Wladimir Klitschko vs. Ray Mercer
Wladimir Klitschko 243 lbs beat Ray Mercer 228 lbs by TKO at 1:08 in round 6 of 12
- Date: 2002-06-29
- Location: Taj Majal Hotel & Casino, Atlantic City, New Jersey, USA
- Referee: Randy Neumann
- Judge: Ed Leahy
- Judge: Adalaide Byrd
- Judge: Nelson Vazquez
- World Boxing Organization Heavyweight Title (4th defense by Klitschko)
Klitschko dominant in TKO victory over Mercer
Dan Rafael, USA Today, June 30, 2002
ATLANTIC CITY, N.J. — Perhaps Wladimir Klitschko gave heavyweight champion Lennox Lewis something to think about.
Klitschko, campaigning for a shot at Lewis, continued to make the case that he deserves an opportunity as he battered Ray Mercer to a pulp en route to a sixth-round TKO at the Trump Taj Mahal's Mark G. Etess Arena on Saturday night.
Klitschko (No. 2 USA TODAY, 39-1, 36 KOs) became the first fighter to stop Mercer (30-5-1) and just the second to knock him down. He dominated Mercer from the outset and finished having landed 193 of 429 blows (45%), while Mercer managed to land just 54 of 124 shots (44%).
"I showed I have heart, which people have questioned," said Klitschko, a 1996 Olympic gold medalist for Ukraine. "I am a fighter. Hopefully, Lewis or (Evander) Holyfield are next. I wanted to show how good I am and I proved that I am ready for the big fights."
Klitschko, at 6-foot-6, 243 pounds, had a huge physical advantage against the 6-1, 228-pound Mercer and he used it.
Klitschko, who earned $1.2 million in his first HBO main event, started quickly, using his jab to take control in the opening moments of the fight and then floored Mercer with two strong left hooks with about 20 seconds left in the round.
"I stayed calm because I knew he would come back," Klitschko said.
It was only the second time in his career that Mercer had been down, the first coming in a 1995 points loss to Holyfield. Klitschko's opening round assault resulted in him landing 41 of 88 punches.
In the second round, Klitschko continued pumping his jab and Mercer's swollen eyes showed that many of them landed. Midway through the round, Klitschko landed a right hand that buckled Mercer and sent him looking for refuge along the ropes. Mercer just held his hands up to try to keep Klitschko from hitting him.
Klitschko opened a bad cut over Mercer's right eye in the fifth round and by the end of it, blood had covered Mercer's chest.
By the sixth round, every shot seemed to hurt Mercer, who wasn't punching back. Klitschko, 26, knew it and poured it on, landing 31 of 46 shots until referee Randy Neumann stopped it with Mercer taking a beating along the ropes at 1:08.
"He has the strongest chin of anyone I have ever faced," said Klitschko, who did have some bruising under his left eye from Mercer's jab. "He might have the strongest chin in the world."
"I got beat fair and square. You can't win them all," said Mercer, who earned $650,000. "I beat the (hell) out of many people myself. He caught me with a big punch in the first round and I never regrouped. I'm 41 years old and if he wants to claim a big victory, let him. But I'm not finished." 
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