Wladimir Klitschko vs Anthony Joshua 2: Exactly why Wlad will fight againWritten by Lee Cleveland
Per Wladimir Klitschko's manager, Bernd Boente, the fighter hasn't decided on whether he’ll exercise the 'immediate rematch' clause in the Klitschko vs Joshua contract.
“As you can imagine, he was absolutely disappointed after the fight in the locker room while we were all sitting together,” Boente told Boxing News.
(Image courtesy of Sky Sports)
“Now he feels better, he’s on vacation in Florida with his wife and daughter, relaxing a little bit and he’ll make his decision very quickly when he gets back, the latest at the beginning of June, or maybe in between, what his next step will be. That next step could be the rematch or that he retires, but that’s up to him.”
Whether he chooses to face Joshua again later this year is not known. However, boxing history strongly suggests Wladimir Klitschko will certainly fight again. Thus, he's more likely than not to exercise the rematch clause. But even if he doesn't exercise the immediate rematch clause, it wouldn’t mean he’s retiring.
And no, money won't be his incentive to continue fighting although it'll be a nice perk.
Klitschko will continue fighting because he's convinced he's the best heavyweight in the world. And why shouldn't he think otherwise? Not only was he a dominant heavyweight champion for many years, he was a decorated amateur and Olympic gold medalist.
Simply put, Wladimir Klitschko is a winner who knows nothing but success in boxing. It'll take more than being knocked out by Anthony Joshua to send him into retirement - especially given his tremendous performance and the fact he nearly stopped Anthony.
There's something special about being the best, especially in the sport of boxing. Thus, boxing history is replete with great champions who, instead of retiring on top, had to be pummeled into retirement.
A faded 36 year old Muhammad Ali retired as champion but couldn't resist coming back two years later to face then-champion Larry Holmes. Not only did Ali lose, he would get 'beaten up' for the first time in his career in a sad, one-sided showcase. But even that wasn't enough to deter Ali. He fought again, dropping a 10 round unanimous decision verdict to Trevor Berbick, a young, tough, up-and-coming contender, before finally retiring.
The great Sugar Ray Leonard would experience a similar fate. After being thoroughly beaten up for the first time in his career by Terry Norris, an even more shopworn Leonard would comeback six years later to be knocked out by Hector Camacho.
Another example is Roy Jones, Jr who is still fighting at 48 and is a good 15-20 years past his prime. Perhaps he'll concede he's not a top pound-for-pound fighter anymore but he probably believes he's still good enough to become a cruiserweight champion.
Back to Wlad...
All-time greats have trouble leaving the sport even when soundly beaten so, given the fireworks Wladimir unleashed against Joshua, it would be very, very difficult for him to retire.
And in Wladimir Klitschko’s defense, his situation is different than Ali's, Leonard's and Jones.' He was not embarrassed or dominated by Anthony Joshua. In fact, his stock surged after the fight.
After being knocked out several weeks ago, Klitschko stated he felt like he didn't lose...And in his mind, he still can't lose.
The question isn't a matter of if Wladimir will fight next, it's who he'll fight next.
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.