When American contender Eddie Chambers scored a career-best win last year over the previously-unbeaten Alexander Dimitrenko, he earned a shot at the WBO heavyweight title held by Wladimir Klitschko, and by association, earned a shot at Klitschko's IBF belt, and the real belt, the Ring Magazine world heavyweight championship. Today from Germany, we find out if there just might be a genuine American hope for knocking off a Klitschko brother.
Chambers (35-1, 18 KO) has been a different animal since his first career loss to Alexander Povetkin in 2008. He's gone 5-0 since then, first adjusting his game against three fairly soft opponents, and then scoring wins last year over former titlist Samuel Peter and Dimitrenko.
But the task at hand now is easily the most daunting he's faced to date. Klitschko (53-3, 47 KO) has not just been a dominant champion since carving up Chris Byrd in 2006 to regain a heavyweight title, he's been nearly untouchable. Calvin Brock, his first defense, came the closest to beating him, opening up a pretty good cut on Kiltschko. And then, Wladimir brought the pain, and Brock was disposed.
Pitiful mandatory challenger Ray Austin was next. Klitschko got him out in two rounds, never even unleashing his right hand. In a rematch, previous Wlad conqueror Lamon Brewster (now damaged by time and some hard battles) quit after six rounds, never looking as though he was particularly interested in fighting. Sultan Ibragimov was shut out over 12 despicably dull rounds, and never fought again. Tony Thompson was knocked out in 11. Hasim Rahman (a late replacement for Povetkin) never got out of the blocks and was stopped in seven. And last June, Ruslan Chagaev quit on his stool after nine rounds of domination.
The greatest test for Wladimir in that run was probably Thompson, a 6'5" southpaw with an awkward style and an 81" reach. Eddie Chambers is a 6'1" right with a 75" reach, and looks, frankly, like a dwarf next to Klitschko.
The big x-factor for this fight is Klitschko's right arm. He had pretty major surgery last year, which has kept him out since that June fight with Chagaev. It's the longest layoff of his professional career, and at 33, neither he nor his body are getting any younger. Even though Klitschko has always kept himself in great shape and looks just fine right now, age, the injury and rust could play a part.
And for Chambers' sake, those things better hinder Klitschko. As much as I like Eddie Chambers, who is a good boxer with well above average speed and movement for a heavyweight, it's hard to envision a scenario where his hand is raised at the end of this fight. He's small, doesn't have the power, and is eventually going to have to deal with Klitschko's right hand -- if he gets past that heavy jab, anyway, which has been a major problem for everyone who has fought Wladimir in recent times.
Ideally, Chambers is going to want to go in and out, which should seem obvious enough. He'll want to sting Klitschko to the body as much as he can, and avoid getting hit much at all. Though Dimitrenko was similar in size to Wladimir, the similarities really end there. Klitschko is no speed merchant, but he's good with his timing. He's not slick, but very intelligent. And he hits like hell. (There's no "but" for that one.) Comparatively, Dimitrenko is sloppy and amateurish, which is not so much a shot at Dimitrenko as it is meaning to say that Klitschko is simply his superior in every way.
I do believe we'll see Eddie Chambers give Wladimir a few problems, but at the end of the day I just don't think he has the right body type to be the man who dethrones a Klitschko. He's just too small. Klitschko UD-12