The Big Nothing! In Search of Another Victim For Vitali Klitschko

May 29, 2010 - Duesseldorf, NORTH RHINE WESTPHALIA, Deutschland - epa02179382 Ukrainian Vitali Klitschko celebrates after defeating Polish Albert Sosnowski's Heavyweight Boxing World Championships bout in Duesseldorf, Germany on 29 May 2010. World WBC heavyweight champion Vitali Klitschko knocked out European heavyweight champion Sosnowski to retain the title.

(Welcome to another edition of The Big Nothing!, news from the heavyweight wasteland.)

Now that David Haye has mysteriously gone mum on the subject of the Klitschko brothers, it looks like Vitali Klitschko will have to look elsewhere for his next victim, err, opponent.

A glance at the WBC ratings (mock the sanctioning bodies all you want, but until Klitschko vacates his “title,” he will be facing fighters the WBC approves of) reveals a motley crew of challengers and non-challengers who might be next on the hit list. Because Klitschko can fight a trapeze artist and still draw 50,000 fans in Germany, he can pick and choose opponents at this point. But he would still like to be more than just a Youtube clip to American fans, so this edition of “The Big Nothing!” focuses on the fights and fighters HBO or Showtime might actually agree to broadcast.

1. Odlanier Solis

The Cuban amateur standout, 16-0 (12), looks like he spends more time at Cracker Barrel than he does at the speed bag. Never mind the fact that Solis has done nothing to earn a number one ranking, the fact is he is simply not in any kind of shape to challenge Klitschko. Solis, coming off of a third round TKO of inept Carl Drummond last March, is slow and immobile. Klitschko-Solis is not a fight Showtime or HBO would be interested in, but the Travel Channel might pick it up for a special edition of “Man V. Food.”

2.Nikolay Valuev

The giant ex-paper champ, 50-2 (34), already turned down a $2 million offer to face Klitschko last year. As it stands now, Valuev–or Don King, actually–will probably look to wait for some other opportunity to pop up on the heavyweight merry-go-round rather than face Klitschko. American television might actually be interested in a Klitschko-Valuev bout for the curiosity factor of seeing a 7’ fighter dropped flat on his face.

3. Alexander Povetkin

The talented Russian, now under the guidance of Teddy Atlas, is the mandatory for IBF titlist Wladimir Klitschko, so that rules him out for a possible fight with Vitali Klitschko. Although Team Povetkin seems hesitant to accept its championship opportunity, it seems unlikely that they would back out of a fight with Wladimir Klitschko just to face his brother.

4. Denis Boystov

Another Russian heavyweight based out of Germany, Boystov has beaten a few journeymen types but is almost completely unknown in America. His maulathon with Robert Hawkins was about as exciting as spending the day at the DMV. He does, however, seem to possess solid fundamentals and a good straight right. This would probably be a bout that Showtime might air, but it remains to be seen if Universum will throw Boytsov, 27-0 (22), in with the lions at this point.

5. Tomasz Adamek

Former two-division titlist Adamek, 41-1 (27), continues his improbable heavyweight run in August when he faces 1990s holdover Michael Grant in Newark, New Jersey. Adamek is coming off of an upset decision win over under-motivated and overfed Cris Arreola in April. Arreola made Adamek look like Nicolino Locche at times, but Adamek is probably too small to be a serious challenge for Klitschko. American television would snap this fight up because of its David and Goliath storyline. In addition, a premium cable channel would not have to cough up top dollar since revenue from German and Polish broadcast rights would already give both fighters staggering purses.

6. Derric Rossy

The best that can be said for Rossy is that he has been fairly active recently. Unfortunately, he has been spanking the likes of Joseph Harris and Zack Page (who was 20-27-2 entering his fight with Rossy). Rossy, 25-2 (14), scored his second victory over Page last March via decision as he waits for his phone to ring for a big money fight. Needless to say, HBO and Showtime have not programmed his name on speed dial. Earnest but painfully limited, Rossy would be brutally thrashed by Klitschko in a bout that might as well take place in a vivisection lab.

7. Johnathon Banks

How Banks wound up in the WBC top 10 is a modern mystery on par with that of Atlantis or Jack the Ripper. An unexceptional cruiserweight, Banks, 24-1-1 (17), is even less interesting as a heavyweight. His “fight” against journeyman Jason Gavern last month was only marginally more fun than watching sick poultry gambol. No one, not even loyal German fans, would pay to see Banks against Klitschko.

8. Sam Peter

Top Rank has been trying rebuild Peter after back to back losses in 2008 and early 2009. Of course that means beating on tomato cans, including a few who should be medically suspended from boxing, like morbidly obese Gabe Brown (who weighed over 360 pounds for his fight with Peter) and future disaster Ronald Bellamy, 45 years old and loser of nine fights in a row, two of which ended with him carried from the ring in a stretcher. American television would pass on Peter, since he was shut out by Vitali Klitschko in 2008.

