Wladimir Klitschko stands tall today, still reigning as heavyweight champion, having fairly easily vanquished his mouthiest rival on Saturday in Hamburg.
So where does Wladimir go next? He plans to keep on fighting, and though there is a real lack of impressive potential opponents out there, here are three guys who could be in line for "Dr. Steelhammer" in his next defense.
1. Dereck Chisora or Tyson Fury
These two will fight on July 23 for Chisora's British heavyweight title. This is also a bit of a grudge match, but this one has two brash, outspoken personalities instead of just one. Klitschko has had two dates before with Chisora (14-0, 9 KO) in December 2010 and April 2011, but bailed on both with training injuries, and then signed to fight Haye. Fury (14-0, 10 KO) is light years from being ready for Wladimir, but frankly so is Chisora, who wasn't given any chance against Klitschko when that fight was signed before. This would, in all honesty, be a lousy fight. Chisora for now is something of a middle class man's Samuel Peter (the prime version), and Fury is basically still a baby compared to Wladimir. The gulf in class and experience would be monumental.
2. Chris Arreola
Arreola just keeps on being in shape and signing up to fight, plus he's popular and has earned some respect lately for the way he's finally accepted his flaws and clearly worked his ass off to get into better physical condition. He makes for fun fights and always engages, too. We've seen him outclassed by Vitali, but he just kept coming. We've seen him fighting hurt against Tomasz Adamek, and he just kept coming. Arreola's got heart for days. I honestly wouldn't mind seeing him get another big shot by the end of the year.
3. David Haye
Haye alleges he'll make a career decision in the next few weeks, and that he would "love a rematch." I don't know if a rematch can be given much weight straight off, though. Haye is still one of the four best fighters in the division, but it's not like the fight was close or controversial, and it's not like it was exciting. Haye has mixed his broken toe excuse with a bit of crowing that Wladimir didn't knock him out, which I guess is about all he can crow about at this point. I just don't think there's any great demand for a rematch unless David goes out and does something special -- he might even have to beat Vitali for there to be any real demand, and that would mean shockingly breaking his promise to retire in October. For his part, Wladimir doesn't think Haye really wants a rematch, and it sounds like he has no real desire to give him one, either.