Advertisement
Advertisement

A Welcome Nightmare: Robert Helenius Adds Life

By Cliff Rold

It sure as hell wasn’t David Haye.

That much all can be sure of.

Eventually, almost certainly, it will be someone though. 

Someone will give World Heavyweight Champion Wladimir Klitschko a run.  It’s happened before in the champion’s career, it will come again.  It comes for them all.  Sometimes, the challenges come, and were seen coming.  Other times, new forces emerge in a single night to shake the game to its core. 

If Robert Helenius (15-0, 10 KO) continues to develop at the pace he’s on, he will not be the latter.  Nicknamed the “Nordic Nightmare,” Helenius might just be a dream come true for fight fans that want to see Klitschko pushed.

One could take that literally to start.  Helenius is not a man to be easily missed.  Standing almost 6’7, and normally weighing in between 230 and 250 lbs., Helenius is a big man in the field of boxing big men. 

It’s more than size that marks him as a potential force.  Helenius, in his short career so far, is posting the sort of wins that merit notice.  Standard fare for a solid prospect, like wins over Attila Levin and Taras Bydenko, state right away he’s better than a journeyman.  Stoppage of former beltholders Lamon Brewster and Samuel Peter state more.

Robert Helenius, making his sixteenth start this Saturday (to be televised live in the U.S. on EPIX), is already a contender.  How much of a contender, how serious a threat, remains to be seen.  How much buzz he can build will begin to unfold as he attempts to pick up his third titlist scalp this weekend.

Sergiy Lyakhovich (25-3, 16 KO) is an interesting choice of foe.  He’s fought only four times since winning the last true Heavyweight classic, a twelve round epic with Brewster in 2006.  Neither man was ever the same. 

Lyakhovich lost his next fight, and the WBO Heavyweight strap, in a tedious affair with Shannon Briggs, was unable to win a round against the giant Nicolay Valuev despite what should have been a storehouse of technical advantages, and since has only gone to scratch twice.  He’s a part time fighter with a name, the sort rising Heavyweights with championship aspirations have feasted on for generations.

That doesn’t mean a win, particularly by knockout, would be meaningless for Helenius.  Coming off the Peter win in April, it would be quite the opposite.  Helenius would have the appearance of serious momentum.

The April win was that eye catching.  Sure, Peter was coming off a knockout loss to Wladimir in September 2010, and, frankly, has never looked quite the same again after Vitali Klitschko trounced him for eight rounds in 2008.   However, Peter can still take a decent shot and it takes a whale of a blast to put the Nigerian down.

Helenius came up with that whale of a blast.  How he came up with is more reason to pay attention.  Helenius feinted and slipped a short left hook inside to put Peter into the floor.  It was the sort of agile blow once the stock in trade of Riddick Bowe, the sort of athletic and fluid punch most men the size of Helenius can’t throw.  That includes Wladimir, whose left hook can be devastating but is more deliberate.

Of course, Wladimir Klitschko’s throne isn’t built on the left hook.  It’s built on a left jab that history will likely regard one day as among the best sticks the game ever came up with.  Helenius can crack, for sure.  Can he get past the telephone pole growing out of Klitschko’s shoulder?  Will he know what to do if he hurt the champ and got clinched for dear life?   

We won’t know unless this fight ripens into something edible for fight fans one day.  Helenius has a ways to go but, as he continues to pick up wins, these are the sorts of questions that inevitably form.  It’s the beauty of the build.  Boxing relies on fans wanting to see not just the fight today but also the fights tomorrow.  Traveling that distance means finding who is next.

While there are far too many beltholders, especially in boxing’s flagship class, since the big WBC/WBA split at the end of the 70s, there aren’t that many rising contenders who can point to beating three of those former titlists before their 16th fight.  Anyone who could was someone to be reckoned with. 

The world will know a least a little bit more about Helenius is just a few days.    
 
Cliff’s Notes… Champ for Champ 2011 is coming…So is a divisional ratings update.  Really…Helenius is in a spot another man on the bill with him this weekend once was: Alexander Povetkin.  The 2004 Olympic Gold Medalist at Super Heavyweight, Povetkin’s public posture has been as close to an admission that he can’t beat a Klitschko as one can get.  It’s hard to care about a fighter who is handled in a way that screams ‘settling for second best.’  His fight with Chagaev should be entertaining enough anyways…Carl Froch is nervous about the judges for the Andre Ward fight?  One can assume Showtime is too.  Another marred ending to one of their tournaments would be sour indeed…Dana W hite owned Bob Arum in the war of words this week and was pretty much right on all counts.  Dana White took something fringe and made it bigger.  Boxing needs a Dana White in the worst way…Reminds me of the last line of Lonesome Dove: “A man of vision you say?  Yeah, hell of a vision”…Of course, that’s the filmed version.  The book ends with, “They say he missed that whore.”  Considering they call this the red light district of sport, either will suffice.

