Wladimir Klitschko continued his total domination of heavyweight boxing with a masterful fifth round knockout of Alex Leapai in Oberhausen, Germany.
It may have been one of Klitschko's finest performances. At age 38, Klitschko looks better than ever. If you think about it. there has never been a world heavyweight champion at age 38 who looked anywhere close to as devastatingly awesome as Klitschko did vs. Leapai. Ali, Louis, Holmes, Jack Johnson, Tyson, were all finished by age 38. Lennox Lewis looked very good at 38 vs. Vitali Klitschko but opted to retire after that fight. George Foreman fought into his mid 40s but he was never really aesthetically impressive in his second tenure as a boxer.
Say what you want about Leapai's level, there is no questioning the obvious reality that Klitschko is a monster of a man to beat or even compete against. He has everything - handspeed, power, reflexes, footspeed, one of the greatest jabs in boxing history, dedication and superior intelligence and motivation. And none of those qualities seem to be even remotely in decline.
Leapai was okay, we couldn't really tell much about him because he was eating shots the entire fight. He did show some handspeed and durability today and he had a good win over previous WBA mandatory challenger Denis Boytsov. I'd estimate the rugged Australian is about at the same level as other heavyweight challengers from history - Tony Galento, Leroy Jones, Jean Pierre Coopman, Alfredo Evangelista, Luis Firpo, Cleveland Williams, Lucien Rodriguez, Phil Jackson, Michael Moorer, Axel Schulz, etc. Leapai's dilemma was that he had no idea how to penetrate Klitschko's defense or offset Dr. Steelhammer's onslaughts which, in one sequence, numbered about ten non stop punches in a row.
While Leapai tried and failed, you have to remember, NO ONE has shown any capacity to bother or better Wladimir since he revised and enhanced his style after losing to Lamon Brewster over ten years ago.
Impressively by Klitschko, I don't think Leapai landed a single shot on Wladimir in almost fifteen minutes of fighting. But he's not the only one to struggle offensively. Most of Klitschko's challengers can barely touch him.
Not only is Klitschko still as dominant as ever, he looked much better this fight than the previous one vs. Povetkin. Klitschko's offense was far more varied vs. Leapai and also far busier. And Klitschko threw many new punches from different angles and distances.
There's a reason why the best challengers of this era (Haye, Fury, Helenius, Wilder, Povetkin, Arreola, Mitchell, Jennings, etc.) have ALL have hesitated or flat out backed down from challenging Wladimir Klitschko. He's absolutely one of the greatest fighting machines to ever grace the heavyweight division.
Yes he is.
While many pundits, fans and observers of the ring might refute or challenge this notion, contemplate the words of Chris Byrd, twice a victim of Wladimir's greatness: "Wladimir Klitschko, dominant heavyweight champion for ten years. Until you get in the ring with him you wouldn't understand how hard it is."
It's not that the heavyweight division is a landscape of bums, stiffs and tomato cans. No, it's more realistic and accurate to say that the man who rules the era is just far too superior for ALL of his competition. That's the way sport works sometimes, as we saw with Pete Sampras, Secretariat, Usain Bolt, the Montreal Canadiens, Tiger Woods, Steffi Graf, Serena Williams, Jimmie Johnson, Michael Schumacher, etc.