Monday, August 20, 2012
Wlad eyes new foe, more TV time
By Dan Rafael
Wladimir Klitschko can only fight the man put in front of him. Next on deck, it seems: Mariusz Wach.
Heavyweight champion Wladimir Klitschko has already polished off two challengers in violent, one-sided drubbings this year: Jean-Marc Mormeck in the fourth round and mandatory challenger Tony Thompson in the sixth round of their rematch. So who's next for the champ?
It will likely be Mariusz Wach (27-0, 15 KOs), according to Bernd Boente, Klitschko's manager. Boente told me that Klitschko will return to action for his 13th title defense on Nov. 10 in Hamburg, Germany, and that the 32-year-old Wach, from Poland and now based in New Jersey, is the likely candidate.
"If the Wach side agrees to the contract, Nov. 10 in Hamburg," Boente said.
He said the Wach camp has the contract and that "I don't expect big problems, but in this business you never know."
Wach is not well known, but Klitschko and older brother and fellow champion Vitali Klitschko have already blown through most of the top heavyweights willing to face them. Wach was under discussion to face Vitali on Sept. 8 (HBO, same-day tape delay), before he wound up agreeing to defend his version of the title against Manuel Charr in Moscow.
Wach's résumé is extremely thin, but he at least matches up with the 6-foot-6, 249-pound Klitschko in the size department. Wach is 6-7, 250 pounds, although he is woefully slow. His most notable win isn't really all that notable -- a sixth-round knockout of Tye Fields in March.
The 36-year-old Klitschko (58-3, 51 KOs), who is as dominant as ever, is at least staying busy and looking to add to his world title fight mark of 19-2 with 16 KOs, including a 12-0 mark with 10 KOs during his current title reign.
American television hasn't been set yet for Wladimir's November bout. But along with HBO's deal to air Vitali's defense against Charr, the network also bought the American rights to "Klitschko," a two-hour documentary on the brothers' lives and careers that has already played in theaters in Europe and in limited release in the United States.
"Klitschko" will debut on HBO at 5:30 p.m. ET/PT on Sept. 8, just a few hours before the network's split-site tripleheader of Klitschko-Charr and two live title bouts from Oakland, Calif.: super middleweight champ Andre Ward defending against light heavyweight champion Chad Dawson, and lightweight titlist Antonio DeMarco in a mandatory defense against John Molina Jr.
"Klitschko" offers a revealing all-access look at the first brothers to simultaneously own all of the major heavyweight titles. The documentary (which I participated in as one of the talking heads) explores their championship careers and lives outside the ring. Particularly interesting is the section of the film that deals with the work of their late father, Vladimir Rodionovich Klitschko. He was a Soviet air force colonel who was on the front lines of the cleanup of the 1986 Chernobyl nuclear disaster, which is what doctors and the family believe caused the lymph node cancer that took his life in July 2011.