posted on Jun, 25 2003 @ 08:44 PM
Associated Press - June 24, 2003
LAS VEGAS (AP) - The deep cuts on Vitali Klitschko's face are stitched up and just beginning to heal. He won't be able to fight again until late this
year, at the earliest.
That didn't stop Klitschko from beginning another fight Tuesday - to get Lennox Lewis back in the ring for a rematch both he and a lot of boxing fans
believe he deserves.
``I want a rematch and the rematch would be much bigger (for Lewis) than Roy Jones,'' Klitschko said. ``I hope the next fight will be against
Klitschko, who may have won a lot more than he lost in Saturday night's fight, repeated his belief that the fight shouldn't have been stopped at the
end of the sixth round because of a bad cut over his left eye.
The cut was an inch deep, all the way to the bone, and took 60 stitches to close. But Klitschko said the ring doctor's decision took away from what
might have been a spectacular ending to the heavyweight title fight.
``I could see well. That's why I'm disappointed in the decision,'' he said during a conference call Tuesday. ``I know it's my fight - and I win the
fight. This decision gives a big present to Lennox Lewis.''
Klitschko was ahead on all three scorecards in a brutal if somewhat ungainly brawl at the Staples Center in Los Angeles when the fight was stopped
because of the cut.
His lawyer, Ron DiNicola, said he is considering protesting the decision to the California Athletic Commission and asking the World Boxing Council to
order a rematch.
Neither of those avenues are likely to get him a second fight with Lewis, who welcomed a rematch just after the fight but has another possibly
lucrative fight with Jones that could get in the way.
Complicating the chances for a second fight is that Klitschko needs time to heal before beginning training again.
``Six months would be a good time,'' said Dr. Pearlman Hicks, who sewed the cuts up. ``We want to make sure it's perfectly healed so he can get back
in the ring and not worry about the problem.''
Hicks said the cut over the fighter's eye took several layers of stitches to close. Another cut on his lip was cut to the muscle.
Though Klitschko lost, he won over a lot of boxing fans and legitimized his claim to be a top heavyweight contender. He put himself in the mix among a
handful of top heavyweights, with the possibilities of big fights other than Lewis.
``I don't want to fight everyone. I want to fight for a world championship,'' Klitschko said. ``It is my dream to fight world champions.''
Klitschko is from Ukraine, but he and his brother, Wladimir, both speak German and spent the last six years fighting and building up a big fan base in
The fight started at around 4:30 a.m. in Germany because of the time difference, but a whopping 4.6 million either stayed up or crawled out of bed to
watch. The numbers were similar to what a popular prime time show in the country draws.
Some said it was the first time in 20 years it was worth sitting up all night to watch boxing - since Muhammad Ali was fighting.
``We're staying awake again. The drama in Los Angeles wouldn't let us sleep, just like we once couldn't with the 'Thrilla in Manila' and the ``Rumble
in the Jungle,'' wrote the Berliner Morgenpost, a daily.