Sometimes the world does not recognize genius until it is too late.
With his situation not as dire as the one of a Dutch painter in the 19th century, the top heavyweight on the planet Wladimir Klitschko is not a household name among American boxing fans. In fact, his last Saturday’s heavyweight title defense against number one American contender Fast Eddie Chambers that took place at a sold out ESPRIT Arena in Dusseldorf, Germany was not even televised in United Sates. One of the HBO executives cited the reason for not televising the event was that since the older brother Vitali came out of retirement, the American public could not differentiate between the two. After talking with a fair share of boxing fans I have to admit; it is a fair assessment. But wouldn’t that be the exact reason to televise the event?
Viewing live action via internet, I was able to observe shaped like an Adonis, supremely confident champion, Wladimir Klitschko systematically dismantle his opponent Fast Eddie Chambers over twelve one sided rounds and finally knock him out with seconds left in the fight. Fast Eddie had absolutely no answer against a weapon of choice of his adversary, a steel hammer like jab that was coming his way and penetrating the guard on regular basis. A giant of a man at six foot seven inches Klitschko moved around the ring with a grace of a welterweight, consistently throwing hard left jab befuddling Eddie with it; Wladimir could have won the fight with just a jab, because not much was coming back in return, but he was mixing it up with right hands, one of which staggered Chambers badly in the second stanza. To his credit Eddie did try a few things; he lifted the champion after clinch and slammed him to the ground in the second round to show the world that he would not be intimidated and he did try to get inside from time to time and land some body shots, but those attempts were too few to matter. Mostly Eddie was on the defense covering up, eerily reminding Joshua Clottey taking a beating a week ago from Manny Pacquiao. For all practical purposes, the fight was over after the seventh round as Eddie had no chance of hurting the champion and was just getting beat up round after round. I thought the fight could have been stopped after nine to allow Chambers to fight another day, but his team kept sending him out and urging him to fight without actually giving him any practical advice.
What really disturbed me was that team Chambers allowed Eddie to come out for the final round, thus putting him in harms way for no reason at all; Chambers was pretty bruised up by then and lost all eleven rounds and possessing no power to speak of , he had no chance of winning the fight. The only person really animated was Emanuel Stewart, Wladimir’s chief trainer who kept asking Klitschko to finish the job and to not let this fight go to another crappy decision. Even though it is very hard to stop a boxer who doesn’t want to be knocked out and just covers up, Klitschko did listen to his trainer and desperately wanting to make fifty one thousand in attendance happy, he came out for the final round with a pernicious look in his eyes. Wladimir intensified his attack and kept driving depleted Chambers back with crisp combinations. Finally with an American fighter against the ropes and only few seconds left in the contest, Klitschko landed a short left hook that Eddie did not see because he was covering up. The punch that hurts the most is the one you do not see. And that is exactly what happened to Chambers who went down through the ropes face first at which point every one observing instantly knew that he was not getting up any time soon. After spending a few anxious minutes on the canvas Eddie did get up, but he could not remember the knock down.
Always a consummate sportsman Klitschko had high praise for his opponent: “Chambers is an extraordinary boxer. He is very, very quick and preemptive. In the last rounds I gave everything and I am very happy about the result. To me Chambers gave up mentally after round six. It’s hard to hit somebody who is very passive and tries not to be knocked out.”
Despite a brilliant performance and a dramatic stoppage Wladimir did not get a lot of love from American media. Most called the fight boring until the final round.
Klitschko’s complete dominance over his opponents has become his curse. All fights involving Wladimir lately are predictable one sided beatings that lack drama or excitement. The only opponent for Klitschko at this point in time that would interest the American TV networks and fans would be David Hay. However , should Wladimir destroy him in a similar fashion to the way he did all of his previous opponents, he will get no credit at all as Hay is an over blown cruiserweight.
May be just like Van Gogh, the only way Klitschko will get recognized as a greatest heavyweight of our era, will be postmortem. Or may be an opponent will appear that would be able to bring out the best out of the current champion and cause the heavyweight division to return to its days of glory.