Weekend Review: Another Klitschko victory
Albert Sosnowski put up a spirited fight against Vitali Klitschko on Saturday but ended up like most of the Klitschko brothers' opponents. Photo / Marianne M├╝ller
Vitali Klitschko: The elder Klitschko brother might have shown signs of his age (38) against Albert Sosnowski on Saturday in Gelsenkirchen, Germany. The 6-foot-7¾ behemoth was never particularly quick or athletic but seems to be at least somewhat more plodding as he nears the end of his career. It didn’t matter, though, which shows you how good he is. He was able to break down a determined, fit opponent and then knock him out in the 10th round in spite of any deficiencies. Even an aging Klitschko is nearly untouchable. Nearly. Some might suggest that David Haye — the only heavyweight given a chance to beat either Klitschko — would give this version of Vitali trouble. Stay tuned.
Albert Sosnowski: The good news is that Sosnowski performed much better than almost everyone expected him to, perhaps well enough to earn him another big fight. The bad news is that the final result followed the pattern of most Klitschko victims. Sosnowski, apparently in terrific shape and fearless, made Klitschko work for everything landed and found his target a few times but was ultimately broken down and stopped in much the same fashion of his predecessors. He has nothing to be ashamed of, although he would be the first to tell you that moral victories aren’t very gratifying.
Puerto Rico card: Those who bought the pay-per-view telecast of the Wilfredo Vazquez Jr.-Zsolt Bedak card in Bayamon on Saturday got their money’s worth. Vazquez, the talented son of the former titleholder of the same name, stopped a game Bedak in the 10th round of a riveting fight. The co-feature was even better, though. Junior lightweight titleholder Rocky Martinez, perhaps the most-exciting fighter in the world, stopped a very willing Gonzalo Munguia in the fourth round but not before the fighters gave us a back-and-forth fight of the year candidate. If only all cards could be this fun to watch.
BIGGEST WINNER II
Librado Andrade: The Mexican brawler had lost two of his previous three fights, the last a fourth-round knockout in his rematch with Lucian Bute in November. Another loss might’ve rendered him a journeyman. So his handlers served up the perfect opponent: a game 39-year-old former titleholder who had fought only once since 2006, which turned out to be the right recipe for Andrade on Friday in Quebec City, Canada. Andrade and Eric Lucas of Montreal engaged in a spirited battle until Lucas, showing his age, had to quit after eight rounds because of deep cuts above his eyes. Thus, Andrade got his victory and remains relevant in the deep super middleweight division.
Eric Lucas: Lucas, bloodied above both eyes, had just lost a brutal fight to Andrade when he spoke through a translator about his future: “If I can’t fight at the world-class level, I don’t want to do it. I don’t want to be a journeyman for young fighters.” Those words are sad because they signal the end of a successful career but gratifying to hear because at least one aging fighter seems to know when to get out. Lucas clearly has the will and courage but his body can no longer carry out orders over a taxing 12-round fight. The former 168-pound titleholder should be proud of his final performance: He went out fighting hard against a rugged opponent.
BIGGEST WINNER III
Jose Navarro: The former junior bantamweight contender hadn’t won a fight since 2007 when he stepped into the ring to face Benji Garcia on the Fight Night Club card Thursday night in Los Angeles. He missed the feeling. Navarro had to work hard against the extremely tough journeyman but, in the end, he used his far-superior boxing ability to have his hand raised after a one-sided six-round decision. “It felt good,” he said after fight. Navarro also looked good, particularly in light of his recent inactivity. He’s a beautiful boxer. No one can predict whether he’ll get a fifth title shot after losing his first four but he clearly remains an elite fighter.
Frankie Gomez: The hard-punching former amateur star came out swinging against Akeem Akinbode and didn’t stop until the referee ended the fight after only 46 seconds of insane action on Thursday. The victory was dramatic to say the least. It also wasn’t very intelligent. Had Akinbode been able to survive the crazy onslaught and let Gomez punch himself out, he might’ve been able to turn the tables. I know this is hypothetical. I just got the feeling that such a reckless attack could come back to haunt Gomez one day. One word to him: patience.
Michael Grant: Tomasz Adamek said he decided to fight the 6-foot-7 Grant on Aug. 21 in Newark, N.J., because it will help him prepare for an eventual fight with one of the gigantic Klitschko brothers. Makes sense in a way. But Grant is barely a live body. He ceased to be taken seriously when he lost back-to-back fights to Lennox Lewis and Jameel McCline — in 2000 and 2001. He has fought a string of nobodies since, except for a seventh-round KO loss to Dominick Guinn in 2003. I guess we can look at it as a glorified sparring session, which is pretty much what it is.
Vitali Klitschko, on David Haye (quoted by Reuters): “He talks a lot and insults his opponents. In America they’d call him a ‘trash talker.’ I’d be just as happy if it’s Wladimir who beats him or I.”
Michael Rosenthal can be reached at [email protected]