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Wladimir Klitschko was too much for David Haye in 2011.
It’s absolutely true that the heavyweight division is as bad as it’s ever been. However, it should also be noted that it’s not nearly as bad as people make it out to be. Here’s why.
First, there are two historically significant heavyweights fighting in it. Both Vitali and Wladimir Klitschko will be remembered as dominant champions who compare quite favorably to any other heavyweights in history.
Despite being sidelined for almost four years by injury, Vitali Klitschko has proven to be one the most dominant forces the division has ever seen. Both his losses are suspect by nature. In 2000, a shoulder injury stopped him against Chris Byrd. In 2003, Lennox Lewis stopped Klitschko on cuts.
In both the outings, Klitschko was well up on the scorecards.
Meanwhile, little brother Wladimir has avoided injury most of his career and become one of the longest reigning heavyweight champions in history. Moreover, his 60-3 record puts him in rare company among the pantheon of heavyweight greats.
Next, the heavyweight division has been historically great perhaps twice in its 121-year Marquess de Queensbury existence. Muhammad Ali, Joe Frazier and George Foreman led the pack in the 1970s to carry the age into prominence, while Evander Holyfield, Mike Tyson and Lennox Lewis did the same for the 1990s.
Otherwise, the heavyweight division of today is fairly comparable. Jack Dempsey defended his heavyweight crown just five times during his seven-year reign, and much of Joe Louis’ 25 title defenses were done against what the boxing press dubbed the “Bum-of-the-Month Club.”
Verdict: Fact (but no worse than many other eras)