History, however, cannot question one irrefutable fact: Wladimir Klitschko is the best heavyweight of his generation.
Klitschko (55-3, 49 KOs) reminded us of just how good he really is last month, when he delivered a stunning 10th-round knockout of Samuel Peter. A forgiving judge or a member of the Peter family might have given the ex-champion a round or two, but the outcome was already decided when a cluster of combinations from Klitschko sent Peter to the canvas like a tree falling in the forest.
It looked easy. Klitschko's fights usually do. Under the guidance of Emmanuel Steward, Klitschko has become a master of using the jab to keep his opponents away from him and to soften them up for thudding combinations. The win over Peter was preceded by knockouts of Eddie Chambers, Ruslan Chagaev and Hasim Rahman. In each of those fights, you would be hard-pressed to find a single round to take away from Klitschko.
Still, Klitschko says defeating Peter was more challenging than it looked.
"Peter was much stronger than he was when he fought [brother] Vitali [in 2009]," Klitschko said in a telephone interview. "He was clear in his goal when he changed his team. He had a new coach. He was totally pumped up. He was fast. There were some punches he threw that were unbelievable. If one of those punches connected, an elephant would have fallen down. It was a good thing I was prepared and focused and determined to win that fight."
Staying focused hasn't been easy for Klitschko, especially with the dearth of challengers. Most top-10 rankings are broken up into two categories: those who have been beaten by Klitschko and those who stand no chance against him. WBA champion David Haye holds the only world title not owned by a Klitschko. Yet Haye, who will face Audley Harrison on Nov. 13, has shown little interest in backing up his tough talk with his fists.
"He put his tail between his legs and ran away," Klitschko said. "He is embarrassing. I tried everything to get him to fight me, but he found another way to fight Harrison. He is trying to play smart and keep the title. I'll let him do it. He knows he is going to get knocked out. In fact, I think even if he doesn't fight me, he is going to lose the title to someone else."
Even with Haye out of the picture, Klitschko plans to stay active. He has targeted Dec. 11 for his next fight and has whittled the list of challengers to outspoken and undefeated British champion Derek Chisora or 6-foot-7 fellow Ukranian Alexander Dimitrenko.
"I need some names in the heavyweight division," Klitschko said. "I'm not going to wait for anyone. I don't want to be dependent on anyone. When you have no choices, you are forced to fight whoever is there. Your hands are tied behind your back."
While the choices for December aren't very attractive, Klitschko is hoping 2011 will bring new challenges. He plans to go after Haye again after his next fight and says he would like to fight in the U.S. against Tomasz Adamek, the former cruiserweight champion who is undefeated in four fights at heavyweight and has been drawing large crowds in Newark, N.J. Adamek is the No. 1 contender for Klitschko's WBO title.
"I would love to fight Adamek," Klitschko said. "He's been building himself up really well."
At 34, Klitschko is nearing the age where some boxers consider retirement. However, the former Olympic gold medalist said he has no timetable for such a move.
"I'm not an old fart," he said. "The question is a little funny because it reminds me of my age. I don't feel old. My style keeps me young. I'm so careful with my chin. Before I get hit, I'm going to knock the other guy out. To me, boxing is a chess game. And I still really enjoy it." -- Chris Mannix
Shane Mosley returned to action in September for the first time since a lopsided decision loss to Floyd Mayweather Jr. on May 1 -- and it wasn't pretty. A crowd of 13,591 at Staples Center in Los Angeles turned out to see Mosley fight Sergio Mora to an uninspired draw in the main event of Golden Boy Promotions' Mexican bicentennial celebration card.
I consider Mosley one of the greatest fighters of his time. After his performance against Mora, though, that time has finally past. Mosley emerged from that dispirited and dispiriting draw saying he wants to fight Manny Pacquiao, Miguel Cotto or Antonio Margarito next. That wish list seems sadly delusional. Against Mayweather, Mosley started off well and then pretty much shut down, saying later that he felt "tight." He looked no looser against the far less formidable Mora. At 39, Mosley can't expect to have another career resurgence. He'll keep getting fights if he wants them, of course. But I'll be increasingly bummed (and even worried) at the prospect of watching them. -- Rich O'Brien
• I don't like that the Showtime couldn't find a way to simply reduce the Super Six field to four after Mikkel Kessler pulled out. That said, I do like the addition of Glen Johnson, who rarely makes a bad fight. I also like that Johnson-Allan Green will be added to the undercard of Showtime's Nov. 6 card headlined by Juan Manuel Lopez and Rafael Marquez.
