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Klitschko vs Solis: Two Schools of Thought on Odlanier

There are a couple of popular schools of thought regarding the latest contender who will attempt to wrest the WBC heavyweight title from Vitali Klitschko in Cologne this Saturday night.

One is that Odlanier Solis is just the latest no-mark to lever his flabby frame in between the only heavyweight fight the world truly wants to see, between the elder Klitschko and David Haye.

The other is that in the fleet-footed, fast-punching Solis, who is a former Olympic and world amateur champion, Klitschko will find by far his toughest test since his return from a four-year retirement in 2008.

The fact is until he starts throwing punches on Saturday night we will not know for sure which Solis will turn up, such is the enigma surrounding a fighter who promises more than most yet frequently fails to deliver.

Solis won three world amateur titles, stopping David Haye en route to his first in Belfast in 2001, as well as Olympic gold in Athens in 2004. He holds two victories over his legendary compatriot, Felix Savon.

With a record like that it was no surprise that Solis' defection from Cuba during a training camp in Venezuela in 2006 was big news, and he was marked out by many - including Haye - as a potential professional champion.

On the face of it, perhaps the only surprise about Solis' career so far is that in a heavyweight world with such a paucity of threatening challengers, it has taken him so long to earn his shot.

Solis has racked up 17 straight wins, winning 12 of them early. Yet so lethargic and lackadaisical has been his attitude in the course of some of those victories that many are seriously questioning his ability to push Klitschko.

Solis looked simply awful in his last fight against old plodder Ray Austin in December last year, pawing his way to a 10th round disqualification win despite looking appallingly out of shape.

Critics would point out he is also yet to face any kind of serious test to his unbeaten record, with his next-best opponents Monte Barrett and Carl Davis Drummond both dispatched early.

Even Solis' harshest critics admit he has the tools to beat Klitschko. And the Cuban insists that with his mind for once entirely focused on the fight of his life, he is perfectly equipped to become world champion.

"Since I turned professional, my goal has always been the same and I felt that I have been ready to fight for the most prized crown in this industry," says Solis. "When I get the opportunity, I will be ready."

Reports suggest Solis has shed his pot belly and is in the kind of shape he was last in in his seriously good amateur days. The question, then, reverts to Klitschko and his ability to maintain his own level of performance at the age of 39.

If Klitschko's comeback tour reads like a damning indictment of the state of the world heavyweight division today, it would be an even more shattering blow to discover Solis could not rise above the dross.

Klitschko easily won the title from the utterly uninspiring Samuel Peter then defended it consecutively against a blown-up cruiserweight, an over-hyped prospect, two men who had no business being in the same ring, and a has-been.

It is surely inconceivable that Solis will not seize his chance to provide Klitschko with a sterner test - and who is to say that a motivated Solis would not be good enough to beat a man who has not gone to the well since his loss to Lennox Lewis in 2003.

Just as there are two schools of thought about Solis, so there are two predictions for this fight. The first is that the only thing fatter than Solis will be his pay-cheque, and he will clamber in the Cologne ring willing to be out-bored over 10 or so rounds.

The second is that Solis comes out slimmed down and super-fast, slowly breaking Klitschko's heart and peppering out a verdict so clear even the German judges cannot deny him.All but the most ardent of Klitschko supporters should fervently hope for option number two, heralding the reign of an exciting new heavyweight champion. Whether it happens or not is up to Solis just as much as Klitschko.

User Comments and Feedback (Register For Free To Comment) Comment by Tiozzo on 03-17-2011

[QUOTE=ChopperRead;10246848]Wow, lots of Klitschko hating from this writer. Giving Vitali almost no credit for coming back after 3 years off and being so dominant means that the writer here has zero credibility. Lennox Lewis disagrees with you, and so do…

Comment by CubanGuyNYC on 03-17-2011

[QUOTE=jimmy1569;10246101][B]The only way Solis can win is by Klitschko default injury or [U]knocking him out[/U]. [U]There is no way any fighter can win 6 rds or more against Vitali in a boxing match[/U].[/B] If Solis can get inside then it…

Comment by ChopperRead on 03-17-2011

[QUOTE=Ravens Fan;10246821]I have watched him fight and I have to be honest and say that I must be missing something. Because I don't think that he is that good regardless of what kind of weight he carries into the ring.[/QUOTE]…

Comment by ChopperRead on 03-17-2011

Wow, lots of Klitschko hating from this writer. Giving Vitali almost no credit for coming back after 3 years off and being so dominant means that the writer here has zero credibility. Lennox Lewis disagrees with you, and so do…

Comment by Ravens Fan on 03-17-2011

I have watched him fight and I have to be honest and say that I must be missing something. Because I don't think that he is that good regardless of what kind of weight he carries into the ring.

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