The Klitschko Brothers: Where Is the Love?

Stew FlatsCorrespondent IJune 1, 2010

POTSDAM, GERMANY - NOVEMBER 26:  Vladimir (L) and Vitali Klitschko pose with their award for sport at the Bambi Awards 2009 at the Metropolis Hall at the Filmpark Babelsberg on November 26, 2009 in Potsdam, Germany.  (Photo by Sean Gallup/Getty Images)
Sean Gallup/Getty Images

Where Is The Love?

Vitali Klitscko knocked out Albert Sosnowski on Saturday night in the 10th round, a win that was his 8th consecutive victory.

The world heavyweight title used to draw the world to a standstill, yet this fight barely registered a ripple on the US boxing landscape.

The fight was not on prime time television and even B/R’s very own guru King J chose to brave hellacious freeways rather than soaking in the action.

The question is…..why? 

When you take into account that Vitali’s younger brother Wladimir is also a world champion riding a 12 game win streak, are these two among the greats of the sport?

When you take into account the fact that two brothers rule over the traditional glamour division of the sport, surely that is media gold—right?

They even fight a battle against stereotypes of our beloved sport.

The belief that boxers possess brawn and no brains is blown out of the park by the fact that both brothers are qualified doctors with a Ph.D. in Sports Science.

Here we take a look at some common criticisms of the two brothers and analyze whether they are warranted.

 

They Are Not American

Many a critic likes to deride the American fan by claiming if they were American they would be accepted on an overwhelming level.

However, the evidence does not really hold that up.

Manny Pacquiao, Hector ‘Macho’ Camacho, and Juan Manuel Marquez are a few names from a host of non-American fighters to become big players on the US scene.

These guys had fans not just from their respective nations, but from an American crowd that appreciated skill and excellence.

 

There Is No Story When They Fight

In this era of HBO 24/7, we like to set the scene for a battle.

We need not only the background of every fighter and his triumph against adversity, we also need to have a plot line that makes the fight enticing.

Consider this, every time an American goes to Europe to fight these guys, it is a living, breathing remake of the Rocky IV movie. With an upstart American fighter taking on the part man, part machine Russian giant who is dominating the sport—this scenario seems like it's fit for a movie.

Surely this would have TV executives foaming at the mouth?

On the contrary, when US fighters such as Eddie Chambers and Chris Arreola went to fight the Klitscho Brothers it was barely available on TV, most fans scouring the web for an internet feed.

That is, the ones who cared.

 

They Are Boring Fighters  

Well I don’t know about you, but when I look up boxing highlights I often head for the knockouts section!

These two can bang with the best of them. Wladimir has 48 knockouts in his 54 wins, and Vitali 38 knockouts in 40 wins.

The fact is, both of these guys have a higher knockout percentage than Mike Tyson.

If their defensive style is what bores boxing fans, you have to wonder why a defensive master like Floyd Mayweather Jr. gets so much respect.

 

They Are Not Showmen

If you believe this, then you are simply not watching.

These two fighters have come up with some of the best ring entrances in recent times.

While costumes and music have earned "Money" Mayweather a reputation for flashy entrances, anyone who witnessed Vitali’s entrance against Samuel Peter is unlikely to forget it.

After a long layoff Michael Buffer announced Vitali’s return to the ring, the lights then dimmed to the sound of bells tolling.

Real life recorded holograms of Joe Frazier, George Foreman, Evander Holyfield, Lennox Lewis, and finally Mike Tyson addressed the crowd introducing Vitali.

The strains of "Hells Bells" from AC/DC then filled the arena as ‘Dr. Iron Fist’ sauntered to the ring.

If that doesn’t get you in the mood for a heavyweight fight, what does?

Also when you consider the final two letters of their surname, well its marketing gold dust isn’t it?

 

They Do Not Fit the USA Celebrity Culture

It seems like it is not enough to just be an athlete in today’s celebrity obsessed society.

Fighters must cross boundaries and become main stream.

For examples, see Floyd "Dancing With the Stars," or Lennox Lewis starring in Hollywood movies with George Clooney.

Well, these two boys have that cornered too!

You want media? Wladimir starred alongside Lennox in the Hollywood hit. You want politics? Vitali began his campaign for Mayor of Kiev in 2005, long before Manny jumped on the politics bandwagon—his campaign actively supported by Rudy Giuliani.

The Klitschko boys also know the power of a hot girlfriend—Vitali has married Natalia Klitschko, a former actress and model.

Wladimir is currently dating the star of TV show "Heroes," Hayden Panettiere.

 

They Have Not Beaten Anybody

It is worth noting that insult was thrown at Lennox Lewis for the vast majority of his career.

When Lennox eventually retired, the boxing media has pined for his return or for him to be replaced in the heavyweight division.

The fact is the Klitschko’s have faced and beaten every legitimate contender to date.

Vitali may have lost to the great Lewis, but he put up more of a fight than Evander Holyfield and Mike Tyson did. 

 

So, with the evidence above in mind consider that the Klitschko brothers are an afterthought in the boxing scene in the USA—now ask the question:

Why?!