V. Klitschko can't go out like this
September, 8, 2012
By Dan Rafael | ESPN.com
Lars Baron/Getty ImagesManuel Charr wanted more from Vitali Klitschko, but a cut ended his night -- mercifully, for him and fans.Vitali Klitschko has made no secret that he will soon retire from boxing. The older of the two heavyweight champion brothers, the 41-year-old Klitschko has nothing left to prove and already has begun to transition into a full-time politician in his native Ukraine.
He is up for election to a parliament seat Oct. 28, and if he wins it, his ninth title defense Saturday could have been his finale. But as serious as Klitschko is about his political career, will he really bow out after such a dominant but unsatisfying (to fans, anyway) fourth-round knockout of Manuel Charr?
We’ll know a lot more about that after Oct. 28.
As for Charr (21-1, 11 KOs), he brought a glossy record to the ring -- and nothing else. Klitschko smacked the smaller man around for almost every second of the fight, which took place at Olimpiyskiy Arena in Moscow.
In the second round, while Klitschko was doing what he wanted to do, Charr motioned for him to come forward and hit him. Klitschko happily obliged, eventually knocking him down with a sweeping right hand moments before the end of the second round.
In the fourth round, Klitschko (45-2, 41 KOs) opened a terrible cut over Charr's right eye, and referee Guido Cavalleri stopped the fight on the advice of the ringside doctor.
It was an anti-climactic end to a forgettable fight, even by the standards set by the Klitschko brothers, who have made most of their fights forgettable because they have been so utterly dominant.
On paper, Germany's Charr had no reason to be in the fight other than a nice record and a willingness to take the deal that was offered to him. But it's not as though Klitschko fought Charr instead of some other willing and deserving top contender seeking out the fight. Nobody was.
So Charr, who did very little other than throw an occasional right hand, got the shot and ate a ton of leather until the bloody stoppage. There would be no "Rocky" moment, no Buster Douglas-like upset.
Charr never tried to win. He pawed with his jab and ran some. He was simply outgunned. The most passion Charr showed was after the fight was stopped, when he bitterly complained that it should have gone on -- as blood streamed down his face and chest.
So now Klitschko, with another easy win and seven-figure payday in the bank, has a choice to make: Win or lose at the polls, should he keep on racking up these kinds of wins, which he probably could do for years to come, or should he retire and wait for the Hall of Fame call five years later?
Given the extremely disappointing nature of Saturday's fight, it would be nice to see Klitschko fight at least one more time -- ideally against a young contender such as Tyson Fury or David Price -- regardless of the election returns.