Sunday, March 26, 2023  |


Klitschko demonstrates again that he’s all but unbeatable


And so we’re left to wonder again whether anyone can compete with the Klitschko brothers.

Eddie Chambers climbed into the ring to face Wladimir Klitschko on Saturday in Dusseldorf, Germany, as talented and confident as any of Klitschko’s opponents in recent years. Chambers left it the same as all the rest, a beaten, frustrated man.

THE RING champion did what he always does, wear down a smaller man with his heavy, incessant left jab and the most-powerful right in boxing. Chambers, like his predecessors, simply couldn’t find a way to get anything done.

And the giant Ukrainian finished the show in devastating fashion even when it appeared Chambers would survive the distance, ending the fight instantly with a crushing left hook in the final seconds of the final round.

Klitschko (54-3, 48 knockouts) has now won 11 consecutive fights since his last loss, in 2004, and scored his fourth straight knockout. His brother, Vitali, who employs a similar system of fighting, hasn’t lost since 2003.

“I knew I could outbox him,” Klitschko said in the ring immediately after the fight. “I knew it would be tough for him. Still, it was a tough fight for me. It was an awkward fight. It was difficult to get him out of there. It’s never easy to look good against someone like that.”

Chambers (35-2, 18 KOs) had some reason to be confident going into the fight in spite of his obvious size disadvantage – he’s listed at 6-foot-1, 209¾ pounds, Klitschko at 6-6¾, 244¾.

The Philadelphian, whose strengths are his boxing skills and quickness, was coming off an impressive majority-decision victory over 6-7 and then-unbeaten Alexander Dimitrenko in July in Hamburg, Germany. Chambers acknowledged beforehand that Klitschko is better than Dimitrenko but genuinely seemed to believe the result would be the same.

However, he learned what most of those who came before him learned: It’s almost impossible to cope with the Klitschko brothers' system, which is to use their height advantage by keeping the jab in the opponent’s face, follow up with hard rights and hold when the opponent gets inside.

Chambers started out with considerable energy but was worn down both physically and emotionally by the middle rounds, when it became clear who would win.

The most-interesting moments in the fight until the dramatic knockout probably were the spirited exchanges between the respective trainers and their fighters.

Rob Murray Sr. repeatedly pleaded with Chambers to throw more punches, “to fight him,” but that was easier said than done. And Emanuel Steward was plainly frustrated by the 11th round that his man hadn’t scored a knockout, once comparing Klitschko’s effort to his painfully boring victory over Sultan Ibragimov in 2008. Klitschko rolled his eyes.

Steward continued to badger Klitschko before the 12th round until the fighter finally fired back, saying “Relax Emanuel, I’ll try, I’ll try.”

Try he did. Klitschko, obviously convinced that Chambers couldn't hurt him, attacked with everything he had. Still, it appeared as time wound down that Chambers, a very good defensive boxer, would at least be able to claim he went 12 rounds with the highest-rated heavyweight in the world.

And then BAM! A compact left hook to the temple that sent Chambers slumping against the ropes and onto the canvas, the top half of his body hanging over the bottom rung as he lay momentarily unconscious. The fight with stopped at 2:55 of the round, with only five seconds remaining in the fight.

Klitschko thrust his arms into the air and smiled broadly. And why not? He had demonstrated again before 51,000 adoring fans in his adopted homeland that it will take quite a fighter to give him a meaningful challenge.

Could that fighter be Dave Haye, who faces John Ruiz on April 3 in Manchester, England? Perhaps Alexander Povetkin?

It’s hard to imagine. Wladimir might or might not be a great fighter but few heavyweights in history – perhaps only Joe Louis — have dominated the division the way he has over an extended period of time. And the end of his remarkable run doesn’t seem to be anywhere in sight.