By Rich Mancuso
Vitali Klitschko, the WBC heavyweight champion had a media conference call from Munich Germany Wednesday. He said there was nothing new to say about himself as he prepares to meet Dereck Chisora this Saturday. It is the first of three consecutive live broadcasts of heavyweight title fights on EPIX, the Mutiplatform premium entertainment service.
Yes, there is nothing new to say and that can be attributed to the mediocre heavyweight division that Vitali and his brother, Wladimir continue to dominate. To a boxing fan this has become old news. The emphasis to a fan has been focusing on anything lower than a heavyweight title fight.
However, the sport has always thrived from a legitimate, marketable heavyweight division and champion. The contention is the Klitschko bothers’ hand-pick opponents that contribute to their legacy. Yet, they continue to win, and any threat to stop the regime has been hard to find.
“I am going to teach this youngster a lesson,” said Klitschko at the weigh- in Friday. Chisora apparently slapped Klitschko in the face. It was pure boxing theatre or a way for the champion to say something different. Perhaps something to put some interest in a championship fight, and for a division that hardly exists to a boxing fan.
And there is not a viable contender that can make a statement, for this Klitschko or the other. Vitali dominated Chris Arreloa in their first fight, and they may fight again. Arreloa has lost some weight and looks like a different fighter as the number one contender to Klitschko’s title.
“If he is ready I would be happy to give him a second chance,” he said about another meeting with Arreloa. The media, those in Germany where Vitali has most of his fights and to who he does most of his talking, try to get him to spark more interest to renew an interest in the division.
It does not work. Because Vitali Klitschko is no Mike Tyson, Evander Holyfield, or even a Lennox Lewis, probably his last good challenge nine years ago. “Right now all the big stars have retired and Evander Holyfield and Mike Tyson are not there,” he says.
“Lennox Lewis is not there. No big names and that’s why everyone from the new generation who stop the Klitschko’s get stopped. Any moment there can be a new guy and he can be tough and he can give us a tough challenge. And one of them is Dereck Chisora.”
So Klitschko is admitting there is no challenge. Chisroa, who has a height disadvantage, is considered to be another opponent that will add to the Klitschko legacy. And Seth Mitchell, a relatively unknown and talented heavyweight, is also a name being mentioned as a potential opponent.
“He could provide a challenge,” says Klitschko. Mitchell is an American, where the heavyweights can no longer be found, and that may also be attributed to the Klitschko domination. “For a real challenge it would have to be someone who can beat a Klitschko. We don’t give anyone a chance inside the ring. We leave no room for doubt that we are stronger than any our opponents.”
Klitschko admits, this is a crisis for the heavyweight division. Again, it leaves no doubt that he and his brother are dominant. There is a crisis because a challenge has not been met, even if David Haye, who did not give a fight to his brother, used a broken toe as an excuse.
“David Haye changes his mind and I can give David Haye a chance to fight for the world title,” said Vitali who is awaiting word if Hayes wants to challenge another Klitschko. So once again, we are looking ahead, because this Klitschko and the other, who hold two-thirds of the heavyweight title picture, have no challenge.
Unless they intend to fight each other and make some sense of this mediocre division there may be some interest with the heavyweights again. And that question is posed time and time again, because there is nothing new to say about either Klitschko.
To that Vitali says, “Right now I’m focused on the Chisora fight. I don’t want to fight him (Wladimir). I know my brother very well. He’s much more talented and right now, he’s much younger than me, almost five years.” He mentions how Wladimir dominates in swimming and ping-pong, and how he only wins a chess game.
But an assumption is the Klitschko brothers won’t fight each other because this keeps the division to themselves. They want to keep the title belts, as many as they can, in the family. And if there is indeed a crisis in the heavyweight division, as Vitali says, then there should be an outcry for a brother unification bout. It generates interest and could be a pay-per-view attraction.
It comes down to a legacy. That is what Vitali will attempt to continue on Saturday. And even if he has nothing or much more to say, he knows and thanks everyone for following the careers of the Klitchsko brothers.