Vitali Klitschko defends his WBC title for the tenth time against game, but fresh Derek Chisora tonight, Saturday 18th February 2012.
Chisora, 15-2-0 with 9 KO’s, is really up against it here. Klitschko’s record is slightly better at 43-2-0 with 40 KO’s.
Vitali, the older Klitschko by five years, holds the WBC belt while brother Wladimir holds the IBO, IBF, WBO and WBA crowns.
Vitali has a long, seasoned history. Some very big names on his list, all bringing different skill sets to the table; Herbie Hide, Lennox Lewis, Corrie Sanders, Danny Williams, Samuel Peter, Chris Arreola, Shannon Briggs, Odlanier Solis and Tomasz Adamek.
The only fighter out of that bunch to make a dent on Vitali, and that’s all he could manage…a dent…was Lennox Lewis. In fairness, Lewis was the last great heavyweight Vitali fought, and that was in mid-2003.
But even though Lewis went down in history as the winner, the reality of the fight was a different story.
The pace of the contest was fast, way faster than Lewis liked to fight at, and Vitali took the action to Lewis and did not let him breathe. In the first few rounds, it was back and forth action and when Lewis was staggered, he would rally back and stagger Vitali.
Lewis grew visibly tired of this in the middle rounds, Vitali not so much. If it was not for the awful gash on the side of Vitali’s eye, which to be fair was caused by a Lewis right hand, Lennox didn’t look like he had many rounds left in him.
The crowd cheered Vitali as he paraded round the ring screaming that he could continue and that he wanted more, whilst Lewis, disconsolate, was booed as he left the arena, the crowd remonstrating that he had been a lucky boy to be gifted that win. Lewis then retired.
That night we were shown Vitali’s grit, really the only time we have seen it, and it took a special fighter to bring it out of him, but be under no illusions…Vitali is a warrior.
He has two losses on his record, the one we just touched upon, which counts as a stoppage. The other loss is another stoppage, this time a mid-fight shoulder injury against Chris Byrd. So, both stoppages on his record…are not really stoppages. In the history books, yes they are stoppages, and in the eyes of some critics, yes they are stoppage…but in the eyes of Vitali, no they’re not.
He still carries the air of invulnerability, as in his mind had those injuries not occurred he would still be undefeated.
As critical as one can be about Vitali, well either of the Klitschkos, you have to look at Vitali's record and some of his fights and say ‘Well, the guy can fight’.
Is that down to lousy opposition? Or is it that Vitali’s very good at doing what he does best?
With, near as makes no difference, a 90% KO ratio, it is clear that he can punch. He is very adept at staying just out of range whilst stinging with a long, educated jab, he then brings the right hand into play and there are not many who can withstand it. Surprisingly, he is quite nifty at counter punching off the back foot as well.
In the end, everyone knows what he does; it’s not exactly sweet science 101.
Yet, every opponent cannot seem to figure him out, or if they can…they cannot get near enough to do what they want to do before they are punished.
Derek Chisora definitely comes in as underdog, a role he says he relishes, although he’s never fought anyone of Vitali’s calibre or experience.
We have seen some good work from Chisora, for instance; fighting Sam Sexton in 2010 or recently against Robert Helenius, a bout that many thought Chisora won.
Chisora likes to slip and roll punches, always edging closer, where he will either come over the top with his punches or step inside and open the other guy up.
He did this well in the Sexton and Helenius clashes and demonstrated more ability than most thought he possessed. But Chisora’s performance also comes down to weight and attitude. In one of his losses, against Tyson Fury, he could not keep up sustained attacks and looked sluggish, his excuse was - ”I was supposed to fight a Klitschko, I couldn’t get excited about Tyson Fury”.
Well Mr. Chisora, here’s a Klitschko. In fact, this is the stronger and tougher of the two. Careful what you wish for.
Chisora does have a puncher's chance, and this is boxing, the sport where upsets can and often do happen, but that is all he has…a punchers chance…against a guy with a granite chin.
The other thing you can admire about Chisora is that he will put up a fight; he genuinely thinks he is going to stop stop Vitali in the eighth round. He is talking the talk and it’s refreshing. He says he hasn’t bothered looking at Vitali’s fights and that he is not going to change a thing in his tactics, as the one he employs is the one that will bring down the so called “Iron Curtain” of heavyweight dominance.
Chisora should be good to his word in the respect that he is going to make it a good fight, and I think a lot of observers will be secretly hoping he does deliver an upset, me included, but the reality is that over Vitali’s career he has faced smaller, come forward guys who like to get inside or come over the top, and he has beaten them all, usually in quite a brutal fashion.
If Chisora gets to the eighth round, he will have done well, but I doubt he will be stopping Vitali in it…it’s probably going to be the other way around, if not sooner.