Are the Klitschkos Good for Boxing?
By Ken Hissner (Oct 25, 2010) Doghouse Boxing  
The latest move by HBO to stop broadcasting Vitali and Wladimir Klitschko’s fights at this time was a major setback for the brothers! The US audience does not appreciate the “safety first” style of both. The brothers have formed their own company called K2 Promotions.

The rumor is they do not pay their opponents much. In September K2 outbid Sauerland of Germany 8.3 to 4.25 million with Wladimir getting 6.2 million to Alexander Povetkin’s 2.1. A 75-25 split. The fight fell through when Povetkin’s people realized their fighter was not quite ready. K2 can outbid anyone and give a large percentage back to either Klitschko.

Wladimir has a defense coming up December 11th in Germany. It will mean he has made 10 defenses in Germany and 5 in the US. His last 6 defenses have been in Germany. He has won and lost titles there.

Vitali just defended his title in Germany in October. In his 9 defenses 6 have been in Germany, 2 in the US and 1 in Switzerland. He won his title in the UK, lost it in Germany and re-won his title in the US. Of his last 6 defenses 4 have been in Germany and 1 each in the US and Switzerland. There was a 4 year absence from the ring during this period of time from December of 2004 to October of 2008.

Vitali Klitschko first won the WBO title in 1999 from Herbie Hide. He lost the title in 2000. In 2004 he beat Corrie Sanders for the vacant WBC title. In 2008 after a 4 year absence he returned to the ring to re-gain the title. He has had 9 defenses so far and is now holding the WBC title. Wladimir Klitschko in 2000 won the IBF title from Chris Byrd who had won it from Vitali. He made 5 defenses before losing to Sanders. He regained the IBF title in 2006 defeating Byrd. In 2008 he added the WBO title defeating Sultan Ibragimov and has made 9 more defenses bringing it to 14 total defenses.

How many times have we heard trainer Manny Steward out of frustration in the corner urge Wladimir Klitschko to “get out there and end it”! The German people where his other fights have taken place seem much more tolerant of that “wait until you opponent is all but defenseless before taking him out.”

Vitali fought Chris Arreola at Staples Center in September of 2009 on HBO. His 2 previous fights from Germany were not on HBO. After retiring in the corner in the Chris Byrd fight in 2000 HBO was reluctant to using him until 6 fights later when he fought Lennox Lewis. His courage in that fight won the fans over. His next 2 fights both in the US were on HBO. His last fight before retiring was in the US and not on HBO. He has fought 5 times for the network.

Wladimir has had quite a few fights on HBO starting back in 2000 with Monte Barrett from the UK. Next up was winning the title from Chris Byrd in Germany which was not broadcasted live. His next 2 defenses were on HBO but not the Frans Botha bout. He followed with 3 fights until he lost to Corrie Sanders. His next 2 fights were off air before he returned with Lamon Brewster for the vacant title that he lost.

In 2005 Wladimir had 2 HBO fights before regaining the title from Chris Byrd. His next 6 fights were on HBO. His last 3 fights and the next scheduled one were not picked up by HBO since defeating Hasim Rahman in December of 2008. In all he has had 16 HBO bouts live of which 7 were in the US. The bottom line is their last 3 fights have been off HBO with Wladimir’s fight in December also not picked up at this time and since few people ever heard of Dereck Chisora, 14-0, I doubt this one will.

They had a good thing going. The heavyweight division hasn’t been exciting since Mike Tyson’s title defenses even if they only last a round or two. Ali brought a pure boxers style into the world championship. The heavyweight division in general is possibly the least exciting division in boxing for most fans. Vitali drew 14,500 people to his last fight with 38 year old Shannon Briggs in Germany. Though Vitali is 39 he is certainly in the shape of a younger man as is his 34 year old brother Wladimir.

In looking at their knockout percentages you would think both are very exciting on paper. Vitali is 41-2 with 38 knockouts. Wladimir is 55-3 with 49 knockouts. The US fan’s like to see the brothers in with US fighters and not 2 Europeans fighting each other. The problem is the US boxers are usually not high in the rankings to challenge for the title.

The IBF ratings have No. 5 Eddie Chambers from the US who may be getting into an elimination tournament with 3 others soon. He had his shot at Wladimir in March of this year getting stopped in the tenth round. No. 8 Chris Arreola from the US was stopped by Vitali in September of 2009. That’s the only 2 US contenders in the IBF.

The WBC has 39 year old Ray Austin No. 1 who in December will meet the Cuban Odlanier Solis who is No. 2 in an elimination bout. Other contenders are Arreola, Derrick Rossy, Johnathan Banks and Briggs. Not much to bring HBO in unless Solis, 16-0, whose last 4 fights have been in the US impresses. Austin will have not fought in over a year by then.

The WBO only has Chauncy Welliver of the US at No. 9 who spends as much time in New Zealand as he does in the US having 12 of his last 14 fights out of the US. The WBA doesn’t have anyone except Hasim Rahman who is ranked No. 14 in their top 15. The amateurs have produced very little in the US. In 2008 their lone medal winner was Deontay Wilder winning a Bronze. He is 13-0 with 13 knockouts over limited competition. He has yet to have an 8 rounder.

The UK’s David Haye won the WBA title from Nikolay Valuev in November of 2009. He defended it once and is scheduled to defend against Audley Harrison of the UK in November of 2010. Negotiations to fight the Klitschko’s have broken down. Vitali holding only one title would be the likely brother to fight Haye.

I’m afraid the days of Ali and Tyson are a thing of the past. Maybe another Teofilo Stevenson will land on the shores of the US from Cuba or there will be yet another division for super heavyweights!

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