Sharkie's Machine: Vitali Klitschko Shuts Out Kevin Johnson
By Frank Gonzalez Jr., exclusive to Doghouse Boxing (Dec 13, 2009)  
Maybe Heavyweight contender Kevin Johnson should join the Peace Corps or something where his non violent approach to fighting is appreciated. Johnson showed a durable chin and some ability on defense. He even showed he could talk smack while being punched without returning fire. But what he showed most was a disturbing, non offensive approach to the sweet science. How Kevin Johnson even qualified to fight a World Title is another interesting question. I guess Vitali needs to stay busy.

Heavyweight titlist Vitali Klitschko (39-2, 37 KO’s) did what he usually does, throw his long steady jab and follow up combinations that include the right hand. In this fight, like most others, Klitschko was the aggressor. Actually, Klitschko was the only one doing any of the fighting. Miraculously Johnson landed a jab that started a cut over Vitali’s right eye. But did he ever follow up? No. When it was all over, after 12 rounds, the punch counters had Kevin Johnson landing a total of five punches in the fight. Yeah, that sounds about right.

Fight of the Year? Not by a long shot. Entertaining? It was hardly worth sitting through for nearly an hour. The only thing I took away from this fight was that Vitali Klitschko may have fought with a shoulder injury or some problem with his right hand because he rarely used it. Throughout the fight, Klitschko had a look of discomfort and vulnerability yet, whatever was bothering him, he fought consistently in every round with the intent to win. That he couldn’t land a shot that would finish off the pacifist Johnson may inspire questions, particularly in what may have been the least inspiring fight I’ve seen him in. I wondered if Vitali Klitschko is approaching the down side of his career. He’s 38 years old and was away from the ring for four years and though he’s been spectacular since his return, that’s mostly on account of the unspectacular opposition available at HW.

The dream of the Klitschko brothers was that they’d both be HW Champions at the same time. That dream is the current reality and has been so since last year, when Vitali returned and issued a beating to Sam Peter to regain his title. What comes next after your dream comes true? Where does Vitali go from here? He’s not going to fight his brother Wladimir, so who else is out there that’s even worth all that training and dedication? One name that comes to mind is Russia ’s Alexander Povetkin, who beat “Fast” Eddie Chambers last year with his high work rate and will to win. Chambers was out boxing Povetkin early, winning the first few rounds until suddenly Chambers went into a defensive shell and never came out of it, while Povetkin issued Fast Eddie his only pro loss by mostly outworking him. Maybe Vitali can fight Chambers too if he plans on hanging around another year or so. But how many fights does Vitali have left?

If Kevin Johnson had any offense to speak of, this fight may have been a tough one for Vitali because to Johnson’s credit, he had a good chin and some slippery defense. I couldn’t believe Johnson was talking smack while losing every single round and then at the final bell, he suddenly wanted to go to war. All that posturing for nothing. I guess for Johnson, just going the distance with the top HW in the world was enough to satisfy. But in about a year, it’s possible that Chris Arreola may develop better skills, enough to feel ready for a rematch with Vitali. Let’s hope so, since all the potentially great American Heavyweights are playing Football in the NFL.

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