At 32 years of age, Wladimir Klitschko has gone through almost every stage a fighter can as a professional. At one time, he was known in almost an Ivan Drago-like manner, a huge European with massive power but robotic movement.
After his loss to Corrie Sanders in 2003 and another at the hands of Lamon Brewster in 2004, both by KO, the label of of over-rated was attached, one that seemed like it could be there forever.
In 2005, Wlad yet again forced a reclassification of his status after beating undefeated Eliseo Castillo and Sam Peter and this time the label was the best heavyweight in the world.
In 2006, after winning another world title from Chris Byrd, knocking out highly regarded Calvin Brock, dismantling Ray Austin with one hand, winning the rematch with Brewster by KO then taking Sultan Ibragimov’s WBO strap in 2008, the doubts were certainly removed on exactly who ruled the roost of heavyweight boxing.
Why is it then after everything he's accomplished and overcome along with two title defenses in 2008 that Wladimir Klitschko is criticized? What more can the man do to leave his detractors behind? It is almost as if onlookers just beg for reasons to minimize his ability.
After establishing his status on top of the division he is now labeled “too cautious”. Of all things he is too cautious? Is there really nothing better to pick at? After all the questions have been asked about Wladimir, such as his ability and fortitude, I have to ask a question of my own.
Is Wladimir Klitschko too good for his own good?
We have seen a fighter grow with each bout, proving that he has the ability to adapt. What’s more, he has proven that he is willing to fight on after falling from grace, something that many past world champions have failed to do. With that being said, Wladimir has continuously entered the ring at peak physical condition, something only a handful of fighters, let alone any of the current top heavyweights today seem to do on a constant basis for one reason or another.
Wladimir Klitschko enters the ring with a plan carefully laid out by himself and trainer Emmanuel Steward, usually carrying it out to perfection. The version of Klitschko that once panicked when hit and sent to the canvas has learned to compose himself as shown in his fight with Sam Peter where he suffered multiple knockdowns and came back to win on the scorecards in comfortable fashion.
So if we take a look on paper, what we have is a heavyweight with tremendous power, a top rated jab, who comes into the ring prepared and in shape, follows a game plan and constantly improves. Add three world titles and what do we have? A heavyweight that at any point in time could have competed with any other top heavyweight to ever grace the sport!
The truth is, who out there can really challenge Wlad at this point in time? Who matches up with him in the terms of physical ability? Who has the boxing ability of the Ukrainian powerhouse?
The only fighter outside of his older brother and WBC title holder Vitaly that might even be possibly be thought of is Nicolay Valuev, but the 7 foot Russian giant basically relies on size alone to overwhelm opponents and has had difficult times with fighters of far less the caliber of Wladimir Klitschko, also despite his size, Valuev would be the weaker puncher of the two and still has a question mark on his chin.
On his resume, the only person missing among the top tier of heavyweights is former WBA Champion Ruslan Chagaev, who seems more on the injured list then the active or that bout would have happened by now, I am sure.
All to have fallen at the hands of Wladimir to date are Chris Byrd, Calvin Brock, Ray Austin, Tony Thompson, Sultan Ibragimov, Sam Peter, Ray Mercer, Jameel McCline, Monte Barrett, Axel Shultz, Hasim Rahman, Frans Botha, Lamon Brewster, Eliseo Castillo and DaVarryl Williamson.
Every contender or champion since the departure of Lennox Lewis, outside of Vitaly and Chagaev, have faced Wladimir, and each one has been beaten soundly.
There is only one thing left for us to wish of Wladimir Klitschko and that is quality opponents to actually test his abilities. Until then, everything is going to keep looking just too easy!