by Cliff Rold
They are the best Heavyweight since the retirement of Lennox Lewis.
“They” might be part of the problem for fans outside pockets of Europe. After all these years, the argument rages on. Who has been the singular best? Wladimir or Vitali?
It’s sort of a silly argument. Some people even hope, still, to see them fight each other. In a sport where permanent injury, even death, is a possible outcome, the thought of two brothers fighting is repugnant.
Those who can enjoy them apart get a fix this weekend in what might be an intriguing match. The elder is at center stage. The younger is up two weeks after.
It’s Klitschko time.
These are the picks of the week.
Pick It: #1 Vitali Klitschko vs. #10 Dereck Chisora (Saturday, EPIX, 4:30 PM EST/1:30 PM PST)
Of the two, Vitali (43-2, 40 KO) has been in the better fights over the years and has a foe that shows more promise than what looms in Wladimir-Jean Marc Mormeck. Bouncing back from a loss to Tyson Fury where he showed up a ghastly 261 lbs., Chisora (15-2, 9 KO) trimmed to 243 and defeated the hottest young Heavyweight on the landscape. Then the scores were read. Chisora’s loss to Robert Helenius was of the more widely decried in 2011 (though it was hardly the worst and highly competitive in many rounds). It has been ignored in giving him a WBC title shot. The real winner won after all. Chisora, against both Fury and Helenius, made good fights and gives a jolt of action to a division in need. With a pressuring style, and the hope he shows up in shape, Chisora looks like he might bring a fight to Vitali. It’s hard to imagine him winning. Giving fans a good show would be good enough. At 40 and with no real chance ahead to pass his brother as the world’s best (and that is a mantle Wladimir earned and merits today), Vitali may not be around long. Enjoy him for now.
Pick Show: Williams vs. Ishida & Cloud-Campillo (Saturday, Showtime, 10 PM EST)
This is the better show of the two big Saturday picks. Globally, it’s scale is smaller but that is no matter once the bell rings. Two top ten matches, in two fascinating classes, stands on merit. At Jr. Middleweight, #6 Nobuhiro Ishida (24-6-2, 9 KO) will try to win his third straight and build on a shocking first-round knockout win over James Kirkland in 2011. Former Welterweight and Jr. Middleweight titlist Paul Williams (40-2, 27 KO) will try to right the ship after two straight ass whippings. What’s that? He won his last time out against Erislandy Lara? See above; it was the worst decision of last year and the lone step to scratch for Williams since a second round knockout loss to Sergio Martinez. Ishida-Williams is paired with the Light Heavyweights. Undefeated #3 Tavoris Cloud (23-0, 19 KO) will attempt his fourth defense of the IBF belt against former WBA titlist Gabriel Campillo (21-3-1, 8 KO). Campillo is no stranger to theft. His belt was lifted in an awful decision against Beibut Shumenov in 2010. He also got a bit of a shaft in a ‘draw’ against Karo Murat last year. Like Chisora, the last blemish is rewarded. Cloud is one of the game’s most exciting young fighters. He has a serious test here.
Pick Friday Twice: FNF & ShoBox
For those who can’t wait until Saturday…well, why should they? ESPN2 (9 PM EST/6 PM PST) gives fans a look at undefeated Olympian Shawn Estrada (13-0, 12 KO) at Super Middleweight and a main event featuring two Jr. Welterweights looking for a big win, Mike Dallas (17-2-1, 7 KO) coming off two losses and Miguel Gonzalez (20-2, 15 KO) trying to build to 17 straight wins. On Showtime (11 PM EST/PST), Welterweight Thomas Dulorme (13-0, 10 KO) tries to stay unblemished against Aris Ambriz (16-2-1, 8 KO) while Jr. Middle Jonathan Gonzalez (14-0, 13 KO) attempts the same against worn veteran Billy Lyell (24-10, 5 KO). Both Dulorme and Gonzalez should succeed but it’s worth checking in to see.
Back in seven.
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Cliff Rold is a member of the Ring Magazine Ratings Advisory Panel and the Boxing Writers Association of America. He can be reached at [email protected]