Sharkie’s Machine: Vitali Klitschko Dispatches J.C. Gomez by TKO in Nine
By Frank Gonzalez Jr., exclusive to DoghouseBoxing (Mar 22, 2009)  
In a tiny boxing ring at the Hanns Martin Schleyer Halle in Stuttgart Germany, WBC titlist Vitali Klitschko (37-2, 36 KO’s) took on challenger (former Cruiser-weight champ) Juan Carlos Gomez (44-2, 35 KO’s). It was shown here in the States, compliments of ESPN2, who did a fair job covering the fight, in spite of a few annoying commercial interruptions.

Gomez and Klitschko are no strangers to each other’s styles as they have sparred in the past. Gomez
is a pretty good boxer and he did well in the first round, landing a few clean lefts after spending the first two and a half minutes in a pawing contest with Vitali, who was in feel-out mode, looking to see if there were any new wrinkles in Gomez game. Both had a good idea of how to beat the other but only one man had the power and inclination to make it happen.

Gomez won the first round because he landed the only noteworthy punches but after that, it was all Vitali Klitschko, who took charge with his long jab and follow up rights that were scoring more and more, round after round. Gomez was a game opponent and gave Klitschko a better fight than Sam Peter did last year. Gomez, a southpaw, used his right jab often to force Klitschko backwards and try to land his left in close. That worked in spots but Klitschko was finding Gomez easier to counter as the rounds went by. Gomez took a big shot to the right eye and it swelled. In the fifth round, another Vitali right opened a streaming cut over Gomez right eye. Klitschko issued a beating in the sixth, landing practically at will with thudding punches. He floored Gomez with a big right in the seventh and saw Gomez nearly turn his back on the fight in the eighth. But Gomez instead turned to fight and did so until being floored again in the ninth from another Klitschko right hand.

During another exchange in the ninth, Klitschko landed a left to the face and Gomez moved in to clinch. Gomez suffered a cut on his left eye and the ref took a point from Klitschko for an intentional head butt (?). I didn’t see any head butt. When action resumed, Klitschko landed a battery of punches that were wrecking Gomez, who smelling his own doom, fought back like a man. Soon enough, Klitschko landed a left followed by a wide right that put Gomez down again. After Gomez beat the count, Klitschko went for the finish and pummeled Gomez into the ropes, nearly through the ropes, when the referee stopped the fight. No controversy about that stoppage. The time was 1:49 of round nine.

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During the post fight interview, Klitschko spoke kindly of Gomez, saying he was a harder opponent than Sam Peter was and that Gomez took many big shots well and is a classy fighter. He didn’t call anyone out from what I could gather from the interpreted interview from German to English.

Congratulations to Vitali Klitschko in his first title defense since coming back last year. What’s next?

The most logical road for Vitali would involve a fight with unbeaten WBA titlist, Uzbekistan’s Ruslan Chagaev (25-0-1, 17 KO’s), who like Vitali has been away from the ring for a while but made his comeback in February, winning by TKO 6 over Carl Drummond (who was undefeated at 26-0 coming in). So, Chagaev should be available in a few months. Chagaev, a southpaw at six foot, one inch tall is short compared to the six foot seven Vitali, but Ruslan is a good boxer, a fellow titlist and certainly a worthy opponent. Plus, Chagaev fights out of Germany , where the Ukrainian Klitschko is a big star, so this would be a huge money maker for all parties involved. It makes good sense to make this fight. If Klitschko were to beat Chagaev and take the WBA title, then he and his brother Wladimir would own two major titles each. Can their dream get any completer than that?

I suspect Vitali’s handlers may want to take the easy road and fight Nicolay Valuev (50-1, 34 KO’s) but that would be a total mismatch in favor of Vitali. Valuev is just too slow and plodding to make entertaining fights against anybody. Plus, Valuev doesn’t deserve it, not that deserve ever has anything to do with how boxing is administered.

An appealing fight for either of the Klitschko’s would involve Alexander Dimitrenko (29-0, 19KO’s), a fellow Ukrainian who is also six foot seven, like Vitali. Other considerations include Alexander Povetkin (16-0, 12 KO’s) or David Haye (22-1, 21 KO’s). What about an exciting wild card match up with the likes of rising star Chris Arreola (26-0, 23KO’)?

Maybe Arreola should just fight Haye anyway and let the winner fight either Vitali or Wladimir Klitschko. Arreola is still a bit green but he can take a punch and come back with barrages of punches. In a word, he’s dangerous. The question is can his Arreola’s will overcome the size, power and skill of either Klitschko? Maybe not at this point, but it sure would sell tickets!

There’s some talk of Vitali fighting Oleg Maskaev as a mandatory but that fight has little appeal at this time. Oleg is a good boxer but he’s always been a bit slow and is past his best days by now. In the absence of a legit ranking system, all we can do is sit back and see what the promoters decide to give us.

We know Vitali will not fight the number one HW in the division, his younger brother Wladimir Klitschko. And its my opinion that they shouldn’t fight each other. Blood should always be thicker than business. They’re dream of being Heavyweight Champs at the same time has come. Vitali looks like he may have one or two good fights left so maybe he fights one more and calls it a career.

But if the brothers did fight, you know, in some alternative ‘Universum’ somewhere in another dimension, I’d have to go with Vitali by KO late. Vitali is definitely the tougher of the two but arguments can be made that Wlad is faster and the better boxer, who might jab his way right through his brother’s guard and test Vitali’s chin with a big right hand like nobody has since Lennox Lewis did a few years ago.

As for the hype surrounding David Haye (22-1, 21 KO’s), let him get past someone like Alexander Povetkin (16-0, 12 KO’s) before even thinking about fighting for a title. While Haye is strong on offense, Povetkin is as persistent a fighter as I’ve ever seen. He beat the technically superior Eddie Chambers with sheer will. Hey let Haye fight Eddie Chambers! That’d be a good one. There may be life after all in the HW division.

Comments, Questions, can be emailed to dshark87@hotmail.com.







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