladimir sneaked in around Kubrat’s right hand. Pulev was visibly hurt, was dropped again and barely made it out of the first round. By the fifth round he was being battered and was stopped via a single lead left hook to the chin. But give Pulev credit for trying and not fighting just to survive. He was just out-gunned by a markedly better and more complete fighter.

Pulev is a very big man and attempted to manhandle and rough up Klitschko, however Wladimir answered back. In this fight we saw for one of the few times how athletic Wladimir is for such a big man. Starting in the second round, Klitschko sensed his superior advantage in hand-speed and laid back some and pot-shotted Pulev and usually beat him to the punch. It was painfully obvious early on that Klitschko did everything better in the ring than Pulev that one fighter can do over another. He had a better and more imaginative offense, he was quicker in getting off, and once he sensed Pulev had no defense for his lead left hook to the chin, he disguised it beautifully and nailed Pulev almost anytime he cut loose with it.

It was easy to glean that Klitschko was clearly a grade above not just Pulev, but any other heavyweight in the world. You can try all you want to make a case for Tyson Fury, Bermane Stiverne and Deontay Wilder but forget about it. Fury would get pummeled like Pulev, maybe even more so. Stiverne is just too short and would look like Eddie Chambers trying to out-box Klitschko a few years back, and if Wladimir fought Wilder, I wouldn’t be the least bit shocked if he put him to sleep with the first big right hand or left-hook he landed.

It’s been a decade since Klitschko last lost. You can rip his opposition all you want, but nobody dominates any era if they’re not a pretty special or unique fighter. I see Wladimir as being more unique. It’s suicide bringing the fight to him and if you try and beat him by waiting and reacting, he’ll jab you silly and eventually put you away with a right hand. Wladimir is a lot like Lennox Lewis, the difference being Lewis fought with more confidence and had a much better uppercut. Lennox was also more willing to exchange anywhere in the ring and he could in-fight better. The problem fans and the boxing media have with Wladimir Klitschko is, he so often looks vulnerable and no more than one punch away from being stopped. And you know what, that’s the same thing his opponents see when they watch him. Then they get in the ring with him and find out that getting to him and rattling him to where he’s not fighting his fight is much tougher than it looks. All he’s done is compile a record of 24-2 (19) in title bouts facing every fighter who was qualified to fight him.

To those who haven’t seen enough to at least give him his due, face it, the only opponent he has to worry about is father time calling on him. There isn’t one heavyweight walking the planet that is big enough, fast enough or good enough to out-box him. Sure, he could be stopped on any given night by a legitimate puncher. All you have to do is point out the fighter who has the power and the means to deliver it against him, and then I’ll entertain him losing in 2015.

What’s left to be said about the dominance of Wladimir Klitschko that hasn’t been said? He just made the 17th consecutive defense of his heavyweight title and only trails Larry Holmes (20) and Joe Louis (25). I have both Louis (2) and Holmes (4) in my all-time top five heavyweight champs. No, I don’t think Wladimir is amongst the top-10 all-time great heavyweight champs. But for argument sake, I ask – during Louis’ and Holmes’ title defenses, who did they defend their titles against who Klitschko wouldn’t have beaten?

I’ve gone over the title record of Joe Louis and you know who I come up with? Max Schmeling. I’m not saying Schmeling would beat Klitschko, but he did beat Joe Louis in his prime. Yes, an unprepared Louis, but Joe scored his most impressive career victory over Max Baer a year before fighting Schmeling the first time. All that I’m saying is, the only fighter Louis defended the title against that wouldn’t be considered a “no hope” against Klitschko is Max Schmeling. Conversely, you could say the same about Louis regarding the challengers Wladimir defended against in title bouts, and that is Louis would’ve beat every opponent Klitschko faced in a title bout, at least theoretically.

What about Holmes?

I’ve seen practically every fight of Larry’s career and all of his title defenses, and the only fighters Holmes defended his title against that wouldn’t be a “no hope” opponent against Wladimir are Earnie Shavers, Gerry Cooney and Tim Witherspoon. Yes, Klitschko would probably be favored over all three. But Shavers had the mindset and power to knock Wladimir out if he catches him first, and the undefeated Cooney who Holmes fought was every bit the killer that Wladimir is. Gerry had the style, size and power to blow Klitschko out, or get knocked out in the process. Either way, if you bet on Klitschko to beat Shavers or Cooney, I doubt if you’re sitting ringside right before the first round that you’re saying to yourself, “I wish I bet more.” And the Witherspoon who fought Holmes had the boxing skill, size and punch to beat Klitschko. Remember, I’m taking the challengers the night they fought Holmes and Klitschko. And like Louis, Holmes would’ve theoretically defeated every challenger Wladimir defended against.

