The photograph of Vitali Klitschko on the cover of the April 2011 issue of The Ring was selected to emphasize his massive size – all 6-foot-7½, 250-plus pounds of it. Like his brother, world heavyweight champion Wladimir Klitschko, Vitali has developed a method of boxing that takes full advantage of his height and 80-inch reach. It is a style that has befuddled all nine opponents he’s fought since losing to Lennox Lewis in 2003. But Vitali will be just a few months short of his 40th birthday when he next enters the ring, on March 19, in Cologne, Germany, and could very well be getting closer and closer to the point of no return.
Normally, Vitali’s adversaries have been a rather ordinary lot, guys who even a past-prime Klitschko could handle with relative ease. But the boxer in the other corner this time will be Odlanier Solis, the undefeated Olympic gold medal winner from Cuba. Solis is a challenger with the sort of credentials that prompted Associate Editor Eric Raskin to ask in his insightful cover story whether “La Sombra” has a “Shadow Of A Chance?”
In “Five Stars and Their Greatest Threats,” Senior Writer William Dettloff takes an in-depth look at Manny Pacquiao, Floyd Mayweather, Sergio Martinez, Juan Manuel Marquez and Wladimir Klitschko and accesses the biggest dangers to the current status of the high-riding quintet. You’ll be interested to learn that not all of the perils pertain to possible future opponents.
“Jabbing at Father Time: Unlocking the Secrets of Late-Career Success” by Lee Groves spins off the recent success of 46-year-old Bernard Hopkins to examine the common threads that run through the careers of many fighters who continue to win at the top level when most fighters their age have hung up their gloves.
“The hours, minutes, days, and years may be the same length for all of us,” writes Groves, “but, for a few special champions, time can be molded, manipulated – and yes – conquered”
Some would say that it would take a small army of psychiatrists and psychologists to figure out what makes Floyd Mayweather Jr. tick. But The Ring’s intrepid Don Stradley tackles the subject on his own in “Boxing’s Biggest Enigma: What Went Wrong for Mayweather and How iIt Could Have Been Different.”
Stradley focuses on 10 things that have kept Mayweather’s career from being all it could be and hypothesizes on what would have happened if he had done things differently. Among other aspects, Stradley highlights Little Floyd’s immaturity: “There is a bit of the Michael Jackson/Tiger Woods syndrome going on with Mayweather. He’s been in boxing since he was a child. He’s lived a largely sheltered life and remains in perpetual adolescence.”
Regular contributor Gavin Evans examines “The Mercurial Rise of James DeGale,” the British boxer who won a gold medal at the 2008 Olympics and captured the British super middleweight title in just his ninth pro bout. The talented southpaw’s defensive style drew boos from the crowd at his pro debut, but things have changed. “He was so shaken by his reception,” writes Evans, “that he instantly made adjustments that have earned him accolades from previously hostile pundits and fans.”
Streaking bantamweight contender Abner Mares is the subject of this issue’s “Ring Interview,” which was conducted by Managing Editor Joe Santoliquito. “Many fighters have the proverbial raw back story,” Santoliquito writes in the introduction. “The difference with Mares is that his reaches extremes most hardcore boxing back stories seldom touch.”
In her “Fight Doctor” column, Margaret Goodman looks back at seven rules changes over the last 50 years that have been implemented in an effort to advance boxing safety. Some have been beneficial, while others, such as day-before-the-fight weigh-in, have been counterproductive and led to new problems. Dr. Goodman also encourages fans to do their part to protect fighters: “Fans believe they have no role in improving safety. That couldn’t be further from the truth,” she writes. “Placing pressure on commissions through emails or letters does make them reassess regulations.”
All this and much more, including regular columnists Jeff Ryan, Ivan Goldman, Jim Bagg and Michael Rivest, is available in the March 2011 issue, now on sale at retail outlets through the US and Canada.
Read The Ring every month by clicking on ON SALE NOW on this page (directly to the right) or the RingTV.com homepage or by visiting your local newsstand. Or you can subscribe to the new digital edition of the magazine. The February issue is available for free by clicking on the following link: http://thering.imirus.com/Mpowered/book/vring11/i2/p1. The digital edition of the April issue will be available by subscription on Wednesday.