How Klitschko Can Beat Fury

By Gordon Marino on March 3, 2016
How Klitschko Can Beat Fury
Klitschko is now as single-minded as Captain Ahab about avenging that defeat. (Getty)

Dr. Steelhammer can’t let his worries about being caught by a big punch inhibit his fine art of destruction. He has to let his worries and his hands go…

After a decade long winning streak, Wladimir Klitschko was not accustomed to seeing the other guy’s hand raised. But in November, the dancing bear of Tyson Fury hypnotized and bedazzled the seemingly indomitable Ukrainian. 

Klitschko is now as single-minded as Captain Ahab about avenging that defeat. But he is going to have to change both his mindset and his strategy.  When Pacquiao fought Mayweather his punch output was about half of what it usually is. In losing the title, Klitschko followed Manny’s sleepy lead. In total, Wlad launched a paltry 231 punches—the vast majority of which were jabs. This was miles below his usual levels of offensive productivity.

In the rematch, the prescription for victory for Dr. Steelhammer is this: he can’t let his worries about being caught by a big punch inhibit his fine art of destruction. Wlad has to let his worries and his hands go. 

Here are other five other aspects of his gloved game that Klitschko needs to work on to reclaiming his belts and repairing his legacy:

1. In their less than furious November battle, Fury and Klitschko spent as much time grappling as they did boxing. Teddy Atlas has often claimed, and with some reason, that in those situations combatants are making a tacit agreement to take a break. I’ll stop punching if you’ll stop punching. Klitschko can’t afford to make that agreement in the rematch. Inside, he has to work to the body and in order to do that, he has to bend his knees. You can’t punch effectively when your legs are locked.

2. George Foreman once told me that Wladimir Klitschko has the best right hand that he has seen since, well, George Foreman. But against Fury, that mighty right was largely left on the shelf. Part of the reason was that Fury kept throwing wide almost slapping left hooks. Klitschko picked those looping shots off with his right but failed to counter. Catching that hook, Wlad needs to counter with his right. But either way, he can’t let Fury’s less than Frazier-like hooks make him hesitant to ignite that right.

3. On the inside and just as Dr. Steelhammer was about to throw his right, Fury would frequently bend way over to his right. When he does that Klitschko, should either slide left and deploy his rarely used left uppercut, or pivot right and bang a right to the body. 

4. Almost too obvious to mention, If Fury is going to bounce around in a slow motion imitation of Ali, Klitschko needs to spear him to the body with jabs and straight rights.

5. Most importantly and most difficult to change, Klitschko has to punch when Fury is punching. When Fury leapt in with a flurry, Wlad would pull back. After the onslaught, Klitschko would spring forward and go on the tentative attack. In the rematch, Klitschko needs a more seamless transition between offense and defense. He has to interrupt Fury’s fusillades.

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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  1. Koolz 05:41am, 03/06/2016

    robyn bunting

    Because Wlad fights by setting up Jab as range finder, a way to confuse his opponents, and set up the right.

    He will keep himself out of harms way with that jab.

    Fury is so fast and has such good movement that he makes Wlad not be able to set and be in danger of getting his clean.

  2. robyn bunting 09:04am, 03/05/2016

    but why is wlad afraid of furys power when he has dominated far harder hitters?

  3. Koolz 12:53pm, 03/04/2016

    sorry I give Wlad zero chance against Fury in this rematch.
    I also gave him no chance when he first fought Fury.

    Wlad might even get KO’d by Fury. 

    The guy is going to have to actually engage with Fury and Fury is fast for a Heavy Weight.
    Wlad will have to over come the mental block of losing his belts, of not engaging in the first fight, and other outside the ring problems.
    The guy should sit in his own space and meditate on his fists.  The mind is his fists, the mind is his movement.


  4. AkT 10:56am, 03/04/2016

    Wladimir will really need to take chances. For someone so used to tentative fighting, reverting to a style so foreign might get him knocked out. Leopards rarely lose their spots. Or is that never?

    Smart money is on Fury 10 times out of 10. Now if it were in-shape Vitali .. totally different story.

  5. Marco Droopio 07:42am, 03/04/2016

    Wlad has small hands.

  6. Mike Silver 11:32pm, 03/03/2016

    Really, who cares after that miserable non-fight?  You could not pay me to see these two oversized bums “fight” again. Klitschko is too old and his overly muscled body has begun to calcify. Of course, even then, he can beat the other bum by just throwing more punches. That’s all he has to do and the other guy will run out of the ring.

  7. peter 06:34pm, 03/03/2016

    Once you lose the fire in your gut, you’re through.

  8. Darrell 03:11pm, 03/03/2016

    Good analysis.  I’m hoping Klit can overcome his cautiousness, he can punch waaay harder than Fury…..I hope we see it.

    You do realize Mayweather would move, even just a step, when Pacquiao would set himself to punch.  Fury, in a cruder manner, did much the same thing.  Klit really has to bring it, and get his arsenal off first.

  9. Don from Prov 07:54am, 03/03/2016

    Good write-up / analysis—

    Mindset is a tough thing to change and if Klit can’t do it for at least one fight, he very well may lose again.  I imagine that Fury could hurt Wlad, really most anyone could, but I doubt that in a shoot-out he wins.
    I hope that Wlad is willing to take some chances.

  10. Ivan Drago 05:47am, 03/03/2016

    You vill lose.

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