There was a remake to the 1981 film “CLASH OF THE TITANS,” but throw that one out. I’m a fan of the first, bad claymation and all. The best part is the ending where the Kraken, the enormous monster is turned into stone by the head of Medusa. Now boxing has its own CLASH OF THE TITANS going on in two separate affairs.
On September 11th, the IBO/WBO/IBF Heavyweight Champion, Wladimir “Dr. Steelhammer” Klitschko, 54-3, 48 KO’s, defends his title against a familiar foe in former WBA Champion, Sam “Nigerian Nightmare” Peter, 34-3, 27 KO’s. Older brother, Vitali “Dr. IronFist” Klitschko, the WBC Champion with a record of 40-2, 38 KO’s, takes on the former WBO Champion, Shannon Briggs, 51-5-1, 45 KO’s, on October 16th.
Max Kellerman remarked that we have a double-headed champion in the Klitschko brothers and he’s correct. Very few consider WBA Title holder, David Haye as the true champion. Most lean toward Wlad while others opt for Vitali, the man that gave the last recognized world champion of note, Lennox Lewis, all he could handle years ago. Collectively, they are an intimidating force, and separate, they are just about the same. They look nearly unbeatable, but they are not facing off against weaklings in their next defense. They are facing monster punchers with gold in their eyes.
Strengths: Wlad may be the biggest puncher in boxing and with an 84% KO rate, it’s hard to argue with the contention. On top of being such a great puncher, he also possesses great skills and he knows how to use distance and he’s gotten better at keeping inside fighters at bay or holding onto them when they present a problem. He is continually improving.
Weaknesses: Some point to the chin of Wlad, but I disagree. He was starched by Corrie Sanders, one of the biggest punchers of our time. Not a disgrace with that. His problem may be psyche and stamina. If he faces somebody that he has trouble controlling, he may panic and that will lead to his demise. He is offensively fantastic and does well with defense, and it’s hard to find weaknesses. He’s a hard man to beat.
Strengths: Sam’s strength is brute strength. He is a big puncher with a good chin. Over time, he has smoothed out some of the rough edges to become a better fighter. He can jab well but he is most known for two things: a big punch and a good chin.
Weaknesses: Dedication has led to his downfall, or a lack thereof. Peter’s weight and focus led to embarrassing losses to Vitali Klitschko and Eddie Chambers. Recently, he’s been in shape and looks fit for his title showdown with Wlad. The other weakness is technique. He wings punches and Wlad had a field day in the first outing with his jab. He can be out-boxed and doesn’t have a plan B in his strategy.
We have one enormous champion that is constantly improving, fighting on a regular basis, and leaving his opponents in a mangled heap each and every time out versus a guy that once was proclaimed to be the next big thing, reduced to a journeyman, and rejuvenated and focused on winning the title. Can Wlad handle an in shape Peter with mayhem on his mind? Can Peter handle the boxing skills and improvement of Wlad since their first meeting? This won’t be a distance fight. We will see a knockout either way and that’s the way that both men want it. Peter will blitz and Wlad will try to jab and counter. It will be a fireworks show for several rounds before Peter lands the right shot to end it. I’m picking Peter to upset Wlad by stoppage. His chin, power, and newfound focus and conditioning should make him a hard man to handle.
Klitschko – Briggs: Strengths & Weaknesses
Strengths: Vitali controls range very well and packs a big punch. Despite his more impressive KO rate, Wlad is the bigger puncher out of the two boxing brothers. Vitali is very confident and intimidating.
Weaknesses: Vitali is slow of foot, clunky, and gets confused when the boxer isn’t doing what he wants them to do. He keeps his hands low and uses his reflexes and range as defense, but it can cost him if he’s facing a bomber in there.
Strengths: Shannon is a huge puncher with great timing. He is highly skilled and strong and knows how to rattle his opposition. He is also very experienced.
Weaknesses: Shannon has asthma and with his bulky build, he’s not as quick as he once was. He is very aware of his breathing problem and fights accordingly, allowing his opponents to get a lead on the cards. At 38 with 57 fights, he has shown signs of wear and tear and he will need to be at his best to compete with Vitali.
As much as I enjoy Shannon Briggs in the ring and I certainly think that his personality would help the division should he win, it’s hard to pick him to beat Vitali. Expect Vitali to use his jab and keep pumping into the face of Briggs, while Briggs tries to land the left hook. The best chance for the challenger is to blitz and land early and get Vitali out of there. Not many challengers have tried that and not many have been equipped with the punching power of Briggs. If Briggs attempts to conserve energy and outbox the champion, he will be in for a long and painful night and I suspect this is what we will see. Vitali by TKO in 9.
The new CLASH OF THE TITANS will take place over the course of the next two months, coming to a ring near you. Can the two headed Kraken champion be turned to stone and crumbled to the floor by Shannon Briggs and Sam Peter? We will soon find out.