Though he mostly cruised for 12 rounds before landing a vicious left hand that knocked Eddie Chambers through the ropes and out in the waning seconds of the bout, Wladimir Klitschko got the best test he's had in years today in Germany.
Klitschko (54-3, 48 KO) was leading 109-100 on the Bad Left Hook card, and probably was up by that score or 110-99 on most cards. Before the 11th and 12th rounds, he was berated by trainer Emanuel Steward for not being aggressive enough. Steward referred to it as "another Ibragimov," meaning that because Wladimir wasn't aggressive, he would have to "settle" for a dominant decision, rather than something for the highlight reels.
Steward was being a bit dramatic, as this was nowhere near the stinker of Klitschko-Ibragimov or Klitschko-Chagaev, but before the 12th, Klitschko snapped back that he would do it. And do it he did. The official time of the stoppage was 2:55 of the 12th round.
Chambers (35-2, 18 KO) had a great gameplan early, but he just wasn't good enough to beat Klitschko. Not big enough, not good enough, not powerful enough, and really, not quite fast enough, despite that being his chief strength. He couldn't outbox Wladimir.
Early in the bout, Chambers attempted to get into Klitschko's head first by picking him up off of his feet, and then in the next round by actually picking him up and slamming him to the mat. But Klitschko rattled only a bit, and quickly got past it. After that, he put on his usual clinic.
Overall, it was a more aggressive performance than usual for the world heavyweight champion. He dealt with Chambers very well, disposing of yet another challenger. Who's next? Who knows? But whoever it is, Wladimir Klitschko reigns clearly as the king of the heavyweights at this point, at least for my money.
On the dreadful undercard:
- Johnathon Banks KO-6 Travis Walker. Walker went down pretty much as soon as he was hit on the chin. It was quite a finish. Banks actually fell down throwing the punch that landed on Walker, who fell just after Banks did. Awful fight, with neither guy looking too interested in fighting. Banks is now 24-1 (17 KO), while Walker dips to 34-4-1 (28 KO).
- Alexander Ustinov TKO-4 Ed Mahone. Mahone hasn't done anything in a decade, and at his peak was demolished in three by Vitali Klitschko. Before today he hadn't even fought in about two years. Lumbering Ustinov was his usual self, and Mahone wasn't really keen on being punched. Mahone's corner threw in the towel early in the fourth. It should have been thrown in the second after the bell rang. Ustinov is now 20-0 (16 KO).
- Michael Sprott TKO-1 Werner Kreiskott. Swing fight, and completely useless. Sprott (32-14, 17 KO) now moves on to a fight with Audley Harrison for the vacant European heavyweight title.
- Nenad Borovcanin TKO-2 Jonathan Pasi. Commentator tried to sell Borovcanin, 30, as a prospect, but no. He's never fought so much as a remotely warm body. He's now 25-0 (18 KO).
- In the only non-heavyweight fight of the show, Domonique Dolton beat Omar Siala via TKO-3. Dolton is a Detroit product and a Sugar Hill fighter. Siala (11-11-2) has never beaten someone who had won a fight coming in. This was another odd stoppage, as suddenly Siala winced, seemed to acknowledge body pain, and was given a standing count. Then, the referee told him to box on, which Siala didn't want to do, so it was called off.