Cliff Rold is a member of the Ring Magazine Ratings Advisory Panel, the Yahoo Pound for Pound voting panel, and the Boxing Writers Association of America.  He can be reached at [email protected]

User Comments and Feedback (Register For Free To Comment) Comment by Freedom. on 08-25-2011

Good article. I was surprised to see Cliff Rold write anything positive about a current heavyweight. I like Helenius, but he would be no match for a Klitschko. Robert is very heavy-handed and surprisingly crafty. He has deceptively quick handspeed.…

Comment by WladIsTheChamp on 08-25-2011

Great read. Helenius is looking strong, 3 world champs in 16 fights, that's damn good. Plus he has size, reminds me of Sanders a bit with that left hook. Could be trouble for Wlad if he catches him but can…

Comment by Grinderman on 08-25-2011

[QUOTE=Jack Napier;11035821]didn't know about Helenius before he iced Peter he looks like he can give Wlad a fight don't think he'd win though [B]but he, Valuev, and Povetkin[/B] are the only guys really left one of the Klits has owned…

Comment by Tiozzo on 08-25-2011

Helenius isn't ready for a Klit if he's not rushed into a title fight and keeps on fighting good opposition like it has been the case, he could become a threat, a real one, something that has been missing in…

Comment by Sadistic on 08-25-2011

[QUOTE=!!Captain;11035935]Man, I wish "Brewster fight" Lyakhovich shows up and surprises the hell out of everyone. Lyakhovich vs. Brewster still is the best fight since Lewis vs. Vitali, up until today. Can Lyakhovich show the same determination? I really wish so,…

Post a Comment/View More User Comments (8)
Top Headlines Lolenga Mock Outscores David Becarra Over Ten Rounds Callum Smith Hits Washington To Scout Badou Jack-Lucian Bute Fury Just Wants To Be Left Alone To Enjoy a Chicken Sandwich Francisco Vargas Granted Temporary License, Must Submit To Additional Testing Vasyl Lomachenko: Nicholas Walters Kept Making Excuses Rances Barthelemy-Mickey Bey Tops PBC on Spike, June 3 Photos: Badou Jack, James DeGale, Bute, Medina Ready To Fight Photos: Manny Pacquiao Hits The Campaign Trail in Senate Bid News: Marquis Moore; Orlando Del Valle; Dashon Johnson Video: Jack-Bute, DeGale-Medina Make Weight For Battle All Fighters Make Weight For Showtime Double In D.C. Khan: Beating Canelo Would Be Monumental For British Boxing DeGale: I Told Badou Jack 'You're Next, Green Belt is Coming To UK' Bellew vs. Makabu Title Clash Officially Unveiled Weights From London: Fury 231, Kassi 233 Carl Frampton Relinquishes IBF 122-Pound Crown Kovalev's Promoter Details How Chilemba/Russia Deal Came About Andre Dirrell 'Definitely' Would Go To England For DeGale Rematch Porter: Thurman Doesn't Work on The Inside, Smarter Fighter Wins Gaiyanghadaogym, Sithsamerchai Claim Wins In Thailand Frampton: Leo Santa Cruz's Style is Made For Me, 100% I'll Win Jeff Horn Targets WBO Title Showdown With Jessie Vargas Photos: Joshua, Haye, Groves, McGuigan Hit BT Sport Awards Golovkin's Promoter: If Kell Brook is Serious, We Can Discuss It Nacho Says 'Perfect Fight' Will Still See Khan Get Blasted By Canelo Video: Victor Ortiz vs. Andre Berto Final Press Conference Patrick Nielsen-Denis Douglin Set For May 28 in Denmark De La Hoya: Canelo Has Surpassed What I Accomplished at His Age Video: Roman Martinez on Overcoming Lomachenko Defense Stevenson Motivated To Reach Childhood Dream of Olympic Gold Tyson Fury: I Wish I Had Anthony Joshua's C**k, I Bet It's Big Manny Pacquiao Shocked at Kidnap Plot, Requests Added Security Video: DeGale on Facing Lucian Bute if He Shocks Badou Jack Jessie Vargas is Ready and Willing To Unify With Kell Brook Video: Badou Jack Talks Lucian Bute, DeGale vs. Medina, More Martinez's Promoter Details Situation With WBO Title, Berchelt Video: Felix Verdejo Talks New York City Return, Critics, More Video: Lucian Bute Confident That He's Downing Badou Jack Valdez Title Fight Under Consideration For Crawford-Postol PPV Video: James DeGale Putting in Work as Medina Fight Nears
Advertisement

Latest Active Forum Threads
Advertisement
Advertisement