Are The Klitschko Brothers Getting Snubbed As All Time Greats Because They’re European?
This weekend Wladimir Klitschko (55-3, 49 KOs) took care of business once again as he dispatched of trash talking David Haye (25-2,23 KOs) with yet another routine drubbing. The WBO/IBO/IBF/WBA and The Ring heavyweight champion ran his unbeaten streak to 14 while soundly dispatching of everyone with little to no resistance. He’s currently the longest reigning IBF, WBO & IBO champion of all time. Meanwhile, his brother Vitali (42-2, 39 KOs) currently holds the WBC heavyweight title and hasn’t lost since a controversial TKO stoppage against Lennox Lewis—in a fight he was winning, mind you—due to a cut caused by a Lewis punch back in 2003. He’s never been knocked down and has the best knockout ratio of any heavyweight fighter in the history of the sport.
So why is it that when we talk about the greatest fighters of all time, we constantly leave them out of the equation? Because they are European, for one. And secondly, because they make their competition look like trash. You can argue which one is most important, but regardless of what you may think about the division, the Klitschkos may end up as two of the top 5 greatest heavyweights of all-time. And yes, that puts them past Mike Tyson.
When you look at the careers closely, there is truly a legitimate argument as to why they should be spoken in the same breath as Mayweather and Pacquiao.
Yes, Pacquiao’s historic rise through the weight classes has been epic. He hasn’t lost since 2005 and has knocked the heads off of eight of his last 14 opponents. Unfortunately for both the Klitschkos, they can’t move any higher in weight. Vitali has stopped out 8 of his last ten opponents since 2003. Wladimir has stopped 10 of his last 14 foes since 2004. They both have better records than Pacquiao and higher knockout ratios.
Mayweather may be undefeated, but he’s always been accused of ducking the biggest threats in his weight class. This is something that neither of the Klitschkos have done. As champions, they have constantly taken on the top competition and obliterated them.
But due to the fact that they aren’t huge stars in the US, it’s difficult for the general public to sit them atop the pound-for-pound lists. Neither of them have dynamic personalities that either endear them to the casual fan or make them a compelling villain that everyone wants to see defeated. The fact of the matter is, nobody cares. They don’t fight in the states and that also hurts their chances. But there’s two ways the Klitschko brothers can get respect—create another “Mike Tyson” type of fighter that U.S. fans love or have them fight each other.
The latter half of that will never happen. The former takes many years. It’s no secret the heavyweight division has been in shambles since Mike Tyson and Evander Holyfield were at the top of their game. Even though Lennox Lewis was great, he was also the victim of being from another country. Without a true contender that presents a formidable opponent for either brother, all you will have is two guys who are too big and too strong for the rest of their division.
It sucks, but that’s just how it goes. Maybe, one of the two suggestions will happen. Maybe they should create fan friendly personas in the States. But they are making boatloads of money and filling arenas of 50k plus seats overseas. Why in the world would they do that?