On Saturday, IBF, IBO, and WBA heavyweight champion, Wladimir Klitschko (57-3) slammed a jab, right hand, left hook combination to stop Jean-Marc Mormeck (36-5) by knockout at 1:12 of the fourth round. It was Klitschko's 50th knockout victory and with this stoppage he moved into fifth place for most KOs by a heavyweight champion. Klitschko so dominated the bout that took place in Dusseldorf, Germany that his 39- year-old opponent landed only three blows in four rounds. The champion connected with 39 of 135 punches.
Two weeks ago, elder brother Vitali Klitschko won a unanimous decision over Dereck Chisora. Forty of Vitali's 44 victories have come by way of a KO. He boasts the highest knockout percentage of any heavyweight champion in history (86.96). But oddly enough, Americans yawn in indifference over these two brainy brawlers who routinely fill stadiums in Germany.
The Klitschko brothers have barely lost a round in the last five years. Between them they have simply cleaned out the division. Emanuel Steward, Wladimir Klitschko's trainer, confided, "Wladimir likes to stay active but it is very hard to find fights for him." Steward is correct. Right now there are no heavyweights in their boxing universe and they long ago promised their mother that they would never toe the line against one another.
While Vitali is thought to be the tougher of the two both mentally and physically, Wladimir has better speed, boxing skills, and punching power. Freddie Roach, who at some point trained both Tyson and Wladimir, told me, "Mike is faster but no one hits harder than Wladimir." Roach also added that he has never seen a heavyweight condition like Wladimir Klitschko, "He is totally committed."
Last week, Mike Tyson insisted that the fighter who beats Klitschko will have to "jab his way inside, move his head, and throw devastating counter punches." I would add that he will also have to have very good neural circuitry. Chisora actually accomplished some of this in his loss to Vitali. He closed the gap and landed some telling body blows, but he did not have the pop to do real damage to Klitschko, nor was he successful in avoiding the thudding blows of the 6'7 Ukrainian.
In last Saturday's contest, Mormeck bobbed and weaved and managed to get chest to chest with Wladimir, but Klitschko tied him up and then deftly pivoted away. What Klitschko failed to do was use the uppercut and for a few rounds at least, he seemed unable to keep Mormeck at a sufficient distance to deliver his punches. Still, he threaded his quick and head snapping jab perfectly between Mormeck's gloves, and his right hand had all the sleep-inducing qualities of an Ernie Shavers right.
Both the Klitschkos are supremely competitive, goal oriented individuals, but it will take some imagination for Vitali (40 yrs) and Wladimir (35 yrs) to imagine fresh fistic peaks in the desert-like conditions of the current heavyweight division.