Wladimir Klitschko's Right Hands Stop Chris Byrd in The 7th Round
By Chris Robinson, BRC (April 24, 2006)
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Saturday at the SAP-Arena in Mannheim, Germany, Wladimir Klitschko once again proved to be Chris Byrd’s foil, stopping the brave former Champion in the 7th round and capturing Byrd’s IBF belt in the process. For Klitschko this marks yet another big victory under the reigns of trainer Emmanuel Steward and for Byrd this very well may be the end of his ride as a top Heavyweight in the sport.

Over five years ago Klitschko and Byrd engaged in battle, with Klitschko dropping Byrd twice and dominating the action with his size and power punches. Tonight it was more of the same as Klitschko felt Byrd out early before heating up and tagging Chris with powerful right hand shots. Klitschko dropped Byrd in the 5th and the American looked to be in severe trouble. Klitschko went in for the kill but Byrd’s experience and great toughness allowed him to hang in there and momentarily weather the storm.

Klitschko won the sixth convincingly before again catching Byrd with a series of right hands which once again dropped him to the canvas. Byrd rose to his feet but referee Wayne Kelly had seen enough and called a halt to the bout 41 seconds into the round.

Wladimir is once again a champion and surely some big fights should follow but I must take the time to tip my hat to Chris Byrd. Throughout his career Chris Byrd has fought as a smaller man in a big man’s land and has success doing it. He has been criticized immensely in the past for the lack of action that his fights generate, but without carrying a big punch with him he didn’t always have that luxury and simply had to look out for himself.

Simply put, from a Heavyweight perspective Chris Byrd simply had to deal with the cards that were dealt to him and often found himself in uphill battles against bigger men. He wasn’t the most exciting of fighters but he had heart, a very good chin, the willingness to fight the best, and often traveled to opponent’s backyards to meet his fate. At the end of the day the man was a solid champion who got by with his defensive skill and ring savvy. Things look rather bleak for Chris at this time and who knows how the rest of his career will materialize but from me he will always receive a great amount of respect.

As far as Wladimir Klitschko is concerned, this was another big win for him and puts him even deeper in the Heavyweight mix. In his last two fights he has beaten a fierce puncher in Samuel Peter and a slick boxer in Byrd. It does appear time for Klitschko to show us whether or not he can return his game to the top level and here’s hoping he can find the right challenges in front of him to truly give us a definitive answer.

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