Date: November 4th, 2015 8:02 AM
NOBODY TRANSFORMED BOXING as much as Wladimir Klitschko.
Think about it: His jab, footwork, defense and offense are so unbelievably good that he completely transformed boxing to a higher level because NOT ONE of the usual strategies or boxing styles works against him.
He proved uppercuts, combos, feinting, swarming etc to be near-worthless (in the case of his opponents) and unnecessary (in the case of himself). Thus by his perfect minimalistic-seeming technique he actually shows how bad previous generations of boxers were who could win with such techniques like feinting and combos.
Nobody transformed boxing as much as Wladimir. He is the blueprint for what strategies work (in his case) and don't work (in his opponents' case).
Wladimir Klitschko is the measuring stick for champions of the past and future.
"Is he the best? For sure he is the test"
When boxing fans discuss "What boxer of the past could beat Wladimir Klitschko?" they have not many choices, because Wladimir Klitschko was effective against every boxing style and against every body type.
Of course you might say "A hard puncher like George Foreman has the best chances against Wladimir Klitschko", but that's only because powerful boxers (like Foreman) have chances against anybody. It's not because Wladimir would be especially susceptible to power punchers. And in fact if you think that a hard puncher has a chance against anybody it equally means that Wladimir Klitschko has an even greater chance against George Foreman since Wladimir Klitschko is even a greater puncher than Foreman.
Let's take for example Wladimir Klitschko vs Fast Eddie Chambers.
·Eddie Chambers tried everything from legal to illegal
Lifting Wlad and throwing him on the floor (this illegal uplifting possibly spared Chambers an early KO)
Escaping out of the clinch sideways and go to the body from behind
Punching Wlad's left arm (while Wlad was jabbing him)
Jumping up to punch Wlad
Initiating the clinch
Ducking the jab, moving sideways and punching back
Punching while Klitschko was clinching him
Rabbit punching while Klitschko was clinching him
Clinching Klitschko and rotate him
Going to the body
Leaning on the ropes
Standing in the middle of the ring
Getting an additional breather during a glove change
And yet Klitschko was winning every round and delivered one of the most brutal KOs ever. Eddie Chambers even stopped to breathe.
What did Eddie Chambers say one year later?
"Wladimir Klitschko is the main man. Even if he retires: I'm still modeling myself to be a model of what Klitschko is. Of what a real, real fighter is. And that's him."
How many rounds did Wladimir Klitschko lose in his career?
Klitschko has boxed now approximately 60 fights and 250 rounds and has been exposed to every imaginable opponent.
From the slick counter-puncher to the brute-force swarmer.
He has been out-weighed, out-talled, out-reached, out-experienced and out-aged (= by younger-than-self opponents).
The rounds that Wladimir Klitschko clearly lost can be counted on 1 hand.
There is no boxing style that works against him. Yes, he lost against Brewster and Puritty but not because of their styles but because of HIS OWN style (= he punched himself out). The only opponent with a troubling style was Corrie Sanders, but the actual loss happened because of the vicious anviling headbutt of which Klitschko never recovered.
Wladimir Klitschko is so dominant that NOBODY wants to see a rematch against his opponents.
He would even be a clear favorite against his unavenged-loss-opponents.
Wladimir Klitschko's losses to Ross, Corrie and Lamon
are not the proof of Wladimir's limitedness
but the reason why he is so dominating now.
He learned and improved.
Are Klitschkos' opponents worse than in previous eras?
After watching so many ancient fights (Muhammad Ali etc) I am utterly UNIMPRESSED by ancient eras (except by George Foreman).
Back in the days heavyweights were far worse than nowadays heavies. Slower, less athletic, less powerful, lighter.
Prime George Foreman (whom they called Big George Foreman)
Wladimir Klitschko's BOTTOM-10 LIGHTEST opponent
and would be
Vitali Klitschko's BOTTOM-3 LIGHTEST opponent
There is no comparison to modern opponents with their power and conditioning and amount of muscles.
Half of Wladimir Klitschko's opponents would have ruled the Golden Age of Boxing, let alone Klitschko himself: From Sam Peter to Tony Thompson. From Chris Byrd to Chris Arreola. These are superb boxers who would have steamrolled over the "Golden Age".
I have seen nothing in the arsenal of the 1970s Golden Boys to withstand modern heavyweight fighters.
