In the end it was all so familiar, a Klitschko brother standing triumphant in the ring and yet another challenger exposed as not being a contender. But even by the standards of the two brothers that have dominated heavyweight boxing since the retirement of Lennox Lewis, this was a crushing victory.
Amateur standout Odlanier Solis started brightly and showed far more ambition than recent Klitschko opponents such as Kevin Johnson or Albert Sosnowski. While Vitali was winning the round, the Cuban came close with his favored chopping left and moved around the ring well while working the body of the WBC Champion. It looked like Solis was growing in confidence against the methodical champion, connecting cleanly with a right hand and a left hook. It was however when he looked to follow the left hook with another right hand that everything went wrong for Solis, with Klitschko countering with a short counterpoint that quite simply scrambled the brains of the former Olympian. While he didn’t go down he was quite clearly standing on stakes, struggling to stay upright. Klitschko pounced with a pawing jab that landed on the temple and Solis’ fell to the ground awkwardly.
It’s debatable whether Solis would have been able to answer the count given how badly shaken he looked but his fight was ended for certain when he injured his right knee on the fall down. An irate Vitali accused Solis of quitting and apologized to the jeering fans for not giving them the expected long fight. It was certainly an unsatisfying end to a fight that had promised much and for the first few minutes seemed to be on course to delivering.
The question that has to be asked whether what happened to Odlanier Solis is just a preview of what is in store for WBA Champion David Haye and former two-weight world champion Tomasz Adamek? Solis may have not achieved as much as either has as a professional but his amateur credentials are just as relevant as their success at lower weights. Despite Solis being larger than either Haye or Adamek, Vitali still dwarfed him and Solis often seemed to just be a couple of inches short on his punches.
Both men have shown further weaknesses that the Klitschkos should be able to exploit. Tomasz Adamek was undersized at cruiserweight and is getting by on hyperactivity and bravery. But against both Chris Arreola and Michael Grant he tired significantly in the second half of the fight, and due to punching up never came close to cracking the chin of his significantly larger opponents.
David Haye is closer to being a natural heavyweight, but with his optimum weight being at least thirty pounds less than either brother he will face the same horrible dilemma that has bedeviled the likes of Sam Peters and Eddie Chambers; to what extent do you sacrifice conditioning and speed in attempt to avoid being outmuscled by bulking up? And as pointed out by no less a figure than Mike Tyson, Haye is also prone to being caught by the jab with even a concussed John Ruiz being able to repeatedly land the punch in his unsuccessful bid to wrest the title away from the Brit.
Of course both Haye and Adamek can rightly point out that they will be better able to set the type of fast pace that will draw the Klitschko’s out of their comfort zone, while Haye can claim to have genuine knockout power given the way he rocked the giant Nikolai Valeuv and blasted the durable Ruiz into retirement. Adamek can also point to an iron chin that is well used to taking shots from larger opponents and also expect to be boosted by the loud support of 50,000 of his fellow countrymen.
So Haye and Adamek should hopefully prove sterner tests to the Klitschko brothers than Odlanier Solis but don’t be surprised if the Klitschkos make short work of both. 2011 is indeed the year where the big fights are being made in the heavyweight division but it may just turn out that the Klitschko brothers are even bigger!
Tags: Boxing, David Haye, Heavyweight boxing, Odlanier Solis, Tomasz Adamek, Vitali Klitschko, Wladimir Klitschko