A pre-existing knee injury? An injury that occurred that moment? Something else altogether?
The bottom line to everyone who tuned in: Vitali Klitschko’s title defense against Odlanir Solis on Saturday night in Cologne, Germany, was a colossal disappointment and another black mark on a struggling heavyweight division.
The fight wasn’t three minutes old when Solis’ right knee seemed to give out as he retreated after taking a grazing blow to the temple and he fell onto his back. The Cuban immediately grabbed the right knee with both gloves but then managed to get to his feet.
Solis, hobbling badly, apparently couldn’t put weight on the right leg and that was that. The referee stopped the disaster of a fight at the end of the round.
Television analyst Lennox Lewis, working the fight for Epix, suggested without evidence that Solis might’ve had a pre-existing injury.
Of course, that’s possible but Solis jumped up and down during warm-ups and moved well during the short fight. He lunged in quickly a few times in an attempt to land combinations, an apparent indication that he had two strong legs
Only one thing seems to be certain at the moment.
“I’m sure there’s going to be an investigation,” Lewis said.
The fight had more build-up in the U.S. than a typical Klitschko fight in Europe because the new television network Epix broadcasted it here, both on TV and on its Web site.
So many fans tuned in to watch the fight on the Internet that the site because overloaded and went down about a half hour before fighttime, although it was back up in time for the opening bell.
That means thousands who had barely settled in front of their computers were disappointed – and probably disgusted.
They certainly weren’t alone. Imagine the estimated 20,000 who crammed into the indoor Lanxess Arena in Cologne expecting a competitive fight or another dominating performance by Klitschko or maybe a dramatic knockout.
In the end, they were left with nothing. They undoubtedly left the arena seething.
And what about the throng that watched the fight live on the jumbo screen in Times Square? That was a great idea on someone’s part, a chance to promote both Epix and the sport in an unusual way. Talk about a flop. The folks at Epix must be devastated.
Should we blame Solis? Not yet. We have to give him the benefit of the doubt until we learn more about the apparent injury.
If doctors or anyone else can determine that it was pre-existing and he hid that fact to collect his purse, then he deserves what he gets. Sometimes knees give out without warning, though. It might’ve been a simple case of very bad luck.
All Solis said was: “It was definitely my knee. It could be that I took a wrong step.”
These things in happen in boxing, like it or not. We must absorb the blow and move on.
Here’s the good news: We finally have some truly compelling heavyweight matchups in our near future.
Wladimir Klitschko has agreed to fight David Haye this summer in the most-anticipated heavyweight matchup in years if Klitschko has recovered sufficiently from a stomach injury.
If he can’t fight, then Vitali Klitschko will step in and face the talented Briton. We win either way.
And the Klitschkos also have agreed that one of them will fight Tomasz Adamek, one of the best fighters in the world pound for pound and a legitimate challenge to the Klitschkos’ long-standing supremecy.
We’re terribly disappointed now after what happened on Saturday but better days lie ahead.
Photos / Marrianne Mueller