Bulgarian brute Kubrat Pulev has the best chance in many years of dethroning the long-reigning champion
He’s the unequivocal King of Boxing. Formerly in a joint dictatorship with brother Vitali, Wladimir Klitschko now stands alone, overseeing and controlling the heavyweight division. Even boxing’s all-time greats, Muhammad Ali and Mike Tyson, don’t even come close to the level of dominance that Dr. Steelhammer has had.
The champ is about to step into the ring for the 17th successive defence of his World Title, having spent nineyears at the very top of the Heavyweight division with 83% of his wins coming by KO.
But for so many, the name Wladimir Klitschko still doesn’t resound amongst the very best.
Questions surround the Ukrainian. Does he avoid the big punchers? Is he happy just to cash in and take the easy bouts?
The word comfortable is often associated with Klitschko. He’s happy fighting in Germany in front of his beloved Hamburg fans, boxing shorter fighters who he can bully and outclass from long range.
But, if one thing’s for sure, it’s that we’ll get some answers to those questions this weekend.
Kubrat Pulev is undefeated. A former Olympian, standing at 6ft 4 inches and has beaten some top heavyweight names in the form of Alexander Ustinov and Tony Thompson. He’s certainly the legitimate no.1 contender.
By now, we all know the array of skills that the champion possesses. He’s awkward, big, smart, powerful and has what’s probably one of the best jabs of all time. It’s a monster of a punch. It’s the reason that the 38-year-old has never been beaten on points and it’s a rarity for him even to lose a round in most fights. Ultimately, to win this fight, Pulev’s going to have to nullify that jab.
The challenger is known for having good timing and he’s going to get a feel early on for the Steelhammer’s deadly straight jab and try to disrupt it by throwing his own jab first.
The Bulgarian will also have to use his size. Pulev only concedes two inches in height and 1 inch in reach to the champion, so if he can start to physically impose himself on Klitschko, he’ll be able to halt the rhythm of the jab and open opportunities to go on the offensive.
Whilst holding respectable power at heavyweight, the 33-year-old has only KO’d 11 of his 20 opponents so far and I can’t see him being able to produce one big punch to stop the Ukrainian.
With a knockout looking unlikely for either fighter, this contest could come down to experience and technical ability. Klitschko edges it on both counts so looks a great bet to win on points at 2/1.