Whether you enjoy their class or gnash your teeth at the very sight of them, nobody can deny that Wladimir and Vitali Klitschko are the undisputed best heavyweights in the world today. The dominant brothers from the Ukraine own all four recognized world titles, have gone through just about every viable contender, and are now starting to double back and pick off some of the stragglers missed on the first go round.
However, that doesn't mean that the Klitschkos are invulnerable. At 36 and 41 years old, respectively, Wladimir and Vitali are near the end of the line. And, believe it or not, there are some fighters starting to emerge who can possibly, at the very least, develop into potential spoilers.
Here are five fighters who just might put en end to the Klitschko Era in heavyweight history:
Robert Helenius (17-0, 11 KOs)
"The Nordic Nightmare" is a touch over 6 ft. 6, has legitimate knockout power in both hands, and fights with the swagger of someone not easily intimidated. Helenius' resume is limited, with a controversial decision win over Dereck Chisora and blow-outs over Siarhei Liakhovich, Samuel Peter, and Lamon Brewster topping his hit list. It's anyone's guess what happens when he gets tagged with a solid shot from either Klitschko, but, at least on paper, he has everything needed to topple one of the heavyweight kings.
Tyson Fury (19-0, 14 KOs)
The UK's Fury is all bluster, but the big talk is backed by a pretty solid skill set and a set of heavy hands. The 6 ft. 9 Fury is being brought along slowly, but when he finally gets to the front of the line, he might very well be ready for the task at hand.
David Price (13-0, 11 KOs)
The second of the UK's towers of power, Price stands 6 ft. 8 and may actually be heavier handed than Fury, Helenius, or any other top heavyweight. The Liverpool native is still fighting at the national/regional level, but if he continues developing at his current rate, he will be a legitimate threat.
Seth Mitchell (25-0-1, 19 KOs)
For those who saw Mitchell buzzed by Chazz Witherspoon in his last fight, the idea that the former NCAA football star could ever be a challenge to either Klitschko might be a major stretch. However, Mitchell showed real, hardcore grit in the Witherspoon bout and also showed the ability to adjust in mid-fight and maintain his composure under adversity. Combine those characteristics with superb athleticism and maybe, possibly, he could score a major upset at some point in the near future.
David Haye (26-2, 24 KOs)
Haye was publicly humiliated in his bout with Wladimir Klitschko, kept at bay by his own cautious insecurities and forced into the role of passive no-hoper. The post-fight ridicule had to have some sort of effect on the psyche of the boisterous Brit. Now, if the rumors are true and a bout with the other Klitschko is in the works, this will be his chance for redemption. Don't let his fight with Wlad fool you, Haye can beat either Klitschko. He just needs something that beefs up his grit to the level of his mouth. Maybe he found it via public post-Wlad flogging. A fired up Haye has a chance at toppling Vitali, but he needs to be prepared to go down fighting.
Paul Magno was a licensed official in the state of Michoacan, Mexico and a close follower of the sport for more than thirty years. His work can also be found on Fox Sports and The BoxingTribune. In the past, Paul has done work for Inside Fights, The Queensberry Rules and Eastside Boxing.
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