I can’t really summon rational reason for what I’m about to write but I feel compelled to suggest Ray Austin is going to upset the heavyweight applecart tonight and dethrone Wladimir Klitschko. Austin is a mediocre puncher, has a mediocre resume and is of mediocre renown, but I just feel Klitschko re-emergence as the golden boy of the beleaguered weight class is overdue another punctuation mark. Too many people have been eager to forget his pummelling at the hands of Corrie Sanders, his collapse versus Lamont Brewster and most recently the fact pedestrian powerhouse Sam Peter decked him three times.
Ray Austin is expected to weigh in career best shape, 25 pounds below the shabby 270 he’s nudged during previous visits to world-class competition. His trainer, and for some reason his platitudes ring true, suggests Austin is in the shape of his life, is better prepared than ever and sees flaws and fear in Klitschko when faced with a man of equal physical proportions. Not too much evidence of the latter but it is true to say his recent renaissance has been against the slighter figures of Calvin Brock, who was also too raw for the opportunity, and Chris Byrd.
Clearly, Klitschko is favourite for a reason not least becase Austin’s record lacks a win of credible substance but nobody gave semi-retired South African Corrie Sanders a prayer and he found straight quick shots were all you needed to flatten the Ukranian while Brewster just survived long enough for the giant champion to implode. Most recently Peter just lacked the finesse and ring craft to finish the job his three knockdowns so nearly completed.
For all Manny Steward’s protestations to the contrary, Klitschko isn’t Lennox Lewis and he has flaws that no trainer can repair or overcome – when he gets hit he goes down.
I just wonder whether the younger Klitschko sibling is due a fall from grace. It happens once every two years on average.
He could be overdue.