• I'd like to bet David Haye a million dollars that he doesn't retire next year like he says he will. Make that two million.
• Sanctioning bodies make me sick. The latest nausea moment came courtesy of the IBF, which ruled that junior welterweight Devon Alexander must defend his title against No. 1 contender Kaizer Mabuza by the end of the year or be stripped. Never mind that Alexander is close to signing on for a unification fight with Tim Bradley early next year. Here's hoping Alexander sends his belt back to the IBF offices. I'll pay the shipping.
• So Roy Jones has withdrawn from his Oct. 7 date with Danny Santiago because of a hand injury. Wonder how long it will be before we see Jones and 41-year-old Antonio Tarver together in the ring again.
• Some day, Ken Hershman, you and I are going to sit down and talk about the mess that is the Super Six. Andre Ward-Andre Dirrell, Kessler's eye injury, Carl Froch's back injury -- there's something fishy going on with all of them.
• Promoter Lou DiBella discovered Paulie Malignaggi, introduced him to the public and got him on HBO or Showtime eight times. He also did more for a pillow-fisted fighter with a beyond-dull fighting style than any other promoter could. Which is why I was shocked to read about Malignaggi's ripping DiBella after he signed with Golden Boy. I spoke with DiBella just after Malignaggi was smoked by Amir Khan at Madison Square Garden last May. DiBella didn't want to talk about how he could make more money off Malignaggi as a gatekeeper for rising stars (which he could). He wanted to talk about how he hoped Malignaggi would retire so he could help him get a job in broadcasting. And Malignaggi rips him? You stay classy, Paulie.
• Don't ask me why, but I'm looking forward to Bernard Hopkins-Jean Pascal in December. I just am.
• Got to give it up for Top Rank for putting together a pretty strong undercard for next month's Manny Pacquiao-Antonio Margarito fight. Kelly Pavlik, Guillermo Rigondeaux and Mike Jones are all worth watching.
• Gary Shaw is blaming Top Rank for outing Alfredo Angulo's illegal immigration status because it doesn't want to have to match Angulo against Miguel Cotto. That's a first.
• Has Winky Wright officially retired yet?
• Contrary to some reports, Wladimir Klitschko has not and is not seriously considering James Toney as his next opponent. One name he is considering for 2011, however, is Tarver.
• Here is what is wrong with boxing: Promoter Jimmy Burchfield put on a card at Foxwoods in Mashantucket, Conn., last weekend that was supposed to be headlined by a fight between Joey Spina and Ray Oliveira. What's the problem with that? Spina is a top-10 175-pound light heavyweight. Oliveira is a 147/154 junior middleweight who hasn't fought in five years -- and was destroyed in his last two fights. Thankfully, the commission stepped in and pulled the plug when Oliveira flunked one of his neurological tests. A fighter always wants to fight; I don't blame Oliveira for that. But Burchfield should know better to put a guy in his 40s in a position where he could get seriously hurt. -- Chris Mannix
There were lots of great knockouts in September -- with Saul Alvarez's destruction of Carlos Baldomir and Daniel Ponce de Leon's flattening of Antonio Escalante stand out -- but Enzo Maccarinelli's flooring of Alexander Frenkel is a must-watch. (Knockout at 10:25 of clip.)
"This fight is going to be as one-sided as a gang rape by a pack of silverback gorillas."-- WBA heavyweight champion David Haye, at the London press conference to introduce his Nov. 13 title defense against Audley Harrison
"If I apologised for every stupid/ignorant thing i said, I wouldn't have time for anything else during the day!"-- Haye, responding to widespread criticism for the comments on Twitter
Kim Ju-hee (right) absorbs a vicious right hand from Jujeath Nagawa of the Philippines during the seventh round of a women's light flyweight bout for four world titles in Anyang, South Korea, on Sept. 12. Kim rallied to win the fight (inset). (AP)