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Racist America? Oh Well Arise King Klitschko’s

A hugely repeated statement about the world of boxing is that the heavyweight division is dead, or dying, nobody cares any more about it apparently. It’s dominated by “dull Europeans” who nobody seems to have any positive feelings for as they grind out “boring” wins one after another. Of course they are talking about the brothers Klitschko, the #1 and #2 in the division. Recently we saw the giant ESPIRIT Arena in Düsseldorf packed to the rafters, not for the first time the Klitschko’s have sold out a huge arena and it won’t be the last either. So is heavyweight boxing really dying?

With Wladimir Klitschko’s victory over “Fast” Eddie Chambers being the most recent domination by one of the gigantic and intelligent Ukrainians, it’s starting to appear that double standards are all over boxing and it also seems like the heavyweight scene has left America. It’s funny that boxing is seen as the “art of hit and not get hit”, something effectively done at the moment by Floyd Mayweather Jr who repeatedly gets plaudits for his defence, despite how dull it leads to many of his fights being. When the Klitschko’s use a defensive strategy that sees them using their height and reach to dominate fights they are called boring by the American fans. Funny that despite the fact neither style is exciting, only the Eastern European fighter is labelled “boring” by the American media. a

Recently it’s been said by some fans that people watch the heavyweight division for explosive knockouts and power hitters, which is why the Klitschko’s safety first style isn’t highly liked. Although looking through champions of the last 30 years it’s not just a Klitschko thing. How can we forget the talented (but admittedly unpopular) Larry Holmes, or the man often regarded as the last great heavyweight, Lennox Lewis. Both men were jab first and foremost, working everything off it. Yet both are highly accepted as great heavyweights and fantastic champions. Is this a bit of racism in boxing against the white Eastern European fighters?

So whilst they might be boring, they haven’t done things that other fighters haven’t. I’m not saying they don’t deserve to be free of criticism, but only have criticism equal to that of their peers. Though it’s the funny thing about crowds and the draw that the Klitschko’s have that makes it obvious they aren’t a bad thing for boxing.

Recently the Manny Pacquiao-Joshua Clottey fight was celebrated more for the attendance than the one sided fight. “The Event” filled the new Dallas Stadium, selling over 50,000 tickets. Funnily, the latest Wladimir Klitschko contest also sold over 50,000 (widely reported as 51,000). To call Pacquiao a popular fighter is to state the obvious, he’s widely thought of as being the most popular boxer in the world, yet Klitschko fills out the same size stadium and is highly derided by much of the English speaking boxing media. Figures for some of the Klitschko’s fights have been reported as around 50% of the German TV audience. This hardly seems like the calling card of a fighter who is unpopular, more one that has given up trying to please the American boxing public.

When it comes to the biggest flaw about either fighter it would seem their problem is their nationality. Had the two brothers been white Americans there is no doubt they would have been hailed as the saviours of the heavyweight division, the Americans would finally have their dominant “Great White Hope(s)”. Sadly as they are Ukrainian they are nothing other than “dull foreigners” to much of the American market. Safety first isn’t a flaw (as irritating as it is in a one sided contest), but it seems not being an American is. It may not be the most liked idea, but it’s time the boxing world accepted that Wladimir and Vitali are the true crowned kings of heavyweight boxing. Arise King Klitschko’s.