After knocking out Manuel Charr (21-1, 11 KOs) in the fourth round of the fighter’s ninth title defense, 41-year-old heavyweight legend Vitali Klitschko has made it clear that this will likely be his last fight.
As much as Dr. Ironfist wants to claim that this is the end of his boxing life, the lack of excitement in the bout against Charr is not the way the veteran wanted to close the book on his legacy.
While it is true that the elder Klitschko is entering the realm of politics in Ukraine and up for election to a parliament seat Oct. 28, a loss in that political race would almost guarantee another fight.
If Vitali wins the seat in parliament, though, we will likely never see the veteran star fight again.
I don’t know—or claim to know—enough about Ukrainian politics to determine if Klitschko will win his election, but I know that he can’t be happy by winning his final fight because of a cut over his opponent’s eye and a referee stoppage.
After such a long and storied career that featured some of the biggest names the thin heavyweight division had to offer, walking away with a questionable win over a mediocre star like Charr is not what the last memory of the legend’s career should be.
It’s every athlete’s dream to go out on top. But they want to earn it, not have it handed to them by a referee in the fourth round.
Even with the repeated blows to the head, there is little doubt that Klitschko would still be a more effective politician than half the fat cats in this world, but his boxing career is what gave him the ability to run for office and change the world.
Klitschko knows that he owes it to himself and the all of his supporters to go out with a bang.
If he does lose his attempt to win a seat in parliament, the next likely fight would have to be the biggest of the star’s life. Only one man could offer that: undefeated champion Alexander Povetkin.
Since there will never be a Klitschko vs. Klitschko fight, the next-best option would be the battle between Vitali and Povetkin in a real retirement match. While it may not be easy for fight officials to get the Russian star to risk his unblemished record against the eldest Klitschko, the glory he could have if he shocks the world is what boxers live for.
It is a long shot, but that would be a fight that is worthy of ending a career.