Saturday, March 27, 2010

Younger of the Klitschkos One of the Greats?

With two reigns as champion, Wladimir Klitschko is closing in on the all-time greats.

Say what you will about IBF/WBO heavyweight titlist Wladimir Klischko - but numbers don't lie.

While many within the sport denigrate the accomplishments of the younger of the fighting Klitschko brothers, what is becoming clear is that he is beginning to put up some legitimate numbers when it comes to defending his heavyweight titles and the length of time he has held those belts.

It is likely that no heavyweight fighter will ever replicate or surpass the gold standard numbers of Joe Louis. The "Brown Bomber" held the heavyweight championship of the world for a little over 11 years and 8 months. He defended the championship an amazing 25 times.

Only Larry Holmes at 20 successful title defenses and Muhammad Ali at 19 have come close to Louis' all-time mark. Neither man, who each held the heavyweight championship a little over 7 years are close to Louis' nearly 12-year reign.

Kllitschko, with two reigns as a heavyweight belt holder, has defended those belts 13 times. That ranks him fifth all-time behind Louis, Holmes, Ali and Lennox Lewis who chalked up 14 title defenses.

The younger Klitschko, whose brother Vitali currently holds the WBC belt, has also held his titles for just over six years. Only Louis, Ali, Holmes and Jack Dempsey have held the title for a longer period of time.

Klitschko then, is in hall of fame company. Granted, the heavyweight championship of the world isn't what it used to be, but what is in this day and age?

But before we say that Klitschko has faced a series of no-hopers, you have to ask yourself this: Was Joe Louis' "Bum of the Month Club" that featured defenses against names such as Red Burman, Gus Dorazio or Tony Musto any more impressive than Ali's defenses against the likes of Jean-Pierre Coopman, Richard Dunn or Alfedo Evangelista? Were Holmes' defenses against the likes of Lorenzo Zanon, Scott LeDoux and Leroy Jones better than those that Lennox Lewis made against Phil Jackson, Henry Akinwande or Zeljko Mavrovic?

Whatever the case, Klitschko is closing in on some historical all-time numbers. He's fifth all-time in title defenses and fifth all-time in length of reign.

Maybe he isn't so bad after all.

Joe Louis - 25 title defenses - Reigned 11 years, 8 months, 9 days

Muhammad Ali - 19 title defenses - Reigned 7 years, 5 months, 10 days

Larry Holmes - 20 title defenses - Reigned 7 years, 3 months, 12 days

Jack Dempsey - 6 title defenses - Reigned 7 years, 2 months, 19 days

Wladimir Klitschko - 13 title defenses - Reigned 6 years, 4months (current)

Lennox Lewis - 14 title defenses - Reigned 6 years, 2months, 14 days

March 2010


Anonymous said...

i'll agree the wladimir is one of the greats but i do believe that vitali is even better.

Anonymous said...

furthermore, wladimir got beat by purity and sanders and struggled with peter... vitali knocked out all three. and vitali has only two losses - both stopped due to injury/cut - both fights he was ahead on the cards...