Eddie aiming to be too fast for Wladi
AMERICAN heavyweights, after dominating the division for so many years, haven't had a very good time of it lately. Eddie Chambers is the latest seeking to restore some of that old Yankee pride.
Tonight in Dusseldorf, Germany, 'Fast' Eddie aims to break down the current European monopoly by relieving Wladimir Klitschko of his WBO and IBF heavyweight belts. Can he do it? Not if the physical and statistical comparisons between the two are what matters.
Chambers, at 6ft 1in and around 14 and a half stone, is small by modern heavyweight standards. He'll concede six inches in both height and reach to Klitschko, who is a harder puncher and considerably more experienced.
The American's critics claim he is too nice; that he's lazy and not dedicated enough; that he doesn't have enough power and his body looks soft compared to the perfectly honed 'Dr Steelhammer'.
Chambers, rated No1 by the WBO and No3 by the IBF, said on his arrival in Germany this week that he was "on a mission" to beat Klitschko and take the titles back to the US.
"This is serious business and I'm going for it, but I also know that I want to take in this experience and enjoy the ride," he said.
"I'm not making any fancy predictions. I'm just going to win."
Klitschko, 33, who hasn't fought since June 2008 while recovering from a hand injury, said he was taking the 27-year-old mandatory challenger seriously.
"I have huge respect for Chambers," he declared. "He didn't enter the elite of heavyweight boxing by accident. I am fully aware that this little man is extremely dangerous."
But how dangerous? Klitschko has shown his fragility when confronted by heavy hitters, but Chambers has only stopped 18 opponents in 36 fights, so his reputation is unlikely to send shivers down the champion's spine.
Fast Eddie, as his nickname indicates, relies on his smart movement and quick, accurate jab, but how effective will that be against an opponent who stands tall, leans back and is very difficult to reach? In the one fight he lost, to Alexander Povetkin in January 2008, Chambers got off to a promising start but lost focus in the second half of the bout and went into a defensive shell. The decision for Povetkin was unanimous.
Chambers came back with a decisive points win over Sam Peter, but carried far too much weight and was criticised for not standing his ground more and throwing more punches. He fulfilled his promise to get into better shape for his big test against unbeaten Alexander Dimitrenko in Hamburg last July and dropped the Ukrainian twice on the way to a split, but deserved, points win.
"It was like a crossroads fight for me," admitted Chambers. "I put together the aggression and the focus, and went over there to beat one of the best heavyweights in the world."
So it seems that Fast Eddie has discovered what it takes to win one of the heavyweight belts. Whether he can turn that desire and that focus into a winning formula, however, will be found out tonight.
It seems to me that, no matter how hard he tries, Chambers will be unable to outbox a much bigger, stronger champion with probably the best jab in the heavyweight division.
The American could make it interesting for a few rounds but may become frustrated and demoralised as his best efforts come to naught. He might have had enough before the scheduled 12 rounds are up.
Wladimir Klitschko v Eddie Chambers
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