Posted November 08, 2012 on AP on Fox
In a sad reminder of the days when heavyweight boxing used to mean something, Joe Frazier will be moved on Saturday to a new crypt in the Philadelphia cemetery where he was buried a year ago. Floyd Mayweather Jr. helped pay for it, which family members say offers a more fitting resting place for the ferocious fighter who so famously dueled with Muhammad Ali. A statue to the heavyweight great is also moving forward in Philadelphia, long a bastion for up-and-coming fighters. If any fighter deserves the belated recognition, it's Frazier. He beat Ali in the ''Fight of the Century,'' handing him his first loss, and nearly fought him to the death in the ''Thrilla in Manila.'' It's only fitting that a city with a statue to a make-believe hero, Rocky Balboa, has one for its real-life boxing hero, too. On Saturday, we'll also get a sad reminder of what heavyweight boxing is today. Wladimir Klitschko will enter the ring to defend his world heavyweight titles once again, and once again most of the world will barely notice. The fight will be in Germany, where Klitschko has fought almost exclusively the last four years. The opponent will be a 32-year-old Pole whose biggest claim to fame is that he beat a fighter (Kevin McBride) who once beat Mike Tyson. If you're interested in seeing the fight, don't worry about pay-per-view. There isn't any. Instead, the fight will be televised online on a free trial by, which lately has been about the only place you can find a Klitschko fight. That's not entirely Klitschko's fault, though fighting in Germany where he and his brother, Vitali Klitschko, are extremely popular, surely limits his appeal. So does his clinical, almost dispassionate, style, though it would be hard to argue with the success the brothers - who both hold heavyweight titles - have had in the ring. And, as far as opponents go, Mariusz Wach isn't terrible, though his undefeated record in 27 fights is littered with names of undistinguished fighters. ''I see the spirit of a young man who wants to be champion,'' Klitschko said of Wach. ''He's very confident.'' That's about all Klitschko had to say about his opponent in a final pre-fight conference call on Wednesday. He had other things to talk about, passing along congratulations to President Barack Obama on his re-election and talking about his brother's recent election as leader of the Udar (Punch) opposition party in parliamentary elections in his native Ukraine. Vitali Klitschko has a tougher fight outside the ring, despite his party winning seats in elections last month that Western observers described as unfair at best. ''His goal is to change the way of Ukrainian politics,'' Wladimir Klitschko said. ''I can't really be proud of Ukrainian politics now. Vitali knows what it means to have the corruption we have in Ukraine. That's his main point, is to fight corruption.'' The Klitschko brothers are fairly unusual for boxing, though by now their novelty has long since worn off. They both hold advanced university degrees, speak four languages, and can discuss topics far removed from the violence of the ring. But their domination of the heavyweight division for much of the last decade has come at a price. As heavyweights go, boxing goes, and the division has been all but forgotten in the United States since the Klitschkos have beaten contenders who have little chance of matching their size or skills. The only real story line attached to Saturday's bout at 02 World Arena in Hamburg is about who isn't there. Klitschko will be without his longtime trainer, Emanuel Steward, who died last month while Klitschko was preparing for the fight. ''He wasn't just a coach,'' Klitschko said. ''Emanuel Steward was a genius, a genius in the ring.'' Steward was in Klitschko's corner for nine years, taking a powerful but largely mechanical fighter with a suspect chin and helping to transform him into a largely unbeatable force. Klitschko, who hasn't lost in eight years, will be trained by fellow heavyweight fighter Johnathon Banks, though he believes he won't have to reach far for inspiration. ''I really feel the spirit of Emanuel Steward is still with us,'' Klitschko said. Steward liked heavyweights and he trained some of the best, including Lennox Lewis and Evander Holyfield. History remembers them as exciting fighters who weren't afraid of a big scrap. How history will treat the Klitschkos remains to be seen. They've promised their mother never to fight each other, so the one intriguing bout of their careers will never happen. There aren't many good up-and-coming young heavyweights, either, meaning the Klitschko reign could go on for years. So while they won't be remembered among the heavyweight greats, like Ali and Frazier, they may be recalled for sucking all the air out of a division that used to mean something.

Wladimir Klitschko beats Wach

Wladimir Klitschko had to go the distance to defend his WBA, IBF and WBO heavyweight belts by decision against Mariusz Wach of Poland on Saturday. The 6-foot-7 1/2 Wach was the tallest opponent Klitschko faced in his 16-year professional career but offered little threat against the faster Ukrainian. The judges scored it 120-107, 120-107 and 119-109 to Klitschko, who was troubled...

Wladimir Klitschko vs. Mariusz Wach weigh-in results, photos, video

The weigh-ins for tomorrow's Wladimir Klitschko vs. Mariusz Wach fight were held this afternoon in Hamburg, Germany. Right here, you can check out the official results, including the weights from the fighters, and some photos and videos from the event as well. Take a peek at how they look, and keep in mind that Wach has both a height and weight advantage over Wladimir heading...

Wladimir Klitschko & Mariusz Wach workout photos, video

Wladimir Klitschko and Mariusz Wach held their open work out today at the Mercedes Benz dealership in Hamburg, Germany. Over 300 fans showed up to watch both fighters showing off their boxing skills in preparation for their heavyweight championship fight this Saturday, November 10. Right here, you can take a look at a collection of photos from their workouts, as well as a special...

Wladimir Klitschko will honor Manny Steward and violently knockout Mariusz Wach on Satuday

In honor of International Boxing Hall of Fame trainer Manny Steward who died last month from a short battle with diverticulitis at the age of 68, The Ring, WBA, IBF, WBO and IBO heavyweight champion “Dr. Steelhammer” Wladimir Klitschko will … Continue reading →

Boxing champ Klitschko faces taller, heavier Wach

Wladimir Klitschko will fight a heavier and taller opponent when he defends his WBA, IBF and WBO heavyweight belts against Mariusz Wach of Poland on Saturday. Klitschko weighed in at 247 pounds on Friday, while the 32-year-old Wach was 251. The unbeaten Wach will be the first fighter Klitschko has faced who is taller. The 36-year-old Ukrainian is 6-foot-6, while Wach is 6-7 1/2...

Wladimir Klitschko conference call quotes

Wladimir Klitschko and his new head-trainer Johnathon Banks held a media conference call earlier this week to discuss their upcoming fight against the undefeated Mariusz Wach. Here, you'll find a complete collection of quotes from Klitschko and Banks on their training camp, the loss of Emanuel Steward, preparing for Wach and more. Take a look. JOHNATHON BANKS: Camp has been going...

Column: Klitschko and the heavyweight mess

(Eds: With AP Photos.) By TIM DAHLBERG AP Sports Columnist In a sad reminder of the days when heavyweight boxing used to mean something, Joe Frazier will be moved Saturday to a new crypt in the Philadelphia cemetery where he was buried a year ago. Floyd Mayweather Jr. helped pay for the new digs, which family members say offers a more fitting resting place for the ferocious fighter...
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