The argument against Klitschko is everybody he fought is terrible so he gets no props for winning in the eyes of many fans and media. I remember thinking during the 1990s that the Lewis, Holyfield, Tyson and Bowe era paled in comparison to the Ali, Foreman, Frazier and Holmes era, and I wasn’t alone in holding that point of view. But you know what, how good do the 1990s heavyweights look to the lot Klitschko has defended his title against circa 2006-2014? In fact looking at today’s heavyweight division, the Dokes, Page, Witherspoon, Tubbs, Cooney, Thomas and Berbick era doesn’t look as bad as it did when we were living it.

Every era looks better looking back. In 15 years the opponents that Wladimir fought will probably look less pedestrian than they do now. I’m not saying Wladimir is among the top five all-time heavyweight greats, I’m only saying he would’ve been a handful for any past all-time great.

I’ll wait five years after he’s retired before I attempt to rate Wladimir Klitschko. But I can tell you this, if we’re taking him and bringing him back to the 1950s, 1960s or 1970s, or bringing those past greats up to 2014, he’ll make my top 12 easily on a one-off head to head basis. His size, strength and ability to force his physicality on his opponent is just too much of a factor to discount or dismiss.

Frank Lotierzo can be contacted at GlovedFist@Gmail.com

WATCH RELATED VIDEOS ON BOXINGCHANNEL.TV

Featured Articles

Charr-Oquendo Scuttled When Charr Tests Positive; the Odious WBA Saves Face

Published

on

Manuel Charr

Manuel Charr and Fres Oquendo were scheduled to fight in Cologne, Germany, later this month (Sept. 29). Charr would be defending his WBA world heavyweight title, the “regular” version of it, not the “super” version which rests in the hands of Anthony Joshua.

The bout was quickly cancelled when it was revealed that Charr had tested positive for two banned anabolic steroids. The test was performed by VADA, the anti-doping agency identified with Las Vegas neurologist Dr. Margaret Goodman.

The 33-year-old Charr, born in Lebanon but a resident of Germany since the age of three, won the belt in his last start with a unanimous decision over 281-pound Russian behemoth Alexander Ustinov in Oberhausen, Germany. The title was vacant. Charr won the right to fight for it with a 10-round decision over Albanian slug Sefer Seferi. The victory over Ustinov elevated his record to 31-4. He has been stopped three times, by Vitali Klitschko, Alexander Povetkin, and Mairis Briedis.

If it wasn’t for bad luck, as the old saying goes, Fres Oquendo wouldn’t have any luck at all. For various reasons, his fights keep falling out. Before long he’ll be drawing social security. Well, not exactly, but he turned 45 in April and hasn’t fought in more than four years.

Oquendo has competed for this belt before. In his last ring appearance in July of 2014, he lost a majority decision to Russia’s Ruslan Chagaev in Grozny, Russia. As a concession for taking the fight on short notice, Team Oquendo negotiated a rematch clause in the contract, but a shoulder injury prevented Fres from activating it. When the injury healed, he had to go to court to compel Chagaev to fulfill his obligation. But then the Russian retired, muddling the water.

The WBA was legally bound to find Oquendo a title fight and in desperation turned to ancient Shannon Briggs. But the Oquendo-Briggs fight, scheduled for June 3 of last year in Hollywood, Florida, fell out when Briggs’ urine specimen showed an abnormally high level of testosterone.

Fres Oquendo was dogged by bad luck even before these recent developments. His professional record, 37-8, is somewhat misleading as six of his eight defeats were razor-thin including his 2003 setback to Chris Byrd and his 2006 setback to Evander Holyfield. However, Oquendo, something of a cutie, was never a crowd-pleaser and in none of his narrow defeats was there a public clamor for a rematch.

The cancellation of Charr-Oquendo cuts the World Boxing Association out of a sanctioning fee, but one would think that the WBA honchos are actually rather pleased by this turn of events. The fight, more precisely the WBA’s world title imprimatur, would have brought more unwanted publicity to the Panama-based organization.

ESPN’s Dan Rafael, who has the largest platform of any boxing writer, has been a persistent critic of the organization which once recognized 41 “champions” in 17 weight classes. In 2009, Rafael wrote, “(The WBA) has become such an absolute farce that even somebody like me, who follows boxing closely, sometimes has a hard time keeping track of all the nonsensical so-called world title belts the WBA has been doling out at an alarming rate. It almost reminds me of the ladies at Costco who hand out various samples on a busy Saturday afternoon.”

