Vitali Klitschko, 37, was never a great fighter. He certainly wasn’t a great heavyweight champion. In fact, I’d go further I’d say he was a poor heavyweight champion and little more than a mediocre fighter. Like many in the curious, contrary world of boxing his repute grew more in gritty defeat to an ageing Lennox Lewis than in any of his victories, of which I would struggle to summon a single performance of historic significance.
Big David Price, all 6ft 8 of him, took two standing 8 counts and failed to score in his semi final contest with Italian Roberto Cammarelle. Price appeared to land more than one scoring shot but without the clarity for the five ringside observers to press their blue buttons together. Bronze remains a solid achievement for the giant Brit but for once aggression and combination punching prevailed. The Italian, the betting favourite according to the BBC’s Jim Neilly, was the more aggressive, positive fighter from the first bell.
The astonishing performances of Jamaican sprinter Usain Bolt broke the consciousness of almost the entire population of the world this week. Only the Olympics and perhaps the football World Cup offer such global exposure [alas the heavyweight championship has long lost this broad appeal], and though I doubt he could run backwards as fast as his contemporaries in the Olympic boxing ring, the question of his place amongst the greats of the track is unquestionable. The clock doesn’t lie. Bolt is faster than anyone who ever lived. Such cross generation comparison in boxing, provides no such clarity.