View Full Version : Wladimir Klitschko Is Now In the Driver’s Seat

11-08-2006, 05:11 AM
By John Hively

Shannon Brigg’s stunning twelfth round upset knockout over Sergei Liakhovich has put IBF heavyweight champion Wladimir Klitschko squarely in the driver’s seat in the heavyweight division.

With Liakhovich beaten and Lamon Brewster inactive and a recent loser to Sergei, there isn’t much to stand in the way of Klitschko’s coronation as the world’s heavyweight champion should he get by Calvin Brock on November 11th.

Should he defeat Brock, only a victory against contender Oleg Maskaev will stand between him and the public's blessing as the true heavyweight champion of the world.

Everybody else will then be a titlist, a contender or a pretender. If the unbeaten Brock bites the dust against Wladimir, and Oleg decides to fight him and loses, Klitschko will have defeated three of the top ten current heavyweight contenders according to the Ring. Chris Byrd, no longer rated, was their number one man until Wlad dominated and annihilated him earlier this year. With that win, the Ukrainian gave himself a slight inside track toward divisional dominance.

Now the Klitschko-Brock bout looms more important than ever before if only because a win will enlarge and solidify the Ukrainian’s inside track over all other contenders.
Oleg Maskaev is a big hitter, possessor of a lengthy winning streak against mostly questionable opponents, and currently the Ring’s number two contender. A recent knockout winner over Hasim Rahman, he’s a little slow of foot but possesses good skills and a big punch.

Right now the road to being world champion runs straight through Oleg, but only Wladimir Klitschko can travel this highway to reach the ultimate destination.

The rest of the division needs to travel a different route to seek the division’s highest honor and that path is blocked by the talented Ukrainian. Whoever knocks him off would likely still be a fight or two or three away from winning universal recognition as the top dog.

Brigg’s surprising triumph over Liakhovich shows just how deep and balanced the heavyweight division is today. Shannon is now, for the first time in his fourteen year career, a winner without controversy over a legitimate contender.

Briggs is a big hitter and he could and perhaps should go up higher in the division if he keeps his nose to the grindstone. He has scored twelve straight knockouts, but with the exception of his win over Sergei, those victories have come over either unknown or washed up fighters.

Nikolai Valuev is rolling along unbeaten as of yet. This largest of heavyweight titlists has demonstrated himself to be a formidable fighting machine mainly against lower level opponents, but he does hold a victory over the Ring’s number six contender John Ruiz (W 12), as well as tough gatekeeper Monte Barrett (KO 11). Nikolai is still developing and perhaps he may yet make the championship grade.

The remaining contenders have been inconsistent as of late. Liakhovich just lost to Briggs after having defeated Lamon Brewster, who has since been inactive while recuperating from eye surgery.

The overweight and aging James Toney just lost a controversial decision to Samuel Peter, and a rematch is in the works. Peter lost ten of twelve rounds in a bout against Klitschko a year or so ago. John Ruiz hasn’t won a bout since 2004, but many observers felt he deserved the nod against Valuev. Hasim Rahman was a recent loser to Maskaev via KO. Rahman hasn’t beaten a legitimate top ten heavyweight since knocking out Lennox Lewis half a decade ago, but he did look unlucky in not receiving the decision against Toney in his fight prior to his loss to Maskaev.

Winning steadily will soon become more important with the likely rise of Ruslan Chagaev, Sultan Ibragimov, Valdimir Vichis and several other Eastern Europeans to contender status during the next several months. This means the division will become much more deeply talented than is currently the case. As today’s fairly deep division possibly transforms into one of history’s deepest in terms of talent and balance, inconsistency may prove to be a death blow to becoming the real heavyweight champion or of even achieving a top ten rating.

It wasn’t that long ago when Monte Barrett entered some top ten heavyweight lists without ever having defeated anyone close to being a real contender. Those days have been gone for a couple years now and the competition will only become greater with the arrival of those listed above, as well as others.

Having suffered three defeats, Klitschko has hardly proven that he is unbeatable in today’s deep and balanced heavyweight division, but his wins against some of today’s best heavyweights such as Peter and Byrd have shown that he is a most formidable opponent.

Right now Wladimir is clearly the top dog among the heavyweights. Until Klitschko is defeated, only he has the inside track to becoming the real heavyweight champion in a deepening division. Only underdogs Brock and Maskaev stand in his way.

11-16-2006, 12:37 AM
I did not read this article because I saw the name Shannon Briggs and vomit rushed into my mouth. I was able to swallow it but I could not keep reading.

11-17-2006, 03:32 AM
shannon briggs had great hair

xhale of the shoes
11-17-2006, 04:39 AM
;220025']shannon briggs had great hair

i knew you were gay you scumbag..

11-19-2006, 09:22 AM
i wanna see the brothers fight each other