At their worst, heavyweight champion Wladimir Klitschko’s fights can seem less like contest and more like a macabre, repetitive mechanical process. Jab, jab, right hand, step off, stiff-arm, jab, jab, right hand, rinse and repeat. It still might not have been sporting, but freed from the need to worry about being punched back by the hopelessly overmatched and undersized Alex Leapai on Saturday night in Germany, the Ukrainian man-mountain was at his awe inspiring best. He’s a sometimes food, but he was sublime tonight.
There’s not really much else to say. According to the button-pressing punch counters, Leapai landed 10 shots to Klitschko’s 147. I couldn’t even count that many. “Dr Steelhammer” dropped Leapai with a triple jab in the 1st round and dominated him at every moment of every round afterwards with his superior footwork, power and reach. To say Klitschko “peppered” Leapai with shots would understate the shocking concussive force behind every punch he landed (which was virtually every punch he threw). He closed the boom in the 5th round, chasing a falling Leapai across the ring and landing a series of cannon-like one-twos that sent the Australian to the canvas. Mercifully, the champion didn’t play with his food and repeated the trick with a left hook and a right hand. Referee Eddie Cotton waved it off as Leapai lay tangled in the ropes, a tortured expression on his face.
We’ll see that face again, whoever Klitschko fights next. It’s not even worth mentioning names. There’s no-one out there right now who can beat him. I doubt there’s anyone in the heavyweight division who believes, in their heart of hearts, that they could.