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This is the archive for July 2007

HBO WCB: Klitschko/Brewster 2

It's been three years since Vladimir Klitschko suffered an embarrassing and career-threatening KO at the hands of Lamon Brewster. Over those three years, he's worked hard to repair the damage and establish himself as a champion in the making. Now comes the rematch with Brewster, and the question is asked:

Was this fight really necessary?

If Vladimir Klitschko wants to turn himself into a Lennox Lewis clone, the answer is apparently yes. Part of Lewis' champion rep involves beating the men who beat him first. (Never mind the fact that the reason he got beat in the first place was that he was too lazy to train properly for those fights.) Vladimir Klitschko appears to be trying to emulate Lewis' rise to championship by imitating Lewis, from hiring Emanuel Steward, Lewis' trainer, to adopting Lewis' habit of draping himself over his opponents to wear them down to taking on an opponent who he should have beaten the first time, but didn't. Whether he will become a champion of Lewis' stature as a result of all this remains to be seen.

In a sense. Lamon Brewster needed this fight more than Klitschko did. His career has been at a standstill since his loss to Serguei Lyakhovich and the repair of a detached retina in his right eye, and he needed to prove that he was still not a person to be underestimated.

Was this fight really necessary?

Having watched it, I can honestly say no.

It wasn't a bad match, per se. Vladimir Klitschko clearly demonstrated that he is not the man he was three years ago. He started the match in the center of the ring, determined to show that he was going to be in charge of this fight, and he certainly was. He very skillfully kept Brewster at a distance, peppering him with jabs before nailing him with power punches. He was in complete control of the ring action from start to finish. While Lamon Brewster was in good physical shape for the fight, he didn't appear to be mentally prepared or even mentally involved in much of the action in the ring. In the first fight, he had succeeded by putting constant pressure on Klitschko. This time, he seemed baffled by Klitschko's offensive attack and unable to mount much in the way of effective offense on his own part. His trainer, Buddy McGirt, dismayed by the amount of punishment Brewster was taking from Klitschko's repeated jabs, warned him after the fifth round that he would stop the fight if Brewster kept getting hit as he was. His words had little impact; although Brewster did appear to be trying to put up a fight, it was clear that he was hopelessly outmatched tonight, and, after consulting with his fighter, McGirt threw in the towel just before the start of the seventh round.

Winner: Vladimir Klitschko by TKO

Jade's Fight Grade: C+

As what seems to be the case with most heavyweight fights these days, this was not an exciting fight, and that was not necessarily due to the mismatch of opponents. Klitschko put on a very good performance in the ring, but considering his recent past performances, I was expecting no less from him. He loses points in my book, though, for using his "draping" tactic with Brewster in this fight. First of all, it was completely unnecessary; he could have beaten Brewster with his jab alone, there was no need to try to tire him out beforehand. Secondly, he looked damn stupid doing it; for all intents and purposes, it looked like he was trying to mount Brewster and get a piggyback ride.

As for Lamon Brewster, in both his interviews and his performance in the ring, he gave the impression that his focus seems to be more on keeping his brain cells intact than on being aggressive in the ring these days. It's an honorable goal for a fighter; after all, far too many end up either dead or drooling in a nursing home before they're 60, but you cannot expect to have a profitable career in boxing trying not to get hit. He should either retire and find a safer line of work or put together a better offense so he doesn't have to worry about getting hit in the first place.