History has it that the majority of rematches go to the man who first won, and the largest cloud floating above Wladimir Klitschko are his critics, who point out his few defeats, one of them his TKO loss to Lamon Brewster in 2004. Despite only three losses in a 50 plus fight career, it seems that he still cannot shake the often seen image: his head contorted, twisted to the left; his mouth ajar and frozen as if in a Popeye comic as Brewster's hook passes across his face. It is that tired fighter taking that TKO loss that Klitschko has been struggling against in his last fights. In the six fights since his first match with Brewster, those same critics have seen a more determined, more conditioned and more dangerous Klitschko in the ring.
By any account, both Wladimir Klitschko and Lamon Brewster needed to win this fight tonight, but for different reasons. For Brewster, after winning against Klitschko and then against Andrew Golota, this was a pathway back into the spotlight, having later lost to Serguei Lyakhovich and seeing his career stall. For Klitschko, this presented the first opportunity to avenge a defeat--never having been able to again face Corrie Sanders or Ross Puritty--and yet another step toward proving his worth as a champ.
As the fight opened, Klitschko showed his dominance straight-away--standing in the middle of the ring prior to the bell, he opened the first round they same way he would finish the sixth round, with a strong and forceful jab. Brewster was unable to get enough momentum or movement to either escape from the left hand of Klitshcko or use his own jab to cut through the slick offense presented to him.
Averaging 27 jabs per round, Klitschko powered his way through the fight. With each passing round, Klitschko grew stronger, more accurate and more busy and Brewster grew more tired, less engaged and less likely to pull off anything resembling his 2004 victory. By the end of the sixth it was clear that Brewster was at some point heading toward a meeting with a huge right hand punch, as Klitschko conintually cocked the right hand, ready to drop Brewster in the same fashion displayed against Calvin Brock earlier this year.
"He wasn't getting off, the guy was getting stronger, my guy wasn't getting stronger," said Brewster's trainer, Buddy McGirt. It was McGirt, after trying to convince Brewster to give him "one more round" and show that he had it in him, who threw in the towel. There was nothing more clear tonight than the fact that Wladimir Klitschko owned the ring.
Six rounds was all it took for Klitschko to convince critics, yet again, that he is one of best heavyweights in the division and if anyone has a chance of unifiying belts, it could very well be Wladimir Klitschko and his increasingly convincing performances. As the division itself slouches toward unification, fighter's like Wladimir Klischko may be the best bet toward reigniting and ultimately unifiying the Heavyweight division.
When asked by Larry Merchant why he was able to make it look so convincing and so easy this evening, Klitschko faced the ghosts of his past.
"I can't lose tonight. For three years, [that fight] was my trademark. And my sports image was really bad after that fight... People were saying I'm a deadman walking, a guy without chin, without something else as well... Tonight I feel like a fish in the water, I feel very confident, I feel that I can be consistent in my performance. I do it because I love it."
What's next for Klitschko? Perhaps an unification bout? He seems to still have his eyes on the big issue at hand in the heavyweight division: unification, unification, unification.
"I will not give it up. I was trying to accomplish it in the past year. Hopefully the next fight... I'm not where I want to be [yet]. I'm going to accompish it. I'm 31, I still have a few successful years left.
Posted 12:00 AM | Jul 7, 2007
HBO WCB - Jul. 7, 2007