Thursday, December 01, 2022  |



Weekend Review: Klitschko’s big night



Wladimir Klitschko: THE RING heavyweight champion will continue to have his critics, who want him to take more risks in the ring to facilitate more excitement. And they’ll point to Ruslan Chagaev as just another in a long line of stiffs on the big Ukrainian’s resume, which isn’t the truth. Chagaev is a solid heavyweight with solid credentials who came to fight on Saturday. The fact is that Klitschko is very good at what he does. He has evolved into a polished, confident boxer who knows how to use his height and reach to befuddle his opponents and drop right-handed bombs when the opportunity is there. He’s a dominating heavyweight who deserves more credit than he typically receives.


Ruslan Chagaev The Uzbek was hardly a loser on Saturday night in at least one sense. He tried mightily for nine solid rounds to figure out a way to get to Klitschko and demonstrated a terrific chin; his ability to absorb those right hands was remarkable. That said, the fact he was rendered helpless was a black mark on his record. He received a tremendous opportunity against Klitschko but failed miserably to take advantage of it. He went from an undefeated former amateur champion with considerable boxing ability to an overgrown punching bag who is now just another contender who will jockey for position among other Eastern Europeans. It was a considerable fall.


German fans: The 60,000 people who packed Veltins-Arena in Gelsenkirchen were in high spirits before the fight on Saturday and certainly enjoyed seeing their adopted son come out victorious. However, they would’ve enjoyed a more-competitive fight and more action. The one-sided nature of the main event sucked much of the energy out of the crowd. Many onlookers seemed to become bored at the predictable pattern that took hold round after round. Some fell back on that which they are most familiar – singing the theme song of the area soccer team, which calls the stadium home. Those who have attended soccer games there said the atmosphere on Saturday was absolutely nothing like a home game.


Klitschko-Chagaev: In the United States, the promoter is responsible for financing any pre-fight entertainment. In Germany, the television networks are responsible for that part of the show – and they don’t hold back. On Saturday, when Klitschko made his ring walk, the fans were treated to a world-class pyrotechnic show complete with spotlights, giant torches, fireworks and live music in the enclosed stadium. Such a show might not even be legal in the U.S. but it sure was fun to witness in Germany. The powers that be in U.S. boxing would do themselves a favor by emulating the Germans, even if it means spending some money.


Chris Arreola: Klitschko probably will fight either David Haye or Chris Arreola in his next fight, possibly in September. The Haye fight is a natural considering the animosity between the fighters. However, Arreola might be a better option now. Klitschko still likes the idea of building his name in the U.S. and what better way to do it than face the most-exciting American heavyweight at Staples Center in Los Angeles? Arreola probably wouldn’t have much more success against Klitschko than his other recent opponents but, unless he folds under the pressure, the L.A.-area product would go down swinging. The concept is enticing.


Jean Pascal: The athletic Canadian light heavyweight failed in his first chance to win a major title when he lost a competitive, but clear unanimous decision against Carl Froch in a super middleweight title bout in December. Pascal didn’t waste his second opportunity, winning an equally clear decision over previously unbeaten Adrian Diaconu to take a major 175-pound title. The 26-year-old Haitian immigrant fought a smart fight but was aggressive when he had to be, which made for an entertaining matchup. Pascal put Diaconu down in the fifth round but both fighters were rocked multiple times.


Chris John: The talented Indonesian featherweight, rated No. 1 by THE RING, seemed poised to show off his considerable skills in his rematch with Rocky Juarez on Saturday at Staples Center in Los Angeles but pulled out because of illness. John also was ill leading up to his first fight against Juarez, in February, and fought to a disputed draw. Most observers thought John won. A healthy John had hoped to make amends for that slip up and begin in earnest to make a name for himself in the United States. Now he’ll have to wait. John reportedly passed out during sparring as a result of some kind of blood disorder.


Garay-Campillo: Argentine Hugo Garay hadn’t really lost a fight since he fell to Zsolt Erdei in 2005 (aside from a DQ for hitting Franco Sanchez when he was down in 2007) going into his second title defense against Gabriel Campillo of Spain on Saturday in Argentina. Campillo was a relative unknown with no significant victories on his record yet went into hostile territory and pulled out a majority decision to take a major belt. Campillo (18-2, 6 KOs) is a 6-foot-2 southpaw with little power who reportedly wore Garay down to take control of the fight in the later rounds.


Wladimir Klitschko: “I’m not eager to prove my chin, which is made of glass.” THE RING heavyweight champion was joking about the perception that he can’t take a punch because of his three knockout losses.