Don't blame champ for lack of contenders

Kevin Iole
Yahoo! Sports

You can follow Kevin Iole on Twitter at @KevinI

Albert Sosnowski deserves a heavyweight championship shot about as much as Sylvester Stallone, only he has less chance to win the belt than Rocky might.

He faces World Boxing Council champion Vitali Klitschko in what is certain to be another one-sided Klitschko beatdown Saturday in Gelsenkirchen, Germany. Sosnowski is 45-2-1 with 27 knockouts, which is a championship-worthy record. Records in boxing mean next to nothing, however, because of the time-honored tradition in the sport of padding a record with more soft touches than a Dairy Queen.

Sosnowski has zero – yep, zero, as in none – quality wins. He's never fought a legitimately ranked contender before, let alone beaten one.

In his last four fights, he lost every round of an eight-rounder to the eminently forgettable Zuri Lawrence; he stopped a year's-over-the-hill Danny Williams in eight; he drew with Francesco Pianeta and he won a wide unanimous decision over Paolo Vidoz.

The stuff of champions that is not.

Klitschko will expose him for the fraud that he is and stop him, perhaps as early as the third or fourth round, and the world will quickly forget about Sosnowski.

Klitschko, who has won 110 of the 114 scored rounds in winning his four bouts since a 46-month, injury-induced retirement, will also get skewered for facing Sosnowski. The WBC is one of the worldwide leaders in making a mockery of the rankings and its credibility was shredded decades ago.

This, though, isn't even a WBC-created problem, at least not directly. There simply is no one who is available and who's remotely qualified to fight for the championship at this point. The WBC's No. 1 contender is Cuban expatriate Odlanier Solis, who is 16-0 but who has built that record against the same murky level of competition that Sosnowski built his against.

Solis, who struggles to keep his weight in check, stopped Carl Drummond in March. His four wins prior to that were over Monte Barrett, Dominique Alexander, Kevin Burnett and Chauncey Welliver.

That group fails to conjure up memories of Ali, Frazier, Foreman and Holmes. The sad part is that it gets worse as you go along. Nikolai Valuev, rated No. 2, is a guy who struggled to beat a mid-40s Evander Holyfield and John Ruiz.

Alexander Povetkin would be a good challenger, except he's the mandatory for the International Boxing Federation belt held by Klitschko's younger brother, Wladimir, and thus wasn't available.

Denis Boytsov is fourth and has a 27-0 record with 22 knockouts, but he's been protected more than President Obama. He's scored wins over the likes of Kevin Montiy, Jason Gavern and Taras Bidenko, a threesome only marginally tougher than Moe, Larry and Curly.

Tomasz Adamek is fifth and would be another credible challenger, but he just defeated Chris Arreola on April 24 and wasn't available.

The two opponents who would have presented the most star power and the most credible challenge also aren't available. World Boxing Association champion David Haye, for all his rhetoric, hasn't shown an inclination to get into the ring with either Klitschko. Negotiations for a bout with Wladimir Klitschko have moved move slowly than the Ice Age.

A bout between the brothers themselves would probably be the second-biggest fight that could be made in boxing, besides only the welterweight match between Nos. 1 and 2 pound-for-pound, Floyd Mayweather Jr. and Manny Pacquiao.

It would be a fascinating match that would garner worldwide attention. The brothers, though, have said they'll never fight each other.

There would be no reason to criticize them if they did face each other, but nor should there be controversy over their decision not to do so.

They are as close as two brothers can be and have shared their secrets, their joys, their pains, their fears and their aspirations with each other over the years.

It would have been great for the sport had they chosen to fight because it would have taken the two most dominant heavyweights of the post-Lennox Lewis Era and put them in the ring against each other in a fascinating combination of size, skill and power. As Pacquiao says after nearly every fight, boxing is "just my job, nothing personal," but there would be plenty of heartache created in their family if they chose to fight. And though it's just sport, each brother clearly would have had difficulty trying to concuss the other. In that regard, they're not alone as brothers who would rather do anything than hurt each other.

Sadly, that leaves us with Klitschko-Sosnowski. Klitschko will bludgeon Sosnowski and expose him as the no-talent that he is. The world will yawn.

There aren't a lot of great heavyweights in the pipeline, either, to replace the Klitschkos when they're gone. Vitali is 38 and clearly, given the way his body has broken down in the past, doesn't have a lot of time left.

Wladimir is 34, but has already fought 57 times. Don't expect him to last more than another five years.

The Klitschko brothers are terrific talents and would have been competitive in any era, though they haven't had the competition to prove that to be true.

Because they're so much better than the rest of the field, they've come under more scrutiny than most and have received the most criticism.

Don't blame Vitali Klitschko, however, for facing a no-hoper like Sosnowski. In this era, with its highly diluted talent pool, pretty much every one of his potential opponents is a no-hoper.

He just chose the one who happened to be available.

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