Well, that was easy.
It took Wladimir Klitschko just five rounds to knock out Alex Leapai and defend his IBF, WBA, WBO and IBO heavyweight titles in a fight he dominated from the opening bell. It was his 16th heavyweight title defense, putting him behind only Joe Louis (25 defenses) and Larry Holmes (20) in that department.
SportsCenter on Twitter had the result:
Wladimir Klitschko retains World Heavyweight Title! Klitschko DOMINATES and wins by fifth-round TKO of Alex Leapai. pic.twitter.com/FpEYe6hWIl— SportsCenter (@SportsCenter) April 26, 2014
Klitschko technically knocked Leapai down in the first round, though it appeared the Samoan fighter had slipped rather than been hurt. He sprang up quickly, and the fight resumed.
Klitschko than dominated the next three rounds, keeping Leapai at a distance with a probing left jab and a cobra-quick right. Leapai seemed content to absorb blows and seek a killer punch, but he was never able to penetrate the champion's defense to get close enough for a one-punch knockout.
Eventually, his strategy came back to bite him. Leapai swung wildly in the fifth but left himself open, and Klitschko quickly stunned him with a combination. The champ smelled blood in the water and went on the attack, knocking Leapai down.
The challenger recovered temporarily but still had a little more than a minute in the round to fend off Klitschko, who saw a quick end in sight. Leapai didn't last much longer, as Klitschko pounded him with a series of punches before Leapai went down for good.
Before the match, the Samoan played the part of the confident challenger, blasting Klitschko to Martin Domin of the Daily Mail:
People talk about how great Wladimir is and the 61 victories he has had in his career—but I on the other hand think of the fact that he has been comprehensively KO'd three times by people who cannot punch nearly as hard as me.
I will break Wladimir and it will not be my hardest fight. He has been champion now for 10 years. He has been comfortable. But he is going to fight somebody who is hungry and determined to make history.
So much for that.
For Klitschko, it was just another dominant performance in a long string of them, as Dan Rafael of ESPN tweeted:
Others will note that Leapai was a pretty weak opponent for the champion and, by proxy, the heavyweight division has fallen from grace in recent years. Mike Wise of The Washington Post summed up that sentiment in one tweet:
The fact that Klitschko is making his 16th title defense on ESPN right now basically tells you what happened to the heavyweight division.— Mike Wise (@MikeWiseguy) April 26, 2014
After this bout, folks will want to see Klitschko take on a more competitive fighter such as Deontay Wilder, Dereck Chisora or perhaps even Tyson Fury—someone who can give the Ukrainian more of a match than this one.
Take nothing away from Klitschko—he was clinical, didn't spend a large portion of the fight tying up Leapai and pounced when he smelled weakness. But this match was never really in question, and boxing fans are ready to see the champion face a true test in the ring.