Wladimir Klitschko and Hayden Panettiere: Has Family Life Taken the Fire From the Champ?Written by Lee Cleveland
Has Wladimir Klitschko, who, along with actress Hayden Panettiere, welcomed the birth of their first child in December 2014, become "too civilized" for the ring?"
Who remembers trainer Mickey's famous line to Rocky in Rocky 3?
"Three years ago you was supernatural. You was hard and you was nasty and you had this cast-iron jaw but then the worst thing happened to you, that could happen to any fighter."
"You got civilized."
Has Wladimir Klitschko become civilized? And has the Klitschko era in boxing ended as a result?
Last November, and after 11 year, uninterrupted title reign and a smashing 22 straight wins, Wladimir Klitschko (64-4, 53 KO) surrendered his titles to British bad boy Tyson Fury (25-0, 18 KO).
The loss shocked many but what surprised fans even more was Klitschko's ring presence, or lack thereof.
The champ's mind looked to be somewhere else.
Wladimir fought with little desire and appeared to be merely going through the motions. There was no creativity, passion nor any sense of urgency.
Has family life taken the fire from Klitschko?
Against Tyson Fury, landed a dreadful 52 punches and 8 powershots in the entire 12 rounds.
And in April, seven months prior, Klitschko defeated a much smaller Bryant Jennings in a bout non-violence advocates and Greenpeace would have loved. In fact, in that fight, Wlad clinched so much he was deducted a point by the referee. But Klitschko's lone jab was more than enough to secure the win because showcasing some semblance of offense beats.
In his last two fights, all we've seen is Wlad's jab and an occasional right hand. Whatever happened to the champ's hooks, uppercuts and body shots?
Is Wladimir Klitschko getting old right before our eyes or has he been saddled with the honorable demands of being a family man and the typical drama that accompanies many, if not most, celebrity power couples?
In addition to fatherhood, Wlad's had to tend to Hayden's pre and post pregnancy hormones, mood swings and her continuation of what has become a demanding career.
And, of course, the on-again, off-again rumors of an impending marriage that surface, go away and re-surface.
Family life can impact fighters in different ways.
For a young, hungry fighter who has previously lacked the discipline in training to maximize his skills and talents, family life - especially fatherhood - can be beneficial, adding maturity and focus.
But Wladimir Klitschko who, turns 40 next month, is already accomplished and wealthy. And in Europe, he has all of the fame an athlete could desire.
If Hayden Panettiere and the baby have made the champ more domesticated outside and inside the ring, Klitschko certainly wouldn't be the first fighter to succumb to higher priorities at this stage in his career.
According to CelebrityNetworth.com, he earned $23 Million in his losing effort to Tyson Fury last fall and has a net worth of $60 Million.
He seemingly doesn't have to continue in this brutal business.
Will Wladimir Klitschko bounce back and become champion again?
Klitschko vs Fury 2 will likely take place sometime this summer.
Klitschko vs Fury 2 | News
Lee is Managing Editor of FightSaga.com, a student of the Sweet Science and longtime boxing fan.
A gym rat in the 1990s, Lee was trained by 1976 Olympic Silver Medalist Charles Mooney and several retired seasoned pros. He was also a sparring partner for former WBA Super Middleweight Champion Steve Little who upset Michael Nunn for the WBA Super Middleweight Title in '94.
Lee created FightSaga.com to honor and preserve boxing's rich heritage, chronicle the achievements of top fighters, celebrate the legacy of big fights and provide a fun, educational experience for fight fans.