Chisora gains some respect, but will he keep it?

February 18, 2012

There was no surprise in Vitali Klitschko retaining his World Title by beating Dereck Chisora in Munich tonight, but there will be more than the occasional eyebrow raised at how: Chisora lasted right to the end, and although the end result never looked in doubt, Klitschko had to work a lot harder than in some of his other fights over the last few years. Chisora kept going forwards for the full twelve rounds, kept throwing punches, and although he never seemed to put Vitali in trouble, a clearly tiring champion didn’t look particularly like getting Chisora out of there either.

“Experience beat me today” was what Chisora said after the fight, and there’s something in that – but it’s not the only thing. Vitali may not be the most stylish boxer, but he can box – his shots were always that bit sharper, more likely to hit the target. But one of the other factors was Klitschko’s sheer size.

There may not have been much difference in weights at the weigh-in, but the taller Klitschko looked that much bigger. His height gives him a reach advantage, but as well he uses his size to lean on his opponents. Kieran Mulvaney over at ESPN has spoken a couple of times on the Heavy Hitting Boxing Podcast about why this is a reason for him not to include the Brothers K on his Pound-for-pound list, and you can see his point: it’s not that Vitali was doing anything against the rules, but he does use those extra pounds to his advantage.

Klitschko didn’t exactly grow old in this fight, but the fact that he was unable to finish Chisora off will give his fans some pause for thought. At age 40, Klitschko’s best days lie well behind him, and Chisora – widely regarded as a limited and inexperienced fighter, although the limited part of that certainly needs some reassessment – did enough to suggest that a pressure fighter with heavy hands, a decent chin, and decent boxing ability has good reason to fancy their chances against Vitali.

What now for Chisora now? Arguably, if he can hang around a bit then he might be in a good position to challenge when Vitali finally retires, but that may as well depend on whether he can behave himself out of the ring. His slapping of Vitali, and the continuing antagonism with both of the Brothers Klitschko, are but the latest examples of his occasionally bizarre behaviour; and it’s not that long ago that he lost his British Title to Tyson Fury after appearing to be well out of condition. No such accusation could be made tonight, and hopefully that’s a sign of how he intends to go on.