By Jason Marchetti
Ranking heavyweights is difficult, especially because the top 10 fighters in the division hardly ever fight each other. Wladimir Klitschko is in a league all by himself. But with his brother Vitali leaving boxing to pursue political interests, the vacant and wretched WBC belt is up for grabs. Wladimir cannot fight for the belt until late 2014 at the earliest, so that means we may actually get some decent heavyweight matches for this year.
- Wladimir Klitschko (61-3, 52 KO’s) – I don’t mind watching him fight as much as everyone else does, although I thought the fight versus Povetkin was one of his worst in a long time. He had the opportunity to show the world he could knock out anybody in the division, but instead he cruised to a unanimous victory by grabbing, holding, and leaning. He should have put him away in the 7th.
Top 5 challengers
- Tomasz Adamek (49-2, 29 KO’s) – Adamek is aging, and not as dangerous as he was a few years ago. What I like about him is his punch output, however a poor showing against a one-armed Eddie Chambers last year really disappointed me.
- Kubrat Pulev (19-0, 10 KO’s) – His fights on YouTube don’t impress me much, but he defeated Tony Thompson and he’s the IBF #1 contender to fight Wladimir at some point in 2014. I can’t see him giving Wlad trouble
- David Haye (26-2, 24 KO’s) – I suppose he’s officially retired now, but he would have laid out Tyson Fury inside of 6 rounds had they fought. Haye is brash and turns a lot of people off, but I think he could’ve beat anyone in the division outside of Wlad.
- Alexander Povetkin (26-1, 18 KO’s) – Povetkin is a solid heavyweight and has some decent wins on his record. I’d like to see him fight Adamek.
- Tony Thompson (38-4, 26 KO’s) – At 42, the Tiger is keeping himself relevant. Impressively he KO’d David Price twice but dropped a decision to Pulev late last year. He’s got a great fight coming in March vs. Olianer Solis, in which Im picking him to win.
- Chris Arreola (36-3, 31 KO’s) – I enjoy watching Arreola fight. Stop wondering when he’s going to lose the weight. He’s not. His punch output is still decent for a heavyweight and I’m picking him over Stiverne in the rematch. However, he’s had trouble in big network fights.
- Johnathon Banks (29-2-1, 19 KO’s)– I wish this guy would take more fights, but he’s too busy being Wladimir Klitschko’s trainer. Not a bad gig, though.
- Tyson Fury (19-0, 15 KO’s) – At 6’9, Fury is unproven, but improving with each fight. He’s only 25 and he draws a good crowd from the UK. He should learn to do his talking with his fists rather than his mouth. I hope the fight with Wilder comes together.
- Seth Mitchell (26-2-1, 19 KO’s) – He’s been KTFO by Banks and Arreola. His chin is his downfall.
- Bryant Jennings (17-0, 9 KO’s) – Only 1 win in the top 50.
- Deontay Wilder (30-0, 30 KO’s) – He’s been fun to watch as a quick undercard bout, but Its time to fight someone with a pulse. Wilder also has only 1 win in the top 50. I heard Richard Schaefer is in a graveyard with a shovel looking for Wilder’s next opponent. Haha.
- Odlanier Solis (20-1, 13 KO’s) – I remember reading about Solis in Ring magazine when he escaped from Cuba. He was supposed to be the biggest thing to hit the heavyweight scene. His loss versus Vitali was disappointing, as is most of his choices for opponents. He’ll face the aging Tony Thompson in March.
- Bermane Stiverne (23-1-1, 20 KO’s) – Outside of Chris Arreola, Stiverne has no decent wins on the record. He’ll have to face Arreola in a rematch for the vacant WBC title which he will try to take home to Canada.
- Robert Helenius (19-0, 11 KO’s) – The Nordic Nightmare likes to fight in Finland and won a split decision over Derek Chisora that I heard was a robbery. That’s all I know about him.