Michael Rosenthal

Klitschko rolls over Mormeck; Arreola next?

In a long series of mismatches in the careers of Wladimir and Vitali Klitschko, this one was among the worst.

No one gave Jean-Marc Mormeck much of a chance to beat Wladimir Klitschko on Saturday in Dusseldorf, Germany. The former cruiserweight titleholder was old (39), small (he was dwarfed by Klitschko) and rusty (he hadn’t fought in 15 months) when he stepped into the ring.

Reality was worse than expectations, though.

Klitschko put Mormeck down twice, once in the second round and for good in the fourth. The Frenchman failed to beat the count after a scary left-right-left combination hurt him badly, allowing Klitschko to retain his RING and three alphabet titles. The end came at 1:12.

And the computer statistics were pathetic: Mormeck connected on a paltry 3 of 19 punches, which means he barely showed up.

A busy Klitschko landed 39 of 135 punches, picking his all-but-helpless opponent apart with his jab and hard, accurate rights in spite of Mormeck’s attempts to bob and weave out of harm’s way.

Mormeck went down the first time from a right that split his guard and sent him to all fours. He got to his feet and survived the round but his immediate future looked bleak.

The knockout blows were more devastating. Klitschko landed a left, a straight right that seemed to freeze Mormeck and then another left that put him down. Mormeck staggered to his feet just as referee Luis Pabon reached the count of 10, signaling a merciful end of what could’ve been a horrific beating if Mormeck had a better chin.

Klitschko tried afterward to show Mormeck a measure of respect.

“A lot of fighters have (declined) to fight me. He took a chance,” the big Ukrainian said in the ring afterward.

Of course, we’re accustomed to one-sided victories in the world of Klitschko.

The victory was his 11th in a row since he regained the IBF title by stopping Chris Byrd in 2006, after which he added other belts to his collection. He also had five successful defenses during an earlier reign, giving him 16 total.

Hall of Famer Joe Louis holds the heavyweight record of 25 successful title defenses, a figure Klitschko could equal if he fights twice a year for 4½ more years. He’s 35.

And there doesn’t appear to be a legitimate threat on the horizon.

Klitschko was asked afterward who might be next. He mentioned two rising – and tall – heavyweights from the United Kingdom, David Price and Tyson Fury. A fight with either would generate considerable interest, particularly in Europe.

He also mentioned young American heavyweight Seth Mitchell, although most observers would agree that the footbal player-turned-boxer isn’t ready for such a challenge.

And, finally, the name Chris Arreola came up.

The charismatic Los Angeles-area fighter took a beating from Vitali Klitschko en route to a 10th-round knockout loss and was outpointed by Tomasz Adamek two fights later, which seemed to expose his limitations.

At the same time, Arreola seems to be training harder than he had been and is 7-0 since the Adamek fight, although he has fought only journeymen. He also has enough height – 6-foot-3 (191cm) – to compete with an opponent as tall as Klitschko.

And, finally, Klitschko has said he wants to fight again in the United States. Arreola would seem to be the perfect opponent – solid ability, well known and American.

Can Arreola beat Klitschko? Probably not. One thing seems certain, though: He’d get a lot more done than Mormeck did.

“Chris Arreola absolutely has done enough (in recent fights),” Klitschko said. “He deserves a fight against me. That is the fight to make.”

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