Hamburg Heaven: Klitschko Pulverizes Pulev

By Gordon Marino on November 15, 2014
Hamburg Heaven: Klitschko Pulverizes Pulev
Brother Vitali literally high jumped into the ring to embrace Wladimir. (Frank Augstein/AP)

While Floyd Mayweather is the universally recognized pound-for-pound king, Klitschko has dominated his division like no other fighter in this era…

Wladimir Klitschko (63-3-0, 53 knockouts) made his 17th consecutive successful title defense tonight, knocking out previously undefeated Kubrat Pulev (20-1-0, 11 knockouts) at 2:11 of the 5th round. The contest took place before a sold-out crowd at the O2 Arena in Hamburg, Germany.

Pulev, the IBF and RING MAGAZINE number one contender, tried valiantly to make a fight of it. He did not take a backward step and for moments during the fight would go jab for jab with Klitschko. But in the first frame, the champion leaned in low to his right and detonated a left hook that sent “The Cobra” across the ring and down. A few seconds later, Pulev was stretched out again but once more, he made it through the round and bravely soldiered on. Dr. Steelhammer scored another knockdown with a smashing right hand lead in the third stanza but his resolute rival remained in the fight.

Klitschko often drops his left. After the 3rd round, Pulev’s corner prodded him to start letting his right hand fly. He did and with some success. In the fifth, Pulev clipped Klitschko with a right that was one of the best punches anyone has landed in years against the Ukrainian champ; however, seconds later Klitschko came back with the same delivery and punch that he launched in the first round and it was the black lights for Pulev.

Though a headhunter, Klitschko’s repertoire was a little wider tonight than usual. He speared Pulev with jabs to the body and at one point lammed him with a straight right to the gut. Klitschko often works a short hook off the jab to set up his right but against Pulev, it was a wider left hook and one intended to work on its own. Klitschko bounced in and out tonight but did not show his usual lateral movement.

In the last year of their work together, Emanuel Steward was pushing Wladimir to stop waiting and jump on his opponents when they are rattled. While Klitschko hesitated after hurting his man early in the fight, he certainly took that punching leap of faith in the 5th round.

When the end came, brother Vitali, the mayor of Kiev, literally high jumped into the ring to embrace Wladimir, who was wrapped in a Ukrainian flag.

Pulev’s ability to dial in the right hand might be cause for hope for someone like Deontay Wilder, but then again, Klitschko’s ability to put solid chinned opponents to sleep with one punch, from either hand and from outside as well as inside, should give Wilder or anyone else pause.

In the eighth year of his reign, Klitschko is now third on the list of consecutive successful title defenses (Joe Louis had 25 and Larry Holmes 20). While Floyd Mayweather is the universally recognized pound-for-pound king, Klitschko has dominated his division like no other fighter in this era.

A professor of philosophy at St. Olaf College, Gordon Marino writes on boxing for the Wall Street Journal. He is on the board and works with boxers at the Circle of Discipline in Minneapolis, as well as at the Basement Gym in Northfield, MN. His The Quotable Kierkegaard was recently published by Princeton University Press. You can follow him on Twitter at @GordonMarino.

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Wladimir Klitschko vs Kubrat Pulev KO Full Fight



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  1. David Matthew 12:13pm, 12/04/2014

    Wladimir is making Manny Steward very proud.  ATG.

  2. Gordon 07:11am, 11/19/2014

    Matt, Ring has him at 3—below Ward. What has Andre done the last couple of years to warrant being ahead of Wlad? I suppose p4p ratings are a little like fantasy fball—but I would be comfortable with Wlad at 2. Thanks for your comment.

  3. Matt McGrain 02:55am, 11/19/2014

    How much higher do you think he should be, Gordon?  He’s currently #3 on The Ring list and #5 on the TBRB.  I personally have him at #4.

  4. Leigh 07:46am, 11/18/2014

    Maybe if you was to ask Hopkins that question his reply might be along the lines of “it’s because he’s white”?

  5. Gordon 02:36pm, 11/17/2014

    I don’t understand why the big guy is not ranked higher in the p4p list - what does he have to do?

  6. Gordon 07:13pm, 11/16/2014

    It is not a bad idea to keep your left high against Wlad. I thought he was able to counter jab WK for a while. His lack of lateral movement and inability to find punching angles when WK came in didn’t help - but Wlad’s footwork is superb for a big guy. He works on it all the time.

  7. Kid Blast 07:08pm, 11/16/2014

    And the way Pulev was waving his left hand made no sense whatsoever and Banks knew this.

  8. marino@stolaf.edu 03:16pm, 11/16/2014

    Good observation Kid Blast. The way Wlad threw it with a dip to the right but him out of harm’s way of a counter.

  9. Kid Blast 03:04pm, 11/16/2014

    Banks deserves a lot of credit for spotting Pulev’s vulnerability to the left hook.

  10. Gordon 01:17pm, 11/16/2014

    I agree Tex. Too bad Lennox is not around. Love to have seen them fight. Or Riddick Bowe.

  11. Gordon 01:13pm, 11/16/2014

    Just got a short email from Wlad saying he hated those clinches and the rabbit punches but was not about to back up against that %^(*

  12. Tex Hassler 01:08pm, 11/16/2014

    Wald is short on real competition and that is not his fault.

  13. Gordon 12:29am, 11/16/2014

    Darrell, I agree. Pulev was determined not too back straight out and he didn’t. He didn’t let Wlad tie him up but banged away with the free hand, albeit with plenty of rabbit punches. Also, got up from those knockdowns and not only tried to survive but tried to win.

  14. Eric 10:25pm, 11/15/2014

    Nice display of punching power. Wlad is 3rd in consecutive title defenses but he is only 3 shy of Louis’s total title defenses with 22. This should be receiving the kind of attention that Holmes received when he was chasing Marciano’s record. Both brothers have cemented a claim as ATGs in my book, the only question is which Klit brother should be ranked higher.

  15. Gordon 08:39pm, 11/15/2014

    Emanuel really wanted him to jump on guys after he lands a big shot and he didn’t quite do that with those first knockdowns. Also, when he had him on the ropes he didn’t keep that cushion of space. But an exciting A performance. I love the love between those two bros two—fantastic people.

  16. Pete The Sneak 07:03pm, 11/15/2014

    Wlad was Bouncing on his toes, good to see a heavyweight not fight like a heavyweight…Wlad is a bad ass…Props to Pulev, who showed some tremendous cojones and tried to take it the fight to Wladdy…Still, you can see the Emanuel Steward effect on Wlad when after connecting, he helps the opponent go down by pushing him…Lennox Lewis learned that as well….Only downside of this fight was that they actually gave Shannon Briggs some honorable mention and face time…Peace.

  17. Darrell 06:29pm, 11/15/2014

    Pulev is no pushover, he attempted to bring the fight to the champ unlike a hell of a lot of other challengers but WOW, booming left hooks…...Wlad is definitely an ATG.

  18. Koolz 05:55pm, 11/15/2014

    That was something!  I mean Wlad was moving and moving and wow it was something.  One of the Best Left Hooks!

  19. Irish Frankie Crawford Beat Saijo aka Gimpel 05:13pm, 11/15/2014

    The best fist fighter on planet Earth…..P4P is so much politically correct horseshit which has been hyped off the charts during the Klitschko era due primarily to the K Bros lack of melanin.

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