Vitali Klitschko: The 40-year-old Ukrainian easily outpointed a decent heavyweight in Dereck Chisora with one hand Saturday night in Munich, Germany. Not a bad night’s work. Klitschko apparently suffered a partial tear of a ligament in his left shoulder in the third round, leaving his left arm more or less useless from then on. Klitschko normally sets up power punches with his left jab, meaning he was without a key weapon for much of the fight. Thus, if we accept the diagnosis, what appeared to be a so-so performance was actually impressive both in terms of his ability to adjust and his courage. The disturbing question now is when will Klitschko be able to fight again? His representatives say he doesn’t need surgery, which is good news. They expect him to get back into the ring before the end of the year. Let’s hope things go well. We’d hate to see him go out because of an injury.
Dereck Chisora: Chisora has behaved like a loser time and again. His worst transgression was biting Paul Butlin during a bout in 2009, for which he was suspended. This past weekend, he slapped Klitschko after the weigh-in, spit water in the face of Wladimir Klitschko before he fought Vitali Klitschko and played a leading role in a post-fight brawl with David Haye, for which Chisora apologized. His fellow Englishmen must be ashamed. And a solid performance in the ring was negated by the news that Klitschko fought one-handed. I think it’s reasonable to believe that Klitschko would’ve had a much easier time with two good shoulders. So where does this leave Chisora? The poor behavior might actually make him more marketable, leaving me to wonder whether some of it was calculated. And, in spite of Klitschko’s injury, he has proved in consecutive fights that he’s at least a solid heavyweight. We’ll see him again in a big fight sometime soon.
Paul Williams: Williams looked like the old Williams in his shutout victory over Nobuhiro Ishida on Saturday in Corpus Christi, Texas. Ishida is no better than a solid junior middleweight in spite of his first-round knockout of James Kirkland, which means we can’t read too much into Williams’ performance. Still, it was a step in the right direction after two outings that damaged his reputation, a second-round KO loss to Sergio Martinez and a disputed majority-decision victory over Erislandy Lara. The former two-time welterweight titleholder overwhelmed Ishida with his unusual work rate, which has been his greatest strength since he turned pro in 2000. Now we want to see him against an elite junior middleweight. Only then can we tell whether he is capable of restoring his reputation as one the best fighters in the world.
Tavoris Cloud: Cloud had hoped to take another big step in his promising career by thrashing Gabriel Campillo on the undercard of the Williams-Ishida fight on national television. And he appeared to be on his way to doing just that in the first round, in which he put the Spanaird down twice. However, after that, he might’ve taken a step backward even though he escaped with an unpopular split decision that allowed him to keep his IBF light heavyweight title. Cloud was resilient and aggressive, taking the fight to Campillo at a number of junctures, but was backed up himself many times because of quick, hard combinations that seemed to baffle him. Cloud might’ve been stopped if Campillo had decent power. Of course, we shouldn’t write Cloud off because of one shaky performance. At the same time, he clearly has work to do.
Gabriel Campillo: Imagine you put in months of grueling work and then risk your life in the ring only to be screwed by the judges after you do more than enough to win a big fight. Must be a terrible feeling of helplessness. Campillo has had that feeling three times in his last five fights. The former WBA titleholder appeared to outclass Beibut Shumenov in 2010 only to lose his belt by a split decision in Shumenov’s adopted hometown of Las Vegas. Last October, everyone seemed to think he beat Karo Murat but had to settle for a draw in Murat’s homeland of Germany. And then came his disappointment against Cloud in the American’s home country. Sadly, we’ve come to accept hometown decisions as part of a bizarre game. That certainly doesn’t make it right, though. Don’t the fighters deserve better than this?
Cloud-Campillo: I wouldn’t call this the worst decision I’ve ever seen but it was a bad one. I scored the fight 114-112 for Campillo (eight rounds to four). I could’ve lived with a 113-113 draw (seven rounds to five for Campillo), although I don’t think Cloud won five rounds. Anything beyond a draw is too much of a stretch. Campillo clearly outboxed and outworked Cloud from the second round on, exposing the IBF light heavyweight titleholder as a limited boxer with a questionable future. Cloud fought aggressively but had no adequate answer for the Spanaird’s quick combinations. Kudos to judge Dennis Nelson, who scored it 115-111 for Campillo (nine rounds to three). Judge Joel Elizondo had it 114-112 for Cloud (six rounds to six), which wasn’t horrible. David Robertson was the rogue judge, somehow scoring it 116-110 for Cloud (eight rounds to four). Yet another black eye for Texas, whose officials just can’t seem to get it right.
Chisora, apologizing for the post-fight brawl involving Haye (from The AP): “Whilst my behavior was inexcusable, there were many things that went on behind the scenes that ultimately caused my frustrations to boil over. Despite all of this, the bottom line is I have let my family, my team and — worst of all — the sport I love down. I acknowledge that my actions were totally unprofessional, with or without provocation. Now, with a cool head and the benefit of hindsight, my actions at the weekend were regrettable to say the least and I am deeply embarrassed.”