Wladimir Klitschko: Is 40 year old the 'future' of heavyweight boxing?
Deontay Wilder, Tyson Fury, Anthony Joshua, Luis Ortiz, Joseph Parker and Charles Martin are young heavyweights on the rise.
Out with the old, in with the new....
Ever since former long-reigning champion Wladimir Klitschko lost his title to Fury in November, the boxing media has been abuzz about the 'future' of heavyweight boxing.
Who will emerge from the young lions as the dominant champion? Will there even be a universally-recognized heavyweight champion any time soon?
Who will be the 'man to beat' one, two and three years from now.
Enter Wladimir Klitschko.
No, that's not a typo.
It's mind-boggling how a heavyweight great can be written off so fast, even if he is 40.
As unentertaining as he's been in the ring at times, one would be remiss without mentioning Wlad alongside Joshua, Fury and the rest as the 'future' of the heavyweight division.
Keep in mind, he's expressed no intention to retire anytime soon and, like the recently-retired Floyd Mayweather, Klitschko lives, eats and breathes boxing, and is in shape all year round.
Given his pedigree, athleticism, experience, discipline and tactical style of fighting, Wladimir Klitschko could reign another 5 years should he reclaim the title in this summer.
How many times did we write-off Evander Holyfield?
Following his first loss to Riddick Bowe in 1992, the media failed to include the former champion on its list of potential heavyweight powerbrookers, Bowe, Lennox Lewis, Razor Ruddock, Michael Moorer, Jorge Luis Gonzalez, David Tua, Tommy Morrison, Shannon Briggs, Jeremy Williams, Larry Donald, Andrew Golota, and, of course, a recently-imprisoned but already-legendary Mike Tyson, were considered the 'future' of the heavyweight division.
Holyfield was passe... or so it seemed.
Evander was only 30 when he relinquished the undisputed crown to Bowe but, in boxing years, he might as well have been 50. Unlike the well-preserved Klitschko today, Evander had amassed tremendous mileage and wear and tear on his body by then.
Nevertheless, the great Holyfield would win the lineal crown again and again, defeat Tyson twice and remain a major powerbroker in the stacked division for another 10 years.
And let's not forget about Big George Foreman who won the lineal heavyweight title at 45, five years older than Wlad is today, and held on to it for about three years. Of course, after winning the title from Michael Moorer in 1994, Foreman was loathe to face top 5 contenders, something Wlad would likely be forced to do.
Of the all of the heavyweight young lions at the close of 1992, Lennox Lewis would be the only fighter to achieve true greatness or any semblance of dominance.
And even Lennox wouldn't gain recognition as a legitimate champion until he unseated Evander in December 1999, in the waning days of the decade.
In fact, the 1990s heavyweight boxing scene would be ruled by the old stand-bys, Holyfield, Foreman and Tyson.
Young lions, huh?
Will Wladimir Klitschko, like Holyfield and Foreman before him, dupe us all?
Will the 'future' be put on hold?
Wladimir Klitschko Accomplishments...
- Has held the titles of the WBO (twice), IBF, WBA (Super title) and The RING Magazine.
- Held the IBF, WBA and WBO heavyweight titles longer than any other fighter in history, and is the second longest-reigning heavyweight champion of all-time.
- Klitschko's reign of nine years, seven months and seven days is second only to the reign of Joe Louis, who was champion for 11 years, eight months and eight days.
- Klitschko successfully defended the WBO and IBF heavyweight titles more than any other fighter
- Defended the WBO title 19 times (five during his first reign and 14 during his second reign) and the IBF title 18 times; Only Joe Louis (25 defenses) and Larry Holmes (20 defenses) have made more.
- Boasts a record of 25-3 (19 KOs) in world title fights.
- 11 year / 22 fight unbeaten streak
- 6 years as the RING Magazine (real and legitimate) heavyweight champion
- 78 percent KO ratio
- Is 12-3 (8 KOs) against former or current world titlists