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At 41, WBC heavyweight champion Vitali Klitschko (45-2, 41 KOs) is winding down one of the most dominant careers in the history of the heavyweight division. Of his two career losses, one came against Chris Byrd back in April 2000, due to a shoulder injury in a fight that Klitschko was dominating.
His other loss came against Lennox Lewis in June 2003—a stoppage due to cuts in Round 6. Klitschko had taken the fight on short notice and still was giving the champion all the problems he could handle. It looked like it was building into one of the greatest heavyweight title clashes of all time.
In the nine-plus years since, he has scarcely lost a single round.
However, the criticism of Vitali Klitschko will never be about his record, but instead the competition against which he compiled that record. As of late, the competition has been particularly weak.
In September, Klitschko beat undefeated German heavyweight Manuel Charr by TKO. While the stoppage was widely viewed as premature, there was also little disagreement over the fact that Charr had appeared entirely overmatched by Klitschko.
In February, an injured Klitschko pitched a near shutout against Brit Dereck Chisora, fighting with only one good arm. While it was yet another display of his formidable skills, it is also hard to deny that Chisora was one of the least qualified heavyweight-title challengers in recent years.
In September 2011, Klitschko turned in an impressive Round 10 TKO of Polish contender Tomasz Adamek. While Adamek is clearly a world-class talent, he is also a former 175-pound world champ. Against the 6'7" Klitschko, he was simply physically overmatched.
Indeed, I have trouble even evaluating Vitali Klitschko in a pound-for-pound context, because being a nimble giant who can deliver dangerous punches from a lot of angles is among his greatest attributes.