Rafael took note when WBA president Gilberto Mendoza promised to cull the herd by eliminating “regular” titles, and then became more caustic when Mendoza didn’t follow through. Recently, in one short, punchy diatribe, Rafael blistered the WBA as wretched, vile, and rancid.

Regardless of your opinion, it’s hard not to feel sorry for Fres Oquendo who keeps getting stranded at the altar. No, he’s not fun to watch and a man of his age shouldn’t be taking any more punches, but he has always been an honest workman and by all accounts he’s a very decent man. Born in Puerto Rico but raised in Chicago, Oquendo pitched right in when the island nation of his birth was ravaged by Hurricane Maria. He was personally responsible for relocating Puerto Rican boxing legend Wilfred Benitez and Benitez’s sister, his caregiver, to Chicago where their lives wouldn’t be as hard.

Check out more boxing news on video at The Boxing Channel

To comment on this article at The Fight Forum, CLICK HERE.

Continue Reading

Featured Articles

Bob Arum Hails Terence Crawford (not Lomachenko) as Boxing’s Next Superstar

Published

on

Arum says Terence

Top Rank’s Bob Arum says Terence Crawford will become this generation’s Floyd Mayweather or Manny Pacquiao–elite boxers who became worldwide celebrity sensations. Arum, who promoted both Mayweather and Pacquiao on the way to their historic crossover statuses expects big things from the undefeated Crawford over the next few years.

“He’s the best fighter in the United States, and he’s so charismatic,” said Arum. “He comes from middle America, and In the next year or so, he will be huge.”

Arum’s assertion is noteworthy for two reasons. First, Arum is also the promoter for Vasyl Lomachenko. Lomachenko is ranked No. 1 pound-for-pound by The Ring, the Boxing Writers Association of America and the Transnational Boxing Rankings Board. More importantly, Lomachenko seems to have a groundswell of support behind him both in the media and among fight fans.

Lomachenko has also been heavily featured through Top Rank’s television partnership with ESPN. While Crawford has achieved more in his career than Lomachenko (at least in my eyes) and, as noted by Arum, is a homegrown American talent, Lomachenko seems to be considered the more marketable commodity to that network judging by the amount of promotional materials ESPN has pumped out about the fighter over the last year.

The other reason Arum’s claim about Crawford is interesting is the performance of Canelo Alvarez over the weekend in his majority decision rematch win over Gennady Golovkin. Besides Mayweather and Pacquiao, Alvarez is the clear PPV leader among all of boxing’s current commodities, and his status as boxing’s new money fighter should only grow stronger after the best win of his career.

Still, Crawford is one of the few very elite fighters in all of boxing. He’s ranked No. 2 pound-for-pound by The Ring, the Boxing Writers Association of America and the Transnational Boxing Rankings Board.

While Lomachenko and Alvarez are also candidates to become boxing’s next big thing, there’s no doubt Crawford is also one of the few boxers in the sport right now with the right things in place to become the next Mayweather or Pacquiao.

Omaha’s Crawford is in the midst of an historic run. When he stopped Jeff Horn in round 9 at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas in June, Crawford captured a world title in his third different weight class, welterweight. This after Crawford had already captured two lineal boxing championships, as well as multiple alphabet titles, in both the lightweight and junior welterweight divisions.

By any measure, Crawford is truly one of the best boxers in the sport. Not only does he look the part in the ring on fight night (something more and more writers seem to value most when voting for pound-for-pound lists), but the fighter has already accomplished so much in his career that it seems Arum is doing more than the fiduciary duty of promoting his fighter when he ascribes to Crawford such lofty praise.

Crawford, still just 30 years old, is already halfway to matching Mayweather and Pacquiao’s shared record of most lineal championships. Over the course of his career, Mayweather captured lineal championships at junior lightweight, lightweight, welterweight, and junior middleweight. Pacquiao won his as a flyweight, featherweight, junior lightweight, and junior welterweight.

In order for Crawford to grab lineal championship No. 3, most believe he’ll have to go through welterweight phenom Errol Spence. While promotional entanglements might keep this superfight on the shelf for a while, Arum said he had no problem pitting Crawford against Spence in what would be one of the best matchups in recent memory.

