Sunday, February 11, 2007


There was a TV game show that was very popular in the 1950’s called “To Tell The Truth”. The show has survived in various forms over the years and has been reincarnated several times.

The basic premise of the show consisted of three contestants, each of whom claimed to be the same person (let’s say in this case the heavyweight champion) being interrogated by a panel of celebrities in an attempt to identify who was the real heavyweight champion and who was bluffing. The contestant in question usually held an unusual occupation or had done something noteworthy. (Like winning the heavyweight championship)

After each celebrity had a turn to question the contestants, they each voted as to who they thought the real heavyweight champion was. When this process of question and answer was completed, the moderator would ask in a deep voice, “Will the real heavyweight champion please stand up?”

The real heavyweight champion would then stand up and the other two would reveal who they really were, and money was awarded to the contestants based on how many incorrect votes were placed.

For my money, and to tell the truth, I think Wladimir Klitschko is the real heavyweight champion of the world. Of the four claiming to be heavyweight champ, the other three being Nicolay Valuev (WBA), Oleg Maskaev (WBC) and Sergei Liakhovich (WBO) I feel that Klitschko has accomplished more than the other three and that his ability as a fighter exceeds the rest.

In successive fights Klitschko has beaten the two most dangerous fighters that the heavyweight division has had to offer. First up was Nigeria’s Samuel Peter, the NABF heavyweight titlist who was considered the top ranked contender with an undefeated record of 24-0 (21)KO.

Klitschko decisioned Peter in a hotly contested fight during which he was drilled to the canvas three times by the younger, stronger fighter. However, except for the rounds in which he scored knockdowns, Peter didn’t win any of the other rounds on my card. Klitschko demonstrated superior boxing ability and fought a smart and cautious fight in order to hand Peter his first loss. Peter is still seen as the fighter in the division with the biggest punch and is the most dangerous on any given night.

Next up for Klitschko was Chris Byrd who had a record of 39-2-1 (20)KO and had been the IBF titlist for nearly 2 ½ years. At the time, Byrd was ranked as the top heavyweight in the world by The Ring magazine. Klitschko bludgeoned Byrd in less than seven rounds and turned in the most complete performance seen in a heavyweight title fight in what seemed like years.

Klitschko is currently in the final stages of preparation to face undefeated heavyweight contender Calvin Brock on November 11 at Madison Square Garden in New York. Brock is another undefeated heavyweight contender with a record of 29-0 (22)KO and at age 29 he is considered young by today’s heavyweight standards. Should Klitschko get by Brock it will mean that in his last three fights he will have defeated the two top contenders and the most accomplished heavyweight titlist that boxing has to offer today. Combined, Klitschko’s last three opponents will have had a record of 92-2-1 (63)KO.

With a record of 46-3 (41)KO, Klitschko, in addition to being the current IBF titlist is also a former holder of the WBO heavyweight title which he successfully defended five times. He is an Olympic gold medal winner from the 1996 games held in Atlanta, Georgia. At 30 years old, with 10 years as a professional and with hall of fame trainer Emanuel Steward as his coach the future seems bright for Klitschko. The confidence and stamina problems that plagued him early in his career seem to be behind him.

Should Klitschko emerge victorious from the Brock fight in November, his next career choice should be to attempt to unify the heavyweight titles. Klitschko is the odds on favorite to defeat Brock and he would also be favored to conquer Maskaev, the WBC titlist and Valuev, the WBA belt-holder.

The real wild card is Sergei Liakhovich who has a tough fight against Shannon Briggs scheduled for November 4th in Phoenix. HBO is rumored to be making attempts to put together a unification tournament and should they manage to achieve this one would have to think that Klitschko would be favored to win it all.

Whatever the case, in this real-life game show known as the heavyweight division, it’s time for Wladimir Klitschko to finally stand up and to tell the truth to the question, “Who is the real heavyweight champion of the world?”

October 2006

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