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Battered Brewster Upsets Vlad!

Battered Brewster Upsets Vlad!

omething defeated Vladimir Klitschko (WHB#6), but I’m not sure it was Lamon Brewster (WHB#35). Brewster, of course, is the journeyman fighter that comebacking talent-king of the division was supposed to decapitate.

Brewster had never been down before, and was rumored to pack a punch, but any man who gets easily handled by Charles Shufford should be hanging out at Klitschko’s gym looking to pick up pointers and not challenging him for the WBO title.

There were some mutterings that Vladimir wasn’t the same after his shocking defeat at the hands of Corrie Sanders, but this was his third fight after that disaster, and his first since working with Emanuel Steward, arguably the finest trainer in the game.

Brewster decided to test Vladimir’s chin early and came out at the first bell hunting for that one punch that could separate the Ukranian from his senses. Vladimir looked a little ungainly, but handled Brewster’s bullcharge and settled into a nice, quick rhythm of hard jabs followed by straight rights or pounding hooks.

The second round progressed much like the last two and a half minutes of the first. Brewster presented a virtually immobile target, while Vladimir beat on him with a numbing series of jabs and power shots. The only wrinkle Steward seemed to have added to his arsenal was the awkward clinch, which Vladimir used liberally and for no discernable reason.

In the third, Vladimir’s dominance suffered a hiccup when Brewster landed a straight left right smack in the middle of Klitschko’s face. Vladimir reeled back and appeared wildly over-damaged by the blow, but eventually settled down and got back to the business of beating Brewster like he had caught him breaking into his house.

The fourth round was Vladimir’s most dominant, though he was beginning to show signs of fatigue. The arms weren’t held as high as they should be and he was breathing through his mouth, but that didn’t stop him from dropping Brewster with a huge left-right combination that nearly ended the fight.

Lamon was nothing if not determined, and rose to his feet, seemingly anxious to continue his role in Klitschko’s well-paid game of one-sided human battery.

Round five picked up where round four left off, although two minutes into it something very strange happened. Brewster actually landed a punch. It wasn’t a big one, but it was hard left hook and it sent Klitschko reeling into the ropes like he’d been shot. Vladimir’s hands dropped, his head wobbled and his body perceptively sank, as if he no longer had the will to keep it up. One more hard left from Brewster and referee Robert Byrd generously stepped in and gave Vladimir a standing eight.

It was clear that Klitschko was facing not only the disaster of Brewster’s power, but also the disaster of his own total inability to deal with a punch. He had been banging away virtually unanswered for four and half rounds, and the second good punch to hit his head had him lolling around the ring like a 14-year-old boy who’s ransacked his father’s liquor cabinet.

He showed some flicker of determination to eke out the round, but the recoil from a missed Brewster punch sent him face-first to the canvas moments after the bell rang. His eyes were cloudy, his face betrayed no clear thought, and his gigantic body struggled to rise and then gave out under him. There was nothing to do except stop the fight.

So, you might ask, what the hell happened? Here is an amazingly talented athlete, conditioned to fight 12 full rounds, trained by a living legend, and with a whole host of high profile fights under his belt – how on Earth did this man take one hard punch and completely lose any sense of himself?

Perhaps it was exhaustion, though for him to be in such poor shape that five rounds completely physically bankrupted him is a stretch. Not even power-eater Derrick Jefferson does that anymore.

Could Vladimir’s chin – always questionable – suddenly have turned into whatever brittle substance is weaker than glass? Possible, but again highly doubtful.

My sense is that something genuinely terrible happened to the body of Vladimir Klitschko. Yes, it could be his perilous mental state, he could have over or under trained, or permanently lost his physical composure, but my vote is for some medical condition that prompted a breakdown of this magnitude.

I have seen a lot of spent fighters, but never one as quickly and totally depleted as Klitschko. The man was hardly touched, but looked as though a train had hit him. At least in the Sanders fight, Corrie landed spectacular leather before Vladimir did the face-forward flop.

Brewster – whether he won because of Vladimir’s worthless chin or a medical condition – showed nothing in the fight except a central nervous system that was capable of taking an inhuman amount of punishment. Don’t expect him to hang onto the WBO strap for much longer.

Vladimir’s options are entirely dependent on the causes of his complete collapse. If they are mental, then his career is over. All he is good for is a once-off fight with Michael Grant – the first one to land a punch wins.

Wilma Scott

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