“Absolutely,” said Arum when asked about working with Al Haymon’s Premier Boxing Champions, who represents Spence, to make the fight. Could any response from him be more exciting? Crawford vs. Spence might be the next superfight in boxing. Both fighters are among the very elite, and unlike what ultimately happened with Mayweather vs. Pacquiao, who fought each other well past their peak years, both would be in the prime of their careers.

Winning that fight would certainly go a long way to making Arum’s vision of Crawford’s future come true. And who knows? Maybe Crawford really is the next Mayweather or Pacquiao. Heck, for all we know, he could even be on his way to doing something more.

Check out more boxing news on video at The Boxing Channel

To comment on this article at The Fight Forum, CLICK HERE.

Continue Reading

Featured Articles

A Kaleidoscope of Boxers Guaranteed to Provide Action: Past and Present

Published

on

Marvelous Marvin

To set the tone for this article, one needs only to watch the way in which Thomas Hearns came out in the first round against Marvelous Marvin Hagler. He was ready to rock and roll as was his fearsome looking opponent. The ensuing unmitigated savagery was the quintessential illustration of full-tilt boogie.

For most boxing fans, the anticipation of an all-out action bout gets the chills running down spines faster than anything else. But not all, as some prefer a tactical or clinical fight that someone like Mikey Garcia can orchestrate and others –but not many—enjoy a defensive gem via a Willie Pep, Nicolino Locche, or Pernell Whitaker. A few love a genuine blood fest that a Gabe Rosado-type can provide, and who doesn’t like seeing something special as in Sugar Ray Leonard, Kostya Tszyu, Terence Crawford or Vasiliy Lomachenko?

Chill-or-be-chilled types like Bob Satterfield and Tommy Morrison were super exciting. In this connection—a certain cadre of warriors, past and present, would come out charging and stalking as soon as the bell rang. Many demonstrated a marked disdain for defense and used a non-stop, no let-up pressure that discouraged their opponents, especially in the late rounds. The anticipation from the crowd was palpable because it sensed some form of destruction was on its way. The cheering would start during the instructions and sometimes did not let up until the concussive end.

This cadre included Rocky Marciano, Tony Ayala, Vicious Victor Galindez, Jeff Fenech, Roberto Duran, and Julio Cesar Chavez (who sapped the spirit of his opponents by ripping away at their mid-section). Also, Carl “The Cat”  Thompson , chill-or-be-chilled Ricardo “Pajarito” Moreno (60-12-1 with 59 KOs),  Ron Lyle, the ultra-violent Edwin Valero, the appropriately nicknamed JulianMr KO” Letterlough, James “The Outlaw” Hughes and his mindboggling ability to snatch victory from certain defeat, Thai stalking monster Khaosai Galaxy (47-1),  the first version of George Foreman (pictured with the aforementioned Lyle), Ji-Hoon “Volcano” Kim, Ruslan  Provodnikov, Orlando “Siri” Salido, Marcos Maidana, Lenny Z, Alfredo “Perro” Angulo, Mike Alvarado, Brandon Rios, and Mickey Roman (the later four are still fighting but past their primes).

Others who presently incite the anticipation of something special include (but are not limited to) Naoya “Monster” Inoue (16-0), Errol “The Truth” Spence Jr (24-0), Srisaket Sor Rungvisai (46-4-1), Alex Saucedo (27-0), and, of course, Gennady “GGG” Golovkin (38-1-1) who now has become slightly more tactical like his nemesis, Canelo Alvarez (50-1-1).

These stand out as representative.

Past

A prime Mike Tyson—and the emphasis is on prime– was the epitome of a boxer who guaranteed action. One simply would not leave his or her seat when “Iron Mike” was doing his highlight reel thing, and his blowout of Michael Spinks punctuated his standing at the top of all-action type fighters, even if the action was usually non-mutual.

Joe Frazier came out smokin’ and would not let up until either he or his opponent were done. For the most part, decisions were not in Joe’s DNA and his left hook was as malicious as a hook can be. With Joe, you just sat back and enjoyed the action. Frazier, wrote boxing historian Tracy Callis,  “was a strong, ‘swarmer’ style boxer who applied great pressure on his opponent and dealt out tremendous punishment with a relentless attack of lefts and rights; His left hook was especially stiff and quick when delivered during his bob-and-weave perpetual attack; he fought three minutes per round and never seemed to tire.”

