Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Who Can Beat the Klitschkos?

Wladimir Klitschko destroyed Eddie Chambers last Saturday. I thought Chambers might actually give him fits, if not win, because of Chambers's ability to move. It’s not the first time I though a potential opponent might pose a stiff challenge to one of the Klitschkos. And it's not the first time I was dead wrong.

The Klitschkos are wildly underrated. They're not exciting in the ring. They're not brash outside of it. But both Wladimir and Vitali have perfected a style that enhances their gifts. They dominate distance with their jabs and always their mighty right hands are lurking.

Here now is a breakdown of the prospects of their potential opponents.

David Haye - I'm a fan of his. He's fun to watch, outspoken, athletic, and powerful. But besides a few world class fights at cruiserweight, he hasn't had much opposition. At heavyweight, he defeated the giant Nikolai Valuev. In two weeks, he'll fight John Ruiz. Those will be the two best heavyweights he has faced. Against, Valuev, who is much taller than the Klitschkos but not nearly as skilled, Haye struggled. He was reluctant to throw. Haye likes to heave bombs from the outside and was confused as to how to attack the considerably taller Valuev. Against either Klitschko, I see him suffering from the same issue, with far more devastating results.

Odlanier Solis - Solis is a legendary amateur boxer with vicious power. But his plodding stalking, one-punch style is tailor-made for the Klitschos. Solis would give nearly half a foot to either champion. Plus, Solis hasn't fought a single world class boxer in the pros. I don't see him so much as touching either one at this point.

Tomasz Adamek - Like Haye, he's a former cruiserweight champion. Adamek has power and has faired well against world class opposition. Adamek is fairly easy to hit though. But he has a better chance of at least putting pressure on either Klitschko than the above two contenders. The question is whether or not Adamek can take a powerful heavyweight's punch. We'll find out when he faces Chris Arreola. If he can, he still probably won't beat either champ, but at least he could give them the challenge they've lacked for some time now.

Bernard Hopkins - Yep. That's how depleted the heavyweight division has become. A 45-year old former middleweight champion probably has a better chance than anyone else to dethrone the Klitschkos. Hopkins would likely lose a decision to either brother, but he wouldn't get manhandled like the others.

Ones of the reasons that the talent in the heavyweight division is so meager is once a fighter beats a halfway decent opponent, they challenge for the title before they're ready. Both Haye and Solis should take on a few world class foes before jumping. Beat a Ruslan Chagaev. Challenge Chambers. Alexander Povetkin has won against Chambers and Chris Byrd. That's a start for him at least. Neither Haye nor Solis has fought a heavyweight even to that ability. Adamek seems to be taking a better approach, another reason why I like his chances more than the first two. Hopkins would need at least one fight at heavyweight, as to not be so awed by the Ukrainians' size. Basically, the bottom line becomes: the Klitschkos are pretty great.

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