Canales Daily: Boxer Klitschko On Hand For Beckham's Red

Though they lost the match versus the Seattle Sounders, Ukranian boxer Vitali Klitschko watched the LA Galaxy get scrappy in a match featuring three red cards.
By Andrea Canales

Perhaps the air was charged that night with a battlefield mentality.

In the aftermath of David Beckham's sending off, Galaxy hard man Dema Kovalenko joked in the locker room, "David was trying to be me!"

Kovalenko is famous for his tough tackles, and infamous for a few, including ones that resulted in broken legs for Brandon Pollard and Ronnie O'Brien years ago.

But perhaps Beckham's fighting nature was inspired by another athlete all together.

In attendance at the match as a guest of the Galaxy was World Boxing Council heavyweight champion Vitali Klitschko. The fighter, a Ukranian like Kovalenko, has an upcoming bout versus Mexican heavyweight Cristobal Arreola.

"It's a world title fight and a big challenge for my next opponent - for Chris Arrreola," Klitschko told "He's a Mexican, he's a tough fighter. He's undefeated, a great fight record. It's not an easy task, but I will give my best to keep my title and to win the fight."

Despite his love of chess and his doctoral degree from a Ukranian university, when Klitschko's 6 foot, eight inches of powerful muscle stood in the hallway of the soccer stadium, all one could think of was his intimidating physical presence.

Klitschko admitted that he did, in fact, play soccer in his youth.

"Defense," Klitschko specified, then cracked a smile as others laughed, imagining what a nightmare he would likely have been for opposing forwards.

Now Klitschko follows the sport as a fan, though he wouldn't say if he has a particular favorite player.

"I have so many friends who play soccer - to say who is my favorite or not - it's hard," Klitschko explained. "At different times, it's different players."

He was more forthcoming about his favorite teams, admitting a soft spot for a particular one from his homeland.

"Dynamo Kiev I support very much and I know a lot of the players," said Klitschko.

However, Klitschko was very international in his taste for the sport.

"In Germany, (I support) St. Pauli and Bayern Munich - Barcelona in Spain," Klitschko stated. "Here, I support the Galaxy because I have so many friends here. I like soccer very much."

Kovalenko was clearly an admirer in turn of the boxer, though at over a foot shorter than the boxer, he looked small and insignificant beside Klitschko.

On the other hand, not even Ian Feuer, the Galaxy goalkeeping coach noted for being the tallest player to ever play for the US Men's National Team. could look down on Klitschko in matters of height, let alone girth and strength.

The one Galaxy player who could surpass Klitschko, in terms of high profile, was the one who logged less than 20 minutes against the Seattle Sounders.

"Beckham is a world-class athlete," said Klitschko. "That's why people support him."

The Galaxy, however, will be missing both Beckham and Eddie Lewis, in their upcoming Wednesday match versus Chicago because of their red cards. Next time, the midfielders might be better off leaving the battles to the tough guys.

Andrea Canales is Chief Editor of North America

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