Forgettable Sosnowski a Curious Pick for Title Shot
By Lyle Fitzsimmons,
Contributing Boxing Editor
OK...it's time to come clean.
I've got to admit that the first couple times I heard the name "Albert Sosnowski" a few weeks back -- courtesy of my lovely wife relaying an e-mailed press release to me via phone -- my guesses at his full-time occupation were surely unbecoming a boxing editor with an cyber-syndicated column.
Hmmm, Albert Sosnowski...wasn't he that dopey Polish detective on Barney Miller, I asked?
Uh, no, that was Stan Wojciehowicz, she replied.
Oh, that's right. He was the guy Jeff Bridges played in that movie with the bowling alley, I remembered.
Wrong again, that was The Big Lebowski, she confirmed.
Rather than risk a third straight wildly incorrect guess, I decided to do some quick research.
And after a few minutes at boxrec.com, I had all the fodder I needed.
Ohhhh...thaaaat Albert Sosnowski...the boxer, I said pseudo-knowingly. You mean the guy that's beaten Danny Williams and Orlin Norris -- not to mention Chris Woollas, Greg Scott Briggs and Paul Bonson?
What's he up to these days that warrants a press release, I wondered?
He's fighting Vitali Klitschko for the WBC heavyweight title on May 29, she deadpanned.
At that point, it was a good thing I wasn't driving through the center of town, because I'd surely have careened into the nearest liquor sto...errrr, library.
And today, even sitting in a semi-comfy office chair, my astonishment remains palpable.
The guy's been a pro 12 years. He's never bettered anything resembling a top 30 foe.
And he's been stopped by the likes of Arthur Cook.
Vitali Klitschko will defend his WBC heavyweight title for the fourth time.
Yes, Arthur Cook. He of the 14-5-2 record, whose other knockout victories were two dustings of something called Ritchie Goosehead -- a winner in seven of his 32 career fights, by the way -- and one apiece of the unforgettable Justin Wrede and Marcus Rhode.
And he's been shut out by the likes of Zuri Lawrence.
Yes, Zuri Lawrence. The one that recorded a single win in his first seven fights, had a 12-month skid against Greg Pickrom, Willie Williams and Furkat Tursunov and won all eight rounds against Sosnowski between one-sided losses to Darrel Madison and Jason Estrada.
This is what somehow passes for title-worthy these days in the mind of Jose Sulaiman.
Still, before I dismiss Sosnowski's suspect credentials too, too blithely, I'll admit one thing.
The dude is freakin' ripped.
If I need someone to spot me on the bench at Planet Fitness or have my back in a fracas at the local Ale House, he's first on my go-to list. And because he's only slightly less manly than Jillian Michaels, a slot in the ever-fluid NBC prime-time lineup might be realistic as well.
But a heavyweight champion? Puh-leeeese.
I'm not pretending the division is near an all-time best, but there's got to be someone more deserving of the green belt than a muscle-bound heavy bag with nary a significant win to his name, doesn't there?
Surely Jose can trot out something better from his back stock of jewel- encrusted title-holders.
Because if it were up to me, I know I could.
For example, ex-champs Shannon Briggs and James Toney -- conveniently stationed beneath Sosnowski at numbers 12 and 13 on the contender list -- would be entertaining and accomplished enough to perhaps draw interest from a U.S.-based television network, boosting the event beyond the (who in the world would buy this for) $24.95 PPV abyss it occupies today.
And who knows...they might even win.
A recycled Samuel Peter would be an interesting redux two years after their first match. Tomasz Adamek could be the decade's new Chris Byrd, 10 years after the old one gave Vitali his first loss.
Truth told, even a 47-year-old Evander Holyfield presents a more dynamic obstacle than a 31-year-old Sosnowski, whose former trainer said recently that his ex-charge "doesn't really stand a chance."
Not exactly the optimum assessment from a trusted corner ally, huh?
Anyway, if it's going to be nothing more than a K2 Promotions-sanctioned circus, why not ratchet it up with someone like WWE superstar John Cena, complete with pyrotechnics?
Or UFC phenomenon Brock Lesnar, complete with octagon-shaped ring?
Or even "Real American" turned reality TV staple Hulk Hogan, complete with angry ex-wife and talentless sexpot daughter?
Hell, I'd sooner drop the 25 bucks to see Klitschko dance with Nicole Scherzinger.
Maybe she can't fight either...but she'd look a lot better in trunks and shoes.
* * * * * * * * * *
This week's title-fight schedule:
IBF junior flyweight title -- Buenos Aires, Argentina
Carlos Tamara (champion) vs. Luis Alberto Lazarte (No. 6 contender)
Tamara (21-4, 15 KO): First title defense; Lost only career title fight in Argentina
Lazarte (46-9-1, 18 KO): Fifth title fight (0-4, 0 KO); Six-fight winning streak (6-0, 1 KO)
Fitzbitz says: "Fifth time not the charm for 39-year-old challenger." Tamara by decision.
WBC heavyweight title -- Gelsenkirchen, Germany
Vitali Klitschko (champion) vs. Albert Sosnowski (No. 11 contender)
Klitschko (39-2, 37 KO): Fourth title defense of second WBC reign; Twelfth title fight (9-2, 8 KO)
Sosnowski (45-2-1, 27 KO): First title fight; Second fight in Germany (0-0-1, 0 KO)
Fitzbitz says: "If this one's still going in the fifth, Vitali has slipped badly." Klitschko in 3.
WBO junior featherweight title -- Bayamon, Puerto Rico
Wilfredo Vazquez Jr. (champion) vs. Zsolt Bedak (No. 1 contender)
Vazquez (18-0-1, 15 KO): First title defense; Third fight in Puerto Rico (2-0, 2 KO)
Bedak (15-0, 5 KO): First title fight; First fight outside Europe
Fitzbitz says: "Emerging champ on home turf too tall a task for Bedak." Vazquez by decision.
WBO junior lightweight title -- Bayamon, Puerto Rico
Roman Martinez (champion) vs. Gonzalo Munguia (No. 10 contender)
Martinez (23-0-1, 14 KO): Second title defense; Sixteenth fight in Puerto Rico (15-0, 8 KO)
Munguia (17-6-3, 13 KO): First title fight; First fight in Puerto Rico
Fitzbitz says: "Munguia has the better nickname (El Destructor), but little else." Martinez in 10.
Last week's picks: 2-0
Overall picks record: 197-69 (73.8 percent)
Lyle Fitzsimmons is an award-winning 21-year sports journalist, a full voting member of the Boxing Writers Association of America and a frequent contributor to sports radio talk shows throughout the U.S. E-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org, follow him at twitter.com/fitzbitz and read more at fitzbitzonfights.wordpress.com.