Manuel Charr has talked his way into a fight with Vitali Klitschko. And now he will lose. (Photo by Christof Koepsel/Bongarts/Getty Images)
One of the things I pride myself on is being able to come up with a lot of things to say about most fights, no matter how insignificant to the general population, or how faux-significant we might pretend they are, or how actually meaningful they really might be to both audiences, casual and diehard.
This Saturday in Moscow, Vitali Klitschko will defend his WBC heavyweight title against Manuel Charr, an unbeaten, 27-year-old Lebanese fighter, now living in Germany, who has had the good fortune of careful matchmaking throughout his seven-year pro career.
There is, quite frankly, no arguing for Charr as competitive in this matchup, let alone as a potential upset winner. Charr (21-0, 11 KO) is as mediocre a world title challenger as you'll find this side of Nathan Cleverly's fights, and is in the role because the Klitschko brothers have essentially emptied out this division over the last four years. Anyone who dares to fight them -- which at this point is anyone decent besides Alexander Povetkin -- has fallen convincingly.
Since his return to the ring in 2008, Vitali has wiped out Samuel Peter, Juan Carlos Gomez, Chris Arreola, Kevin Johnson, Albert Sosnowski, Shannon Briggs, Odlanier Solis, Tomasz Adamek, and Dereck Chisora, who made it about as interesting as he possibly could, while the rest were flat-out beaten up, or fought scared, or were just plain outclassed.
Over that same time, Wladimir has taken down Tony Thompson (twice), Hasim Rahman, Ruslan Chagaev, Eddie Chambers, Peter, David Haye, and Jean Marc Mormeck. None were really remotely competitive.
The simple fact of the matter is that the Klitschko brothers are not just big, they are skilled, and they have a desire to win and to dominate that is unmatched by their heavyweight peers. They eat and breathe the sport of boxing, and despite political aspirations from Vitali, we've yet to see some sort of "distracted" performance, the type that supposedly plagues the aging Manny Pacquiao at the top (well, near) the pound-for-pound rankings seemingly every time out since 2009.
While we have asked, "What's wrong with Manny? Is it distractions? Is it age? Is it wear-and-tear?" the Klitschkos have kept right on bulldozing any opponent in their path -- whether it's a highly-ranked fighter like Haye or Adamek, a washed-out former champion like Briggs or Rahman, or a guy who didn't really belong there, like Sosnowski or Mormeck or, now, Manuel Charr.
They have not stopped to give this division any chance to catch up to them. They are beyond the cream of the crop -- they are the crop. Everyone else is a pretender at best to their iron throne(s), and Charr has no realistic chance of proving himself a more serious contender than the rest of those fighters did.
Manuel Charr can't win this fight because he's not good enough. The same will be said of Mariusz Wach, when he faces Wladimir in November. The Klitschko brothers have run out of potentially viable threats. This is their age, and it is in no danger of ending any time soon.
It certainly won't end on Saturday, when Vitali Klitschko dominates Manuel Charr and easily wins. At 41, Vitali has shown minor signs of slowing down, but he would need to slam on the brakes in order for a fighter like Charr to have a chance to catch up to him.
Their quality, their dominance, comes from the fact that they take their jobs seriously, that they're never ill-prepared, and that they believe -- and frankly, know -- that they are the best in the world. Charr is simply part of the group that hasn't already been thwarted in an alleged quest to unseat the Ukrainian stalwarts. Charr can't win, because he's not a good enough professional boxer. If Vitali struggles at all with this opponent, the time to retire is here. Vitail Klitschko TKO-8.