Wladimir Klitschko Puts on A Clinic and Stops Ruslan Chagaev in Nine
By Gabriel Montoya, MaxBoxing (June 21, 2009) Article provided by MaxBoxing (Photo © German Villasenor)  
In front of 60,000 people at the Veltins Arena in Gelsenkirchen, Germany, the largest indoor audience ever for a fight in Europe, Wladimir “Dr. Steelhammer” Klitschko (53-3 47 KOs) scored a technical knockout of Ruslan “White Tyson” Chagaev (25-1-1 with 17 KOs) after nine punishing, chess match-like rounds. The fight, pitting the number one heavyweight in Klitshcko and the number three heavyweight in Chagaev, gives us the first clear heavyweight champion since 2003 when former undisputed champ Lennox Lewis retired. For years, many had considered Klitschko, who holds several
portions of the heavyweight crown, to be the man to beat in the division; Saturday’s fight and its outcome solidified that status.

From the outset, Klitshcko controlled the action with jab, pistoning it in on Chagaev’s tight, high guard. While the southpaw Chagaev picked off a lot of shots, he wasn’t able to counter effectively. He got in a jab to the body here, a left to the body there but having to lunge for it took steam of his shots. Klitshcko, under the tutelage of hall of fame trainer Manny Steward, has shown much patience and relaxation in his game over the years and it showed here as he calmly blocked shots and came back with a smooth jab-right hands through out the round.

Round two began much the same way with Klitshcko landing the jab or at least jamming into Chagaev’s guard and keeping him at bay and tentative with own his own punches. Chagaev picked off most of these shots but the occasional right hand dropped in. For his part, White Tyson was getting in a few shots here and there. A left to the head and a right to the body, looping in a right hook. However, as before, the shots were so few and far between that they had little effect if any. Klitschko, who is 6’6” to Chagaev’s 6’1”, easily kept
his range with solid footwork and that jab. Fading in and out before jabbing or countering with the right. A right hand off the jab stunned and dropped Chagaev but he hoped back up quickly and didn’t seem so much hurt as surprised. Klitshcko explored whether he was hurt or not but stayed patience and steady.

The fight progressed like this over the course of the next few round. Jab, jab, jab, another jab, right hand from Klitshcko. Chagaev, waiting, moving his head, lunging with the jab and landing an occasional left hand but never really closing the gap effectively. He would flurry and get inside but once there, Klitshcko would tie him up and referee Eddie Cotton would break them quickly. Not exactly compelling stuff but effective if you’re Wladimir Klitschko.

In the sixth and seventh, Chagaev seemed much more aggressive, a sense of urgency or desperation setting in and he let his hands go more and rushed at Klitshcko in an attempt to get some momentum going. These were his best rounds as suddenly he began slipping the right hand and the jab and getting to the body of Klitshcko. But either the effort was too much to keep going, Klitshcko adjusted or was simply taking the rounds off because in the eight and ninth, he began to step up his attack.

Chagaev, now cut over his left eye from a Klitshcko right hand, seemed to wilt, retreating to the ropes, moving his head to signal he was still in the fight and dangerous, but not mounting much of an assault. It began to get ugly for him as Klitschko let go with jab right hands time and again and was beginning to land more flush and more often. By the end of nine, it was clear no late rally would happen. Klitshcko, who was economical in both his attack and the energy he used throughout simply was not going to tire or make a costly mistake to let Chagaev back in the fight.

At the end of nine, the corner of Chagaev stopped the fight and referee Eddie Cotton waved it off. The official result is a TKO round nine.

Where Klitschko goes from here remains to be seen. The number 2 heavyweight in the world is his brother Vitali, whom Wladimir has vowed never to fight. That leaves it to his sanctioning body mandatory defenses in Alexander Povetkin and Alexander Dimitrenko to lead the charge to dethrone the heavyweight king. American heavyweight Chris Arreola and cruiserweight turned heavyweight David Haye are also in the mix though thought to be the dark horses in this race.

The fight itself was not must-see-TV. It was however, fighting at a high level. While many will criticize the fight as boring or say Chagaev was overrated all this time, much credit has to be given to Klitschko who makes every opponent these days tentative as he controls them with his jab and hard right hand usually en route to a stoppage. It may not be exciting but it’s effective stuff and for now, it’s the style to beat in the heavyweight division.

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