Is Wladimir Klitschko the best heavyweight boxer of all time?
Just imagine yourself entering the ring for a world title fight.
Your opponent is a proven boxer
Or someone being praised as "the next big thing"
Maybe an unbeaten southpaw
Or someone who has never lost a fight before
Or a former world champion, or even a beater of a world champion
Or a current world champion
Or one of the best KO'ers with a KO'ratio of 75%, 85% or even 90%
Or one of the fastest boxers of all time
And yet you manage to dominate him round after round without even getting hit properly once.
THIS! is the performance of Wladimir Klitschko.
Wladimir Klitschko is a BOXING PHENOMENON. Never in the history of boxing did something like him exist.
He barely gets hit against ANY TYPE of opponent.
Just notice for example how previous champs of other eras (Larry Holmes, James Toney, Evan Fields, Clay/Ali) slur their speech from all the hits they received.
When you watch their fights it's a never ending brawl.
Wladimir Klitschko on the other hand dominates his opponents as if they were school boys.
Take for example Jean-Marc Mormeck. If you would watch just this one fight (Klitschko vs Mormeck) you might think that it's some sparring session against Jean-Marc, the school-boy.
Yet Mormeck was weighing 216 lbs of pure muscles (= heavier than Muhammad Ali and approximately as heavy as 1970s George Foreman, median weight 217 lbs) and was a former multiple world champion with 36 wins on his record.
Now, nobody claims that Mormeck had the KO'power of George Foreman or the stink'n'run tactic of Clay/Ali. But the chancelessness of Mormeck and the dominance of Wladimir Klitschko was breathtaking.
In fact the word "dominance" is actually too weak. It's "humiliating dominance". Wladimir Klitschko breaks his opponents and leaves them no hope because…
whatever they planned is interrupted (by superb footwork, speed etc)
whatever they learned is impossible to apply
whatever they try fails
is instantly punished.
No other heavyweight world champ to date
has overwhelmed his opponents by such a dominance
as Wladimir Klitschko
Manuel & Manual
If you want to be picky about it: Not Wladimir alone transformed boxing but Wladimir and his trainer Emanuel Steward ("Manuel & Manual").
How Wladimir would have evolved without Emanuel is speculation but I saw the early (= pre-Steward) version of ·Lennox Lewis and I saw the early (pre-Steward) version of Wladimir and early Wladimir looked far more impressive than early Lennox.
In fact, Emanuel Steward was impressed himself as you can hear from his comments on External link, opens in new window...Klitschko vs Ray Mercer.
Thus Emanuel Steward is the best trainer of all time and Wladimir Klitschko is the most advanced heavyweight boxer Emanuel started to work with of all time.
A superb performance as PROVEN by Klitschko's record
I analyze dozens of stats here on my website ("KO'ratio against unbeaten opponents", "Rounds between KOs", "KOs in later rounds", "KOs in early rounds", "Wins against heavier-than-self opponents", "Wins in world title fights", …) and nobody is at the top in so many stats as Wlad.
So often I heard boxing fans marvel at a boxer's footwork, speed, reflexes, feinting, ring IQ… you name it.
And yet, when you analyze the record it's usually far less impressive than Wladimir Klitschko's.
Thus what they marvel at is IRRELEVANT or only very marginally relevant.
If you are the fastest boxer who ever lived BUT LOSE all your fights then your speed was not really relevant because something else was lacking.
Since Wladimir Klitschko is at the top of so many statistics he features the full set of everything a heavyweight boxer should have: working attitude, focus, speed, stamina, accuracy etc etc…
Even Klitschko haters admit unknowingly that Wladimir Klitschko is one of the most talented boxers ever
When you analyze previous champs then MOST of them are said to have great chins (Ali, Holmes, Evan Fields, …).
And when you believe haters then Wladimir Klitschko has a glass chin (= is easy to KO once you manage to connect).
I personally believe that the quality of the chin of Wladimir Klitschko is rather unknown, but let's see where this thought leads us:
If Wladimir Klitschko indeed is chinny it actually means that he is far more talented than other champs because he wins his fights based on skills (since his chin won't protect him) while other champs were hit far often (as is proven by their slurring speech, e.g. Ali, Frazier, Holmes, Evan Fields, …) and thus won their fights based on chin and less on talent (since if they had huge talent they wouldn't have been hit so much).
