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Wladimir Klitschko v. Derek Chisora: The Implications

Looking Up: Derek Chisora has a huge task ahead of him against Wladimir Klitschko. (Photo by Warren Little/Getty Images)
Looking Up: Derek Chisora has a huge task ahead of him against Wladimir Klitschko. (Photo by Warren Little/Getty Images)
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Ted Sares returns to Bad Left Hook this afternoon with an early look at the December 11 fight between world heavyweight champion Wladimir Klitschko and challenger Derek Chisora.

"He butted me in our first fight and he should have been disqualified for that. But I couldn't believe it when he bit me..."
--Paul Butlin, bitten by Derek Chisora in a May 22, 2009 fight at York Hall in London

"I respect Derek that he took the chance without considering it too long."
--Wladimir Klitschko.

Haye, Povetkin, Dimitrenko, and Valuev won't fight the 6'6" Dr. Steelhammer for whatever reasons. Derek "Del Boy" Chisora, by some kind of strange process of elimination, now gets his opportunity to earn a big payday and likely get knocked out. And he gets to take on this daunting task in the unfriendly environs of Mannheim, Baden-Württemberg, Germany before a packed house of adoring German and Eastern European Klitschko fans  on December 11, 2010. At stake will be the IBF, WBO, and IBO heavyweight titles.

The likable and somewhat idiosyncratic "Del Boy" is a Zimbabwe native who lives and fights out of the United Kingdom and sports a 14-0 record in contrast to Klitcsko's outstanding 55-3 mark and astonishing KO percentage of almost 85.
Surprisingly, at least to me, relatively few are calling this a mismatch even though the chunky Chisora has never fought anyone in he same boxing universe as The Doctor. Danny Williams was totally shot when Del Boy finished him in May, and it took him almost 10 rounds to stop Sam Sexton in September. But many feel Chisora is a young, fast, and hungry opponent who will not freeze like so many other Klitschko opponents and will give it his best when the bell rings. Unlike The Doctor's recent victims, Chisora is light on his feet and has decent ring movement, but he lacks one-punch knockout power. And if Sexton could land easily on him with the jab, imagine what Wald will do. Chisora's best chance is to get inside and maybe hammer and roughhouse Wladimir during the clinches, but that's a lot easier said than done.  With Klitschko's long and punishing jab, clinches don't seem to be in the offing for Del Boy. One thing, though, Wladimir needs to keep his distance from Chisora during the stare down. The Finchley man, who definitely likes to play rough, has been known to kiss, butt, and bite his opponents.

Speaking of the Ukrainian bomber, he has not lost since 2004 (a fight he later avenged) and seems to be improving with each outing. His modus operandi is no big secret. He jabs and toys with his opponents for several rounds before going into cruise control. He then picks up the pace as the German crowd senses the beginning of the end and screams "Kleeetschko, Kleeetschko." Though predictable, the late-round end always seems to come in a brutal manner to which Hasim Rahman, Tony Thompson, Sam Peter and Eddie Chambers can attest. Under the watchful eye of Emanuel Steward (who works best with tall fighters), and a savvy corner, Klitschko has become a killing machine who uses a prescribed formula to win and win and win. Will the much younger and much smaller Del Boy be able to handle this challenge, this spectacle? I think not, though I give Del Boy full respect for taking a fight that many others have rejected.

The Implications

Is Derek Chisora is better than most of the heavyweight contenders in the division? If Chisora (the British and Commonwealth heavyweight champion) is in fact a deserving opponent, what does that say about the others out there?

First, Chisora is not, in my view, the best available opponent. My God, he is still a comparative novice and taking on Klitschko brings back memories of Rademacher vs. Patterson in 1957. Of course, some might counter this with the first Spinks-Ali bout. But while Del Boy might not be the best, he clearly is the most willing.

Secondly, fourteen fights against so-so opposition hardly qualify him as viable, but if they do, then the implication is manifest to wit: everyone out there except perhaps David Haye (and maybe Tomasz Adamek and Odlanier Solis) presents a mismatch. Povetkin is a questionable re-work in progress, and most of he others have been dispatched by the Ukrainian brothers. David Tua, off his performance against Monte Barrett, seems to be near the end though I question whether Chisora could stay with him. Jean Marc Mormeck and maybe hard luck Fres Oquendo are others that might warrant some consideration. Denis Boytsov (27-0) has a great record and a great KO percentage, but who has he fought? Even ancient Oliver McCall could become "viable" should he beat Oquendo. If Chris Arreola gets serious and dedicates himself, he could become a factor again, but even now, he would be too much for Chisora. Arguably, so would Johnathon Banks (25-1-1).

The fact is, I'd rather see rematches (maybe with Chambers, Chagaev, Thompson, etc) than mismatches with first-time opponents but therein is the rub. Even the rematches could be mismatches. It's a catch-22.

In the scheme of things, Ray Austin, Hasim Rahman, and Audley Harrison are one win away. The heavyweight division is indeed in dire straits.

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