9. Shannon Briggs

At 38, Briggs is still playing con man and, luckily for him, there are enough suckers out there (hello, boxing media!) to fall for his tricks and keep him in main events. Right now, Briggs, 51-5-1 (45), is somehow the WBC Latino Heavyweight Champion. Briggs is a nice guy, so why knock his hustle? A bon vivant with all the mobility of an obelisk in the ring, Briggs has knocked out his last three “opponents” in less than a round. Boring against anyone who can remain upright for more than three minutes, Briggs will most likely never be on HBO or Showtime again, although his mouth might get him a shot at Klitschko in Germany.

10. Tony Thompson

Thompson is as hardworking as he is non-descript. The 6’5” southpaw has won three in a row since curling up at the feet of Wladimir Klitschko in 2008 after 10 rounds of dull but not uncompetitive milling. Thompson, 34-2, is probably too colorless for HBO or Showtime and his loss to Wladimir Klitschko likely diminishes his attractiveness to German television executives as well.

Topics: Alexander Povetkin, Cracker Barrel, David Haye. Odlanier Solis, Denis Boystov, Derric Rossy, HBO, HEAVYWEIGHTS, Johnothan Banks, Nikolay Valuev, Sam Peter, Shannon Briggs, Showtime, TOMASZ ADAMEK, Tony Thompson, Vitali Klitschko, WBC

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  • martin

    Sad state of affairs, C-Los. No one will beat him, but I would like to see Adamek get a shot. If nothing else, he is in shape, has skills, and is a professional in terms of attitude and work ethic.

    • Carlos Acevedo

      Hi Martin,

      Thanks for writing. Yeah, it is pretty hairy out there. Ever since the title became split in the late 1970s (and two more “world” titles were added subsequently), heavyweights have been sitting around, building up bogus records, sneaking into top 10 ratings, and then waiting for a phone call to fight for one of several world titles. A friend of mine, who used to be a matchmaker, told me that Butch Lewis is actually still in that game with a guy named Faruq Saleem. Or he was, since Saleem ran his slate up to 38-0 before getting knocked out by a guy with a 3-4 record.

      As for Adamek, I agree, just based on his heart and pro demeanor he deserves a big paycheck. The man fights more often than Cris Arroela hits IHOP…wait, that can’t be right….anyway, he’s exciting, tough, and draws thousands of fans without TV subsidies.

      • martin

        I’m not going to make the argument that boxing needs another division for the super heavies, but it’s almost too bad, because there are actually some decent and semi-exciting fights to be made by the “small” heavies.

        Haye vs. Adamek? I’d buy.

        • Carlos Acevedo

          Haye vs. Adamek would be explosive while it lasted and Adamek wouldn’t have to worry too much about size differential. You would think Adamek would be on everybody’s list because of the extra revenue he generates with Polish TV, but he’s taking it step by step.

          Nothing is keeping small heavies from fighting each other except for the fact that they don’t want to blow a big $ bout with one of three heavyweight champions.

          • martin

            True. I wish they would just do it then. It’s too bad that a loss to even a credible opponent takes them out of the running.

  • aidan

    I had a read there through your top ten there and it makes for some grim reading as im sure youll agree.
    There is noone there that actually whets the appetite or captures the imagination. Maybe a Klitsckho vs Valuev pre-haye would have been interesting, but what purpose would it serve now?
    They are all either too old, already been beat or technically underequipped to deal with Klitschko and i dont think there is many up there who would actually go the distance with him.
    The fact is, is that we NEED Haye to come out of hiding/rest and give the heavyweight devision exactly what it needs.. which is basically just a good old fashioned kick up the arse. We need people talking about it again as its dying a death at the moment. We know we are in a bad state of affairs when Audley Harrisons name is being bandied about as potential Cannon fodder for either fighter.
    Personally i think the main reason for Hayes silence on the issue at the moment is that he is taking a complete break from the sport for a few months, prob to spend time with the missus in cyprus where he lives, and we’ll probably hear more off him after the world cup closer to the end of the summer.
    The fact that he is both promoter and fighter probably supports this idea.
    Just for the record i think Haye would take Vitali the distance and beat him and ko his brother Wlad if either fight were to happen. Hope i dont have to wait too long to find out!
    Calos i know i posted this earlier on thS.O forum, it just can be a bit quiet in there.
    im justed interested to guage others opinions on haye and the HW scene in general.

    • martin

      Hello Aidan -

      I’d like nothing more than to see someone (anyone) knock off a Klitschko and inject some excitement into the HW division. That being said, I think Haye has a slim to none chance of being that guy.

    • Carlos Acevedo

      Hi Aidan,

      Thanks for dropping in from Seconds Out. I agree that Haye has captured the imagination of many out there because of his colorful personality. Young, outspoken, and good-looking, Haye resembles an action figure in many ways. Compared to other heavyweights out there, Haye looks like the real deal. He also has a unique skill set for a heavyweight–super speed combined with athleticism. Unfortunately, beating Monte Barrett, Valuev, and Ruiz proves little and there still many questions surrounding him. ESPN reports a contract has been offered to Harrison for a November 13th date. That would be pretty bad news for anyone even remotely interested in boxing, but I think Haye will eventually fight a Klitschko, since it would represent an enormous payday. Right now, however, Wladimir is negotiating with Povetkin and Vitali will probably deal with Valuev.

      As for how well Haye would do against a Klitschko…at this point it’s hard to say, but it would probably be a pretty good fight, which is what everyone really wants.

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