Open Letter to Wladimir Klitschko

Photo Credit: skysports.com

Dear Dr. Steelhammer,

I know that this is probably not quite the way you envisioned ending your brilliant career but kudos for a job well done. You were truly exemplary from beginning to end and a great ambassador for boxing. I can scarcely believe that we have now moved on to a new chapter in the heavyweight division – the post-Klitschko years.

Admittedly, I was an early detractor. Your apparent reluctance to take risks baffled me considering your vast physical advantages over the competition. Perhaps it was nostalgia for the bygone Mike Tyson era, but I was not initially sold on your legitimacy as heir presumptive. Early loses to Ross Puritty and Corrie Sanders only reinforced those doubts.

Then you did something ingenious by enlisting the services of legendary trainer Emanuel Steward. The results were not immediate but it became one of the greatest collaborations in boxing history. Emanuel had a reputation for developing champions and got you back to your winning ways in devastating fashion. The old guru’s tweaks were subtle but more than enough to transform you to a nearly unbeatable fighting machine.

You ceased being the once tentative, unsure big man and morphed into a frighteningly efficient technician with the best jab in the business. We marveled at how you made easy work of all challengers over the next decade to become the second longest reigning heavyweight in history and the most dominant champion of your era.

No doubt, some fans would have salivated to see you square off against your elder brother but that was never in the cards. You made no apologies for your success and always respected opponents inside and outside of the ring. Your shock defeat to the tricky Tyson Fury and gutsy effort against Anthony Joshua has only deepened my respect for you. Take solace in the fact that you fought all contenders and left it all in the ring. Boxing is a better sport because of you and your guaranteed spot in the International Boxing Hall of Fame will provide fans with yet another opportunity to pay homage to one of its finest.

A Converted Fan

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November 2017
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