Thus haters unintentionally admit that Wladimir Klitschko is more talented than previous champs.
"Wladimir Klitschko is the most boring and limited heavyweight boxer of all times"
I discussed that in detail at Heavyweight boxing died since boring Wladimir Klitschko killed the division -OR- American and British Complainers
In short: The typical complaint is…
"Wladimir Klitschko is boring because he has only a limited number of moves" ("jab, jab, grab").
But something is wrong with this complaint. What?
This complaint is wrong because makes it utterly unexplainable how a boxer with such a supposedly limited, unimpressive and PREDICTABLE style has such a good record and how he can win round after round and how he kayos his opponents so surely. He now has faced and kayoed ALL KINDS of opponents with ALL TYPES of boxing styles.
Obviously there is far more to Wladimir than "limitedness" and "predictability".
Thus there is only one conclusion: Perfection and dominance themselves can be boring just like the 256th missile that hits exactly where it's supposed to hit.
Yes, Wladimir Klitschko's boxing style is predictable and boring…
…he predictably bored nearly all opponents to sleep.
Wladimir Klitschko vs Vitali Klitschko -OR- Which of the Klitschko brothers is the best?
I know, nearly everything I wrote here applies also to Vitali Klitschko.
But a question like "Which Klitschko is better?" has to consider that Vitali's career spans less opponents and less styles and less good opponents and therefore Wladimir is more impressive to me.
Additionally I find Vitali's style to be too special. His style is a mix of an extremely low hanging left hand, bolo punching and leaning back. It mainly works when you are very tall and have a hard chin and thus I find it (in the sense of "transforming boxing" and "blueprinting") not too copyable. Moreover an experienced and reachy boxer (like Lennox Lewis) will always be capable of breaching the defense. Just look at Vitali's face:
Klitschko vs Lewis
No, it's not by chance that Vitali Klitschko's LEFT side got affected (left eye, left cheek, left side of the lip). Klitschko's low left defense was exposed. It works most of the time but it won't work all of the time.
I consider Wladimir's style far less penetrable than Vitali's. I consider Vitali being more beatable than Wladimir. I see Vitali eating more punches than Wladimir, although the impression for the casual fan might be vice versa, because Vitali has a higher output, hence him being hit attracts only little attention.
Actually, I give Wladimir more chances against prime Lennox Lewis than I give Vitali.
But I do not claim that Vitali had won had his eye stayed uncut. And I do not claim that Wladimir would win against Vitali.
AND I AGREE that it's a matter of taste, and you can make a case for Vitali being the more transforming figure.
"Vitali Klitschko had to beat opponents for Wladimir Klitschko"
One frequent reproach against Wladimir Klitschko is that "the older brother (Vitali) had to finish the job the younger brother (Wlad) had failed to".
They allude to ·Ross Puritty (whom Wladimir lost to) and ·Corrie Sanders (whom again Wlad lost to). Both fights (against Ross and against Corrie) Vitali Klitschko won.
First of all the fight against Vitali -vs- Puritty happened 3 years after Wlad's loss. It was for the "WBA inter-continental heavyweight title" and had nothing to do with "rematching for his brother" (or as haters love to rephrase: "rematching for his sister") but was a mandatory title fight.
The same applies to Corrie Sanders:
Sanders dropped the WBO belt he won from Wladimir. Instead of rematching Wladimir he chose to fight (beltless) for the WBC belt against Vitali (beltless) to be the only man who would have beaten 2 Klitschkos. Again it was a mandatory thing and not a case of "I am ducking, please fight for me, brother".
The second thing that reproachers forget is that Wladimir Klitschko fought (and won) against 2 opponents Vitali Klitschko lost to: ·Chris Byrd (lost to in the ring) and ·Hasim Rahman (lost to by not appearing in the ring).
Thus the opposite is equally true: "Wladimir Klitschko cleaned up the unfinished business of Vitali Klitschko".
The Klitschko boxers
However you try to spin it: What these two boxer have done is unprecedented and is not normal, not typical and not usual.
Thus if you want to be picky about it the answer to "Who is the best heavyweight boxer of all time" might not be a single boxer but "The Klitschko brothers".
Enjoy them while they last.