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Thoughts on Klitschko-Brewster
By Orlando Rios, Jr. (April 12, 2004) 
Lamon Brewster
I hadn’t really given much thought on the Wladimir Klitschko-Lamon Brewster bout, but as fight time approached, my pre-fight feelings were leaning towards Klitschko winning the match. But then I saw the news conference where Lamon Brewster told Klitschko that he was dedicating the fight to Bill Slayton, his former trainer who had passed away several months earlier, and that Klitschko would have to kill him to beat him.

My feelings towards the outcome quickly changed, and for a second, I wished that someone other than Wladimir Klitschko would be fighting Brewster that night. I feared Brewster would be fighting with a heavy chip on his shoulder and Wladimir would be on the receiving end of a very emotional fight. Brewster dedicating the fight to his long time trainer, Bill Slayton, and then going out and defeating Wladimir Klitschko reminded me of Rocky 3.

During the fight, a couple of things were apparent to me. For one, Klitschko was dominant in the early part of the fight, and seemed to have picked up on the advice of Emmanuel Steward by holding and leaning on Brewster, which was a trademark of Lennox Lewis. Wladimir was bigger, stronger, and for a while, I thought Wladimir had the fight in hand. He was landing his punches with pop, and as long as he kept Brewster at a jab’s length away, it appeared that he would wear him down, and probably drop him, much in the same manner that brother Vitali Klitschko did to Kirk Johnson.

But as Klitschko dominated, I had this fragile feeling, that one big shot would end it for Wladimir. At a time of great dominance and even after dropping Brewster in the 4th, I couldn’t help, but think that Klitschko was just one big shot away from going down. Klitschko was dropping his hands, almost waist high and was exposing the right side of his chin, which is an invite for a left hook. Brewster, who though took a beating, continued to pressure Klitschko, and almost seemed to be baiting him, looking to tire Klitschko out for the later rounds.

In round 5, Brewster caught Wladimir with a big left hook that stunned Klitschko into the ropes and into a subsequent standing 8 count from referee Robert Byrd. With less than 40 seconds left in the round, Brewster, now fully re-energized, continued to rock Klitschko, and for a moment, it seemed as if Byrd was going to stop the fight. As the bell sounded, it appeared that Klitschko might survive, but instead Wladimir crumbled to the canvas, looking completely out of it. Byrd tried to get Wladimir up, and when he finally did, Klitschko looked in no condition to keep going and the fight was stopped.

In his corner, Wladimir Klitschko looked sick and fatigued to a point of which I’ve never seen a boxer in. David Blaine, the famous street magician looked in better condition after he was frozen in ice for 3 days in New York City back in 2000. Almost immediately, word spread that Wladimir Klitschko was another Michael Grant (heavyweight with no chin) and should retire.
But in this case, I don’t believe that it was necessarily Klitschko’s chin that cost him. Everyone is talking about Klitschko’s chin, but how about crediting Brewster for the mental job he did on Klitschko. It seemed to me almost as if Brewster was playing possum for the most part of the fight, and especially in the early part of the round 5, where Brewster had no legs and seemed to resemble the rag doll like knockdowns in Fight Night 2004. From the opening bell, Brewster brought the fight to Klitschko, charging at him, instantly letting him know that he wasn’t going anywhere. Brewster took a pounding and was eventually dropped in round 4, but as early as round 2, Klitschko looked tired and was breathing through his mouth, an obvious sign of fatigue. To me at least, Brewster pulled the “rope-a-dope”, only without the ropes. He tired out Klitschko and knew that one big punch was all he needed to rock him, and his 3rd round shot on Klitschko proved that.

Going into the Corrie Sanders fight, Wladimir Klitschko had a sense of invincibility and a potential heavyweight title fight with Lennox Lewis loomed. But that quickly changed, as Wladimir was floored four times in a stunning two round knockout loss. The loss sent shock waves through out the heavyweight division, and Wladimir’s career too many was in jeopardy if he were to take another such beating. His chin was suddenly suspect, and going into the Brewster fight, a cloud of uncertainty loomed above Wladimir Klitschko.

As Klitschko was taken to the ropes in round 5 following Brewster’s left hook, you got the sense that it was all falling apart for Wladimir. A fighter of great potential, Wladimir was considered to be the better of the Klitschko brothers, and to be the eventual heir to the heavyweight crown, which was long ruled by Lennox Lewis. But now, following a second devastating loss, the question looms, is Wladimir Klitschko done?

Time will eventually answer this question, but for now, boxing fans will continue to argue as to what exactly happened or went wrong with Wladimir Klitschko.
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