Albert Sosnowski: Vitali Klitschko’s Next Challenger is Pathetic
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Many of our editorials fan the flames of angry fans, but those reactions come with the territory for a site of our business. When Geoff “The Professor” Poundes slams Manny Pacquiao, I am sure Pac-Nation floods his in-box in the style of their own heroic volume-puncher.
When I slammed Wladimir Klitschko’s propensity to use the clinch as a strategy, every globe-gripping K-Head from here to Timbuktu decided to put on their “intellectual” glasses and send me long-winded, critical e-mails laced with exclamation points and wild claims. When I called for the permanent ban of Antonio Margarito, Margacheato fans came out with vicious attacks to call me everything from Gringo to… well, I can’t really print what else they called me. You get the picture.
Those reactions prompt a response of no response. Note to nut-huggers: I don’t care. Don’t care at all. I’ve lost more sleep over a piece of belly button lint than I have over hate mail. So let me preface this editorial by saying, “Bring it on.”
One of the most dominant fighters in Boxing today is Vitali Klitschko, arguably the last heavyweight fighter to have held his own against a decent version of one of yesteryear’s great champions in Lennox Lewis. Vitali was the top of the heavyweight pyramid for exactly three fights after the Lewis bout, defeating Kirk Johnson, Corrie Sanders and Danny Williams in 2003 and 2004. Following the Williams bout, Klitschko and his chronically injured shoulder stepped out of Boxing for almost four years.
During that time period, the younger Klitschko took over the heavyweight division with a collection of knockouts against most if not all top contenders. Vitali finally made his comeback in 2008, pounding Sam Peter into submission in one of the most disappointing heavyweight fights of all time. The elder Klitschko then took victories over Juan Carlos Gomez, Chris Arreola and Kevin Johnson.
With the exception of the Arreola fight, all of those bouts could have tranquilized a horse. On the other hand, no one ever said it was Klitschko’s job to entertain (Actually, thousands of people have said just that in the past). Klitschko’s job is to win by any means possible (like John Ruiz). He is the most dominant champion in the world today (against mostly weak contenders).
In all honesty, who can blame Vitali for cleaning up with bludgeoning knockouts? The best contenders are bad; so be it. He’ll knock out anyone they put in front of him, and it’s not his job to go out and find good competitors. That job is for his promoters, who have done the best they can. Until now.
Some of you may have heard about Vitali Klitschko’s upcoming challenger, Albert Sosnowski. My bet is that most of you have not.
I first saw Sosnowski on ESPN2’s Friday Night Fights in August of 2008 while I was drinking some Jim Beam at the famous Phoenix Hill Tavern on Bardstown Road in Louisville Kentucky. Phoenix Hill is a weird little place with six stages for a variety of different bands. The music sucked that night, so I stuck to watching the fight.
Sosnowski, nicknamed “The Dragon”, is a huge Polish guy, and going into that bout he was boasting a 43-1 record. Naturally, those credentials suggest an interesting, though perhaps one-dimensional fighter, ready to crash any and all who stand in the ring with him, including the statistical anomaly that stood in the ring with him that night.
You may have heard of Sosnowksi’s challenger that evening. If you are a Boxing sabrematrician or just a frequenter of ESPN 2 or boxing oddities, Zuri Lawrence might even be a household name. For those of you who have never heard of him, I’ll clue you in. Lawrence has the honor of being 24-16 without a single solitary knockout. How he manages to beat most of his opponents without one iota of pop is fascinating. He even has victories over former contenders Jameel McCline and Darroll Wilson, and held former challenger Ray Austin to a draw. In other words, Lawrence is very respectable for what he does.
Having said that, a real contender should have no issue with Lawrence, the ultimate novelty fighter. Zuri has been on the receiving end of eight knockouts and lacks the pop to hurt anyone with a human chin. Yet there was Sosnowski on that pitiful evening, swinging at air and putting up very little outside of a minor body attack as Lawrence stuck, moved and jabbed his way to an easy shutout victory. Sosnowsi lost all eight rounds on all three cards, never to be seen again in a major fight.
Or so we thought. After knocking out Danny Williams and fighting to a draw with Francesco Pianeta, Sosnowski managed to knockout Paolo Vidoz for some minor belt. Apparently, Klitschko’s handlers decided that was enough for a title shot, and that’s where we are now.
I thought maybe the folly was that of the sanctioning body, so I checked the WBC rankings. As faulty as they are, even that organization had the brains to keep Sosnowski out of the top ten.
All of that said, Klitschko’s handlers will gain sympathy based on a tired old excuse: “Who else should he fight?”
To that I say, “Anyone but Sosnowski.” I understand the idea of a tune-up, but this guy is a joke. Sosnowski’s most recent “comeback streak” has two victories. The first guy he beat was recently destroyed by Vitali Klitschko. As for Vidoz, his once undefeated record was originally ruined by none other than Zuri Lawrence. A fight against Sosnowski might “keep Klitschko sharp”, but so would a sword in the eye.
So while little brother K dogs it out with the best American heavyweight in Eddie Chambers, Vitali Klitschko is training for what should be a one punch knockout of a fight with a Polish sausage. My advice for the “handlers”? Next time, stick Iron Fist in there with Lawrence. At least the guy can beat Sosnowski.
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