By Ruslan Chikov
WBC heavyweight champion Vitali Klitschko (44-2, 40KOs) was not willing to make the same mistake twice. In 2000, Vitali was way ahead on the scorecards in a bout with challenger Chris Byrd - but he suffered a left shoulder injury during the contest and quit on his stool. It took three years, and heroic loss to Lennox Lewis, to erase the stain of the ninth round defeat to Byrd.
Two weeks ago in Munich, Vitali found himself in the same position. Defending the title against British challenger Dereck Chisora, Vitali injured his left shoulder but this time he refused to quit. Vitali says he was willing to die in the ring to defeat to Chisora - who slapped Vitali in the face during their weigh-in.
"My tendon tore and it hit a nerve, so I couldn't lift my left arm..it wouldn't obey me. I had two choices. Twelve years ago in the fight against Chris Byrd....because the tendon was torn, the pain unbearable. I was ahead [on the cards] and I lost my world championship. In Munich, I chose the second option. [I] gritted my teeth and pulled myself together. I would have rather died than lose my title against that creep," Vitali said.