HAMBURG, Germany — Three thoughts from Wladimir Klitschko’s win over Mariusz Wach…
1. Another one bites the dust. Wach’s surprising chin aside (more on that below), this was another blowout. Klitschko won 120-107 (twice) and 119-109, with the judge who gave Wach a round clearly scoring out of sympathy for the battered Pole. Save for one solid right hand in the fifth round, Wach was a human punching bag, absorbing power shot after power shot from Klitschko, who once again came to the ring in superior shape.
Wach was the latest undefeated, would-be contender to fall to Klitschko, who retained his titles and is, undisputedly, the best heavyweight of this era. And there are plenty more victims waiting in line: Tyson Fury, David Price, Seth Mitchell, just to name a few. The problem is none of these potential opponents has been tested at anywhere close to Klitschko’s level. The ideal situation is to start matching them up and hope someone emerges as a realistic challenge. Sadly, the payday that comes with a Klitschko fight likely means most will continue to fight inferior competition and take a beating when the time comes.
2. Wach has a granite chin. About that: Klitschko wasn’t just hitting Wach. He was lining him up and teeing off. Klitschko’s right hand is regarded as the most potent in boxing and he tattooed Wach with it repeatedly throughout the fight … and Wach kept coming. The 6-foot-7 Wach didn’t muster much of an offense, of course. He spent most of the 36 minutes in the ring eating shots. But you have to give him credit: Few have gone the distance with Klitschko and no one has taken as much punishment.
3. Farewell, Emanuel. Johnathan Banks — a longtime member of Klitschko’s team who was picked to fill the position normally occupied by the late Emanuel Steward — performed well as Klitschko’s chief cornerman, drawing praise for his advice from Klitschko after the fight. Indeed, it was an emotionally charged week for Klitschko, who in interviews declined to get too deep about his feelings over the sudden loss of Steward, his longtime friend and trainer. But those in Klitschko’s camp said the loss weighed on the champ, who will now soldier on without the man who shaped his career.
Klitschko’s last words to me in the ring: “I love you, Emanuel. I’ll see you again someday.”