By Clive Bernath: Between them Wladimir and Vitali Klitschko have dominated the heavyweight division since Lennox Lewis retired back in 2003. And if you believe some of the comments made by readers on this site part of the reason they have dominated for so long is because they have hand picked their opponents in arguably the weakest weight division in boxing.
It’s a fact the heavyweight division was once the richest prize in sport and largely dominated by American boxers but over the years the desire to chase sporting greatness and the multi million dollar pay checks on offer has forced America’s finest sporting prospects to take up careers in Football, Baseball and Basketball, leaving a massive void when it comes to producing boxing’s next genuine heavyweight superstar.
Its true the Klitschko brothers have had things pretty much their own way over the last few years but on March 19 in Cologne, Germany Vitali Klitschko faces Cuban challenger Odlanier Solis, arguably the best heavyweight contender of the lot.
Agreed, the 30 year-old Solis did look a little sluggish against Ray Austin in his last fight, is a little short at 6ft 1 and carries a little too much timber around the waist but you can’t argue with his Amateur pedigree. According to the record books the undefeated Cuban has fought more than 230 amateur bouts, is a two time world senior championship winner and the 2004 Olympic heavyweight Gold medallist. Solis turned pro in April 2007 and has notched up a 17 fight unbeaten record, 12 by the short route. True, Solis has not really been tested yet but he has been built up and manoeuvred towards a title shot in the right way against the right opponents.
Some heavyweight contenders seem to get their shots at the title either too early or too late in their careers but Solis seems to have got his crack whilst in his prime. One could even argue that Solis is better placed than WBA heavyweight champion David Haye, to defeat Klitschko.
As an amateur Solis defeated Haye in the final of the 2001 world championships. Haye got off to a flyer rocking Solis with a peach of a right uppercut. It was the sort of well timed punch that would have knocked out a horse but somehow Solis stayed upright, recovered and ended up dominating Haye before the bout stopped in the third session. So we know he can take a punch. And he is solid and strong enough to able to get close enough to test Vitali early.
Solis may well come up short against one of the physically toughest heavyweights of recent years and if he has prepared correctly he is capable of
Click on the link above to watch the 2001 amateur bout between Odlanier Solis and David Haye
January 12, 2011