by Geoffrey Ciani – Wladimir Klitschko completely outclassed Ruslan Chagaev en route to a TKO victory. From the opening bell, Klitschko took control of the contest and dominated the bout from start to finish. The undefeated challenger had no answers as he absorbed a one-sided beating over nine long rounds. The victory further solidifies Klitschko’s claim as the best heavyweight in the world.
His methodical approach inside the ring might not be the most exciting, but it certainly is effective. In the early rounds, Klitschko took control of the bout immediately by utilizing his sensational jab and mixing in the occasional right hand. He scored a flash knockdown in the 2nd after landing a well timed right hand dead on the button. Klitschko continued out jabbing Chagaev, and by the 4th round, Chagaev was hardly throwing as he was continuously being peppered with a mixture of jabs and straight rights. Klitschko slowed down a bit in the 6th and 7th but was always in complete control..
As the ninth round was drawing to an end, Wlad trapped Chagaev on the ropes and unloaded a serious of ferocious one-twos that violently thudded off of Ruslan’s face. It looked as if Wlad was one or two thunderous blows away from victory before the bell saved Chagaev from what seemed almost inevitable. Clearly spent, his corner wisely decided to call it a night and stopped the fight. It was a smart decision, as Chagaev had absorbed a lot of punishment, clearly had nothing left in the tank, and had been unable to even win a single round through that point.
Klitschko was so dominant that it is difficult to tell where he goes from here. Chagaev was widely considered the third best heavyweight in the world, and Wlad simply annihilated him. Everything Klitschko did he did well. The only thing missing from his typical arsenal was his usually snappy short left hook, which he often uses off the jab. The southpaw stance and Chagaev’s high right hand guard are probably what deterred him from using it, but in the end, it did not matter. Simple straight punches was all Wlad needed. Combined with his unique ability to avoid getting hit with any meaningful punches, Wlad’s performance was a technical masterpiece.
There are few places left for Wlad to go. Since a fight against the second best heavyweight, brother Vitali, is out of the question, the best fight for Wlad is probably still against the man he was originally slated to face today—David Haye. Although I think Wlad would probably beat Haye, at least Hay makes things potentially interesting, if for no other reason than the fact that he is a good trash talker who understands playing the ‘bad guy’ in promotional terms.
Klitschko has made winning look so easy over the past few years that many are quick to undermine his abilities. Where he lacks in excitement, he surely makes up for it in terms of tactical prowess and ring intelligence. The current crop of heavyweights might not be the best the division has ever seen, but great champions have nevertheless emerged from weak divisions in the past, and so can Wlad. The key to doing it is by winning decisively over a long period of time. This begs the question: How many more years does Wladimir Klitschko need to dominate before we include him in serious discussions pertaining to the best heavyweights of all time? In my opinion, not too many.
This article was also published at East Side Boxing