Dr. Steelhammer Destroys Austin In Second Round At SAP Arena In Mannheim To Retain IBF/IBO Titles
Standing six foot six and weighing 246 lb, it isn't often that Wladimir Klitschko is confronted with an opponent of similar physical size and some felt that because Ray "Rainman" Austin mirrored big Wlad in that department, maybe, just maybe the 36 year old from Cleveland could stop the current best heavyweight in the world.
After all, the wheels had come off before on the Klitschko express and in each instance, Wladimir was widely expected to dispatch the man in the opposite corner. The shocking losses started against Ross Puritty in 1998, continued with Corrie Sanders in 2003 and finally, against Lamon Brewster a year later.
But the post-Brewster version is a seemingly different Wladimir Klitschko and that was never more apparent than against the powerful Samuel Peter a year and a half ago in Atlantic City. Klitschko was knocked down several times but never went into the same kind of shell-shocked collapse that he had against Brewster and Sanders, but rather recovered to dish out a frightful beating that had Peter on the verge of his own collapse in the final round.
Against Ray Austin last night, Klitschko started gunning for his opponent earlier than he's done for quite some time or perhaps it was because Austin was so overmatched that the end came as soon as it did.
The first round saw both men trading jabs with Austin trying leaping shots that missed the target due to Klitschko's amazing athleticism for a man his size.
Having done all the measuring he needed to, Klitschko started to advance on Austin in the second round.
Having largely dispensed with the jab, Klitschko walked Austin into the ropes where the quick fisted Ukrainian unleashed a sharp left hook that stunned Austin and caused him to turn to the side and drop his head to elbow level.
Klitschko then uncorked four short left hooks that caused Austin to fall to the canvas in a semi conscious state. Austin made it to his feet nearing the end of the eight count but appeared to be in no condition to continue and the action was called off.
Austin put up more of a fight surrounding the choice of glove that he would be knocked out with than he did against Klitschko.
The whole thing was similar to the Derrick Jefferson fight of 2001 in which Wladimir was faced with a six foot six American veteran from the Midwest who had built respectable career numbers by knocking out a legion of journeymen.
Jefferson was hammered to the canvas three times before the bout was stopped in the second. Austin never made it up from the first knockdown.
Much is being made concerning Klitschko, 48-3 (43), hoping to face an opponent even taller than he, Russian giant and WBA titlist Nickolai Valuev, who must first get past unbeaten Ruslan Chagaev next month.
But perhaps he should face Lamon Brewster and Corrie Sanders first? True heavyweight champions such as Lennox Lewis or Muhammad Ali went back to rematch the men that handed them losses and for Wladimir Klitschko to truly exorcize the demons of the past and for his future legacy after retirement, he needs to do the same.