Boxing

Vitali Klitschko Makes Easy Work of Juan Carlos Gomez

NEW YORK - DECEMBER 6:  Vitali Klitschko celebrates after defeating Kirk Johnson by way of knock out in the second round during their heavyweight bout on December 6, 2003 at Madison Square Garden in New York City.  (Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images)
Stacy W.L.Correspondent IMarch 22, 2009

I have never caught any of Vitali Klitschko's fights, and have sometimes wondered why his and his brother's rule of the heavyweight division doesn't garner the pair much affection in the United States. 

After watching the Klitschko/Gomez fight tonight on ESPN, however, I have to admit that I was underwhelmed by Klitschko's performance.  Yes, he is very strong and he has some boxing skills and he likes to put his man away.

In the fight, Klitschko had the important physical advantage.  He is a tall man who knows how to use his height, and was able to keep the shorter Gomez from being able to do any damage to him. 

By the fifth or sixth round, when Gomez was getting thoroughly beaten and his right eye was almost swollen shut, when he did get in on the inside of Klitschko's persistent offense, he could do no more than hold on.

Klitschko finished it out at 1:49 of the eighth round, after beating Gomez around the ring and mat. 

Confusingly, Klitschko was given a point deduction for a head butt in the ninth round, shortly before the end of the fight.  It didn't make sense to me or to the commentators that someone who was so clearly in control of the fight would choose that moment to cheat.

I watched it back a few times, however, and it did seem that Klitschko  intentionally butted his head against Gomez' head.  Throughout the fight, Klitschko fought dirty rather than just relying on his already substantial ownership of the ring to get his work done.  In the seventh round, Klitschko punched his opponent after he was down. 

And finally, adding injury to insult, when Gomez finally turned his back in submission to the mightier foe Klitschko literally reached around from behind him to send a few more sucker punches toward his nose before the referree got in between them to stop the fight.

The fight left me with a bitter taste in my mouth, and I just couldn't celebrate with Vitali Klitschko as he strutted around the ring.  I don't know which heavyweight Klitschko might risk who could knock him out, but at this point, I would like to see it happen.

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