Carlos “Escopeta” (Shotgun) Monzon (87-3-9) was a powerful and rangy Argentinean killing machine, built like an iron rod. Some said he pushed his punches. Well if he did, he pushed 87 opponents to defeat. He also became only the second man to stop former three-time world champion Emile Griffith, turning the trick in the 14th round. Blessed with great and deceptive stamina and a solid chin, he seemingly was an irresistible force. He was unbeaten over the last 81 bouts of his career, a span of 13 years, and defended his title 14 times. “One would need to write a book in order to do justice to comparing a fighter of Carlos Monzon’s calibre to his fellow all-time greats,” wrote Mike Casey.

Arturo Gatti and Irish Micky Ward were the quintessential action fighters. One is gone amidst controversy, and hopefully the other will not pay a price for his many ring wars. With these two, just count up the Fights-of-the-Year and the rest is history. Suffice it to say that Gatti and Ward will be forever linked in boxing lore.

Until his fateful fight with Nigel Benn (another all-action fighter), Gerald McClellan was absolutely, positively, a stalking monster with dynamite in his gloves. It was ferocity and fury at its highest level and it was something to behold. Sadly, his fight with Benn left him permanently disabled; his story remains a dark stain on boxing. As Ian McNeilly notes, “one man’s finest hour was the end of another man’s life as he knew it.”

Michael “The Great” Katsidis’s all-action style made thrilling fights a lock. The Kat” was willing to take three to deliver one. It was blood and guts to the last drop. Whether he too exacted a heavy price for this style remains to be seen.

Lucia Rijker, AKA “The Dutch Destroyer,” lived up to her moniker and destroyed everyone in her path. Again, it wasn’t “if,” it was “when.”

Christy Martin (49-7-3) put female boxing on the map in the ‘90s and she did it by going undefeated in 36 straight encounters, running roughshod over her opponents as evidenced by her 25 wins by stoppage during this run. She also managed to steal the show from a Mike Tyson main event in 1996 during her memorable and bloody battle with Deirdre Gogarty.

Present

Deontay Wilder, aka “The Bronze Bomber,” has a record of 40-0.  With 39 wins coming by KO—many in spectacular fashion, The “Bomber” brings with him that same sense of anticipation that Tyson did. It’s not if; it’s when and “when” can occur at any time. But unlike Tyson, there is a vulnerability that Luis Ortiz exposed that makes the excitement index go even higher.

Dillian Whyte (24-1) has seldom been in a dull affair. His vulnerability combined with his mode of attack ensures thrilling action and the possibility of a stoppage at any time. Unlike Dereck “Del-Boy” Chisora, Whyte is consistently aggressive and dangerous.

Manny Pacquiao (60-7-2) has slowed down considerably but his recent stoppage win over Lucas Matthysse offers hope that he can still conjure up his exciting whirlwind style of fast in-an-out movements that allowed him to win multiple titles over several future Hall of Fame opponents between 2005 and 2011. A rematch with Floyd Mayweather Jr., if rumors are true, would allow Pac Man an opportunity to accomplish a number of extraordinary things including avenging a prior defeat and ruining Mayweather’s undefeated record. Time will tell.

Though he appears to have shot his wad, a prime Antonio Margarito was the classic stalk, stun, and kill fighter. Heck, he belonged on the Discovery Channel. His two blowouts of Kermit Cintron showed the “Tijuana Tornado” at his most brutal. His come-from-behind demolition of Miguel Cotto stands out for its drama and bloodletting—and subsequent speculative controversy.

David Lemieux (39-4) always brings the heat. His fights seldom end as scheduled. With KO power in both hands and a propensity to rehydrate by 20 pounds, he is the essence of danger and attendant excitement. “With the sheer power he carries, Lemieux will always have a shot at beating any middleweight, and he is almost always involved in good action fights,” says James Slater.

Amanda Serrano (35-1-1) is the only women’s boxer to win world titles in six divisions. The “Real Deal” is unique in that she has a high KO percentage (74 percent) which is rare for female boxers. Amanda is 120 seconds of guaranteed action for each round.

                                                         **********

While Iron Mike Tyson is THE MAN, Matthew Saad Muhammad also warrants special billing as he embodied what this article is all about. Steve Farhood summed up the essence of Saad Muhammad with an observation that would be appropriate for his tombstone: “Eddie Gregory (Mustafa Muhammad) has a better jab, Marvin Johnson wields more power, James Scott does more sit ups. But, Muhammad’s heart is the size of a turnbuckle, and it anchors his title reign.”

Who did I leave out? Whose name or names would you add to this list?

Check out more boxing news on video at The Boxing Channel

To comment on this article at The Fight Forum, CLICK HERE.

Continue Reading

Trending