Vitali and Wladimir Klitschko: What place will they hold in history?
And many are not fans for that reason.
However, I respect them and acknowledge their dominance in the heavyweight division.
The Klitschkos have orchestrated a combined professional boxing record of 104 wins (92 KOs) and 5 defeats, which is impressive by any standard.
Wladimir Klitschko, 36, is the 5th longest reigning heavyweight world champion of all-time while Vitali, 41, has the 10th longest reign.
And both fighters have deep amateur pedigrees:
- Vitali's amateur record: 195–15 (80 KOs)
- Wladimir's amateur record: 134–6 (65 KOs)
Vitali Klitschko has never been knocked down in the pro ranks and has yet to lose a decision. Both losses were stoppages due to injury in bouts he was winning. Also, Vitali's 87.23% knockout percentage is the second best knockouts-to-fight ratio of any champion in heavyweight boxing history, after Rocky Marciano's 87.76%.
It is also worth mentioning that the Klitschkos are the only brothers to hold world titles at the same time, although this isn't a reason to state their individual place in history as all-time greats.
But on paper, their stats would suggest they are both all time greats. Yet despite that, their popularity isn't huge outside of Eastern Europe.
So why haven't they been given the respect of past champions?
Given their huge size, awkward style polished technical skills, they could have troubled many of the past champions.
Perhaps their lack of worldwide acclaim is due to their style? Its a bit boring, yet effective.
And for anyone who claims the Klitschkos jab their way to victory, their KO percentage suggests otherwise.
But the Klitschko brothers aren't alone in the 'no respect' category. A lot of great boxers, such as Larry Holmes, weren't given respect whilst still active. It's a shame, but true.
History often unveils a champion's brilliance.
Vitali and Wladimir Klitschko have been unfortunate to have reigned in a very forgettable era and that maybe the killer blow to their legacy.
Would you place Wladimir and/or Vitali on a top 10 all-time heavyweights list?