Klitschko, Williamson fighting for their careers

Updated: October 1, 2004, 4:05 PM ET
Associated Press

LAS VEGAS -- Wladimir Klitschko believes he still has a future in boxing. His fight Saturday night against DaVarryl Williamson could decide whether that future is in the ring or holding a spit bucket for his brother.

Klitschko tries to come back from a stunning knockout loss to Lamon Brewster when he meets Williamson in a matchup of two heavyweights in desperate need of a win.

"For both of us this is going to be a struggle to survive,'' Klitschko said. "It's a big fight for both of us.''

Once considered the best of the two Klitschko brothers, Wladimir's fortunes turned sour when he was knocked out in the second round last year by Corrie Sanders. He was determined to prove the loss was a fluke, but when he was stopped by Brewster in the fifth round in April his future was in doubt.

Unless Klitschko starts winning -- and winning big -- again, he knows he may end up being a cornerman for his heavyweight champion brother, Vitali, instead of a champion himself.

"I just want to get in the ring and decide whether to fight again,'' Wladimir said. "There are a lot of questions there.''

The heavyweight fight tops a card at the new outdoor ring at Caesars Palace that includes an IBF super middleweight title fight between 2000 Olympian Jeff Lacy and Syd Vanderpool. It will be televised on Showtime beginning at 9 p.m. ET.

Klitschko (42-3, 39 knockouts) will have his brother in his corner as usual when he takes on Williamson (20-2, 27 knockouts) in a crucial bout for both boxers.

Klitschko, who won the gold medal in the 1996 Olympics, is coming off a shocking loss to Brewster in a fight he was dominating in the early rounds. In the fifth round, though, Brewster landed two left hooks and knocked Klitschko down twice before the fight was stopped at the end of the fifth round.

Klitschko's camp later claimed he might have been drugged and asked for an investigation, but Nevada boxing authorities said all his blood tests at a hospital after the fight came back negative.

"From the second round I had to fight myself just to move in the ring,'' Klitschko said. "I never had that experience before and I don't want to repeat it. I didn't find any answers, but the best answer is going to be my next fight.''

That fight will be against Williamson, who has some problems of his own. Nicknamed "Touch of Sleep,'' he went to sleep himself last September when Joe Mesi knocked him out 97 seconds into their bout.

Williamson has come back to win his last two fights, but Klitschko will be a major upgrade in opponents for him.

"To beat Klitschko on a national stage will do wonders for my career,'' Williamson said.

The fight might just feature two of the most educated heavyweights ever: Williamson and Klitschko own advanced university degrees.

In the other fight, Lacy (16-0, 13 knockouts) fights Vanderpool for the vacant IBF 168-pound title. Lacy has been brought along carefully against light opposition since turning pro, but he's confident he has enough for Vanderpool (35-2, 23 knockouts), who lost a decision to Bernard Hopkins four years ago for the middleweight title.

"Vanderpool keeps talking about my punching power, but he is forgetting my determination and other skills,'' Lacy said.

Copyright 2004 by The Associated Press