Vitali Klitschko overwhelmed Manuel Charr to keep his WBC belt. (Kiril Kudryavtsev/EPA)
Critics of the heavyweight division have long bemoaned the lack of talent at the top. Saturday afternoon's WBC title fight between Vitali Klitschko and Manuel Charr will do nothing to quiet them. In a one-sided, dull mismatch, Klitschko picked up a fourth round technical knockout of Charr after the ringside physician ordered the fight stopped due to a cut over Charr's right eye.
A few things: First, it was a ridiculous stoppage. The cut was bad, sure, and when Vitali poked his jab in Charr's face it spread the blood around until Charr's face looked like it had been colored with a red magic marker. But the ringside doctor should have given Charr's corner a chance to close it in between rounds. This was too big a moment not to give them a chance.
Of course, Charr should never have been in that fight to begin with. Charr (21-0) came in with a spotless record but no notable wins on his resume. Granted, there aren't many obvious opponents for Klitschko to face. Consider the WBC's top-five: Chris Arreola (already battered by Vitali), Bermane Stiverne (no), Denis Boytsov (similarly unproven), Johnathan Banks (please, God, no) and Marisuz Wach (scheduled to face Wladimir Klitschko in the fall). But Charr was human chum from the beginning, going into a defensive shell early, waving Klitschko in while the 41-year old continued to tee off.
Charr threw a tantrum after the fight, and in doing so probably saved a little face. He can go back to Germany claiming Klitschko didn't beat him, that a doctor stopped him from delivering the beating he promised. But he never had a chance, and he knows it.
There has been a lot of speculation that this could be Vitali's final fight. He has the Ukranian parliamentary elections in October and his political party, Udar, has been outspoken about making sweeping changes within the government. But he's not getting out of boxing. He's in phenomenal condition, has not been threatened in the ring since coming out of retirement in 2008, and makes millions every time he laces up the gloves. Klitschko and David Haye have been circling each other for years and Haye's spectacular knockout win of Dereck Chisora has made that fight a realistic possibility.
Even if you don't like Haye -- and many who suffered through his woeful 2011 loss to Wladimir Klitschko don't -- understand this: He can't be any worse than Charr.
-- Chris Mannix