Showdown in Hamburg: Klitschko vs. Pulev

By Robert Ecksel on November 14, 2014
Showdown in Hamburg: Klitschko vs. Pulev
Unless something unforeseen happens in Hamburg, I see the fight going the distance.

Wladimir Klitschko may be too good for his own good, but considering the alternatives, that ain’t bad…

Wladimir Klitschko is a victim of his own success.

Since losing to Corrie Sanders and Lamon Brewster in 2003 and 2004, the formidable Dr. Steelhammer has gone undefeated, winning 20 fights in a row, with 16 of those wins coming by way of knockout.

Klitschko has his detractors and rightfully so, but he has ducked no one (sorry Shannon, you don’t count), is always in shape, fights smart and doesn’t talk smack.

No wonder he’s unpopular on this side of the pond.

But as pretenders to the throne have come and gone, usually on their shield, people are reassessing the heavyweight king. His safety-first style doesn’t make for exciting fights. The dearth of competition has hurt rather than helped. But Klitschko does what he’s supposed to do, with the efficiency of an executioner, and has the good sense not to crow about it afterward.

On Saturday, Nov. 16, 2014, at the O2 World Arena in Hamburg, Germany, the 38-year-old Klitschko (62-3, 53 KOs) puts his many belts on the line against undefeated Bulgarian Kubrat Pulev (20-0, 11 KOs). It will be Klitschko’s 17th consecutive heavyweight defense. He now ranks third behind Joe Louis, who had 25, and Larry Holmes, who is holding steady at 20.

One day Klitschko will be beaten. Some believe Pulev might be the man to pull it off. He’s five years younger than the champ and at 6′4½″, he measures up well against the 6’6” Ukrainian. Pulev also has a distinguished amateur pedigree. He can box as well as punch and is the European heavyweight champion.

“I believe that I am in the right place at the right time to end the reign of Klitschko,” Pulev told RingTV.com. “Inside the ring it is all about what I can do and do better than him. Actually, I think that footwork will be a deciding factor but you have to wait to see it yourself. One thing that is for sure is that Klitschko will not be able to impose his physique on me.”

Size matters, but Pulev is at a disadvantage when it comes to experience and quality of opposition. He decisioned Tony Thompson in the summer of 2013, a victory that paved the way for Saturday’s showdown. But that was the same Tony Thompson that Klitschko fought twice, in 2008 and 2012, and KO’d both times.

Pulev did stop Alexanders Dimitrenko and Ustinov in 2012, two other Eastern European giants with title aspirations. But the majority of his wins are over the likes of Derric Rossy, Travis Walker, Michael Sprott, Joey Abell, and 20-23 Ivica Perkovic in his last fight.

If that’s adequate preparation for defeating Wladimir Klitschko, I’ll be a monkey’s uncle.

“I think that he is a very good fighter,” Klitschko said. “He’s aggressive and he has been winning all of the fights, maybe not by knockout, his KO percentage is not as high, but he was very dominant in all the fights. I think he’s going to give me a strong challenge.”

If Pulev can get past Klitschko’s jab and reach his questionable chin, we might see the title change hands. But expect Dr. Steelhammer to be as disciplined, as focused as usual, fighting while aware of his weaknesses as well as his strengths.

Unless something unforeseen happens, I see the fight going the distance, with Klitschko being declared winner by unanimous decision.

Klitschko may be too good for his own good, but considering the alternatives, that ain’t bad.

Wladimir Klitschko vs. Kubrat Pulev will be televised live on HBO Saturday afternoon at 4:45 PM ET/PT.

Follow us on Twitter@boxing_com to continue the discussion

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  1. Darrell 09:45pm, 11/14/2014

    This will be a good one!  For mine, Pulev is probably the best out there after the champ himself, a notch above Povetkin, Fury and Haye.

    Pulev should test the champ.  He is good enough to bring the fight to Klitschko but in the end that caber like jab of Klitschko should tell the difference as the fight progresses.  He will certainly put out a better fight than Povetkin did.  A late round stoppage for Wlad.

  2. Koolz 04:56pm, 11/14/2014

    Eric I thought that Fador made it popular when he let people know how he trains for fights in Pride.

    Before that I thought that is was sort of a off hand thing that wasn’t super popular in training camps? 

    I don’t remember the UFC of Old with Tank Abbott all those guys doing that sort of training, back when Garcia’s were ruling the party till a Certain Japanese Fighter beat them all.

    We could go way back to my Ancestors the Vikings and the great competition of throwing Trees!  Still done today even!

  3. Eric 03:19pm, 11/14/2014

    Koolz…Actually Rocky Marciano was hitting tires (with a baseball bat, and not a hammer) years ago, and after him, it was practiced by Ray Mancini.  Mancini and fighters after him also “borrowed” the throwing punches in shoulder high water from the Rock also. I know countless athletes and just people wanting to get into shape who hit a tire with a sledge (not just MMA or boxers) but I’ve never seen a Indian club used. Probably easier on the wrists, and the circular motion probably works the core far more. And we all know that the old-timers opted for chopping trees instead, which is similar to the sledgehammer drill, probably better IMO.

  4. Koolz 02:47pm, 11/14/2014

    Briggs pasting himself on the window outside the event Just WHAHAHA!  The guy is either genius at getting exposure or has been hit in the head a few times to many.
    Really are there any Heavy Weights that could beat Wlad? 
    I don’t see any, any where.
    Problem with Pulev is he lacks power in his jab and he starts off way to slow.  Is he going to last past the 4th round?
    He has some damn good movement but just has no power.  Does he really have anything that can trouble Wlad?
    Eric hitting a Hammer on a tire is an Old Martial Arts Training trick, same with toppling over a huge tire. 
    It became really popular with Fedor.

  5. nicolas 11:03am, 11/14/2014

    If Wlad next year were to defend against the winner of Fury-Chisora, or Deontay Wilder, I think there will be great interest in the division. Wlad is also not getting any younger. Could 2015 spell the end of the second longest reign in heavyweight history, and longest reigning champion now?

  6. nicolas 10:59am, 11/14/2014

    Of all the four organizations Pulev is only ranked number one by the IBF. If Wlad loses I think the other organizations would rank Pulev as world champion, but would probably force him to defend against who ever they have at number one. I myself however don’t see Pulev as having much of a chance to win. I see Wlad winning a rather lopsided decision.

  7. Irish Frankie Crawford Beat Saijo aka Saijo 10:57am, 11/14/2014

    “Shannon” trying to jump the line ahead of contenders who have earned their place in line like the POS that he is….maybe Obama can include him in his illegal executive action that will leap frog 5,000,000 illegal aliens to the front of the line ahead of those who have waited patiently for their legal petitions for naturalization to be approved.

  8. Cus 10:42am, 11/14/2014

    Wlad didn’t put all his belts in line only IBF.

  9. Eric 07:59am, 11/14/2014

    Never seen anyone use an Indian/Persian club to hit the tire. Interesting exercise, and impressive display by Pulev. Looks like a useful exercise for boxers, good video. The guy looks like “muscle” for the Russian mafia, maybe he uses this club display for teaching purposes. teehee.

  10. BK Don 07:50am, 11/14/2014

    Is this Shannon the writer mentions Shannon Doherty? Are people accusing Wlad of ducking her? Could she be pregnant w/his love child? Did he cheat on Hayden w/her? All of this is so much more interesting to talk about, even though it’s completely false, then is a Wlad v Pulev matchup. It’s just hard to care. Now, if he does fight a Tyson Fury next, i’ll be checking for that one, even though Fury is prob isn’t good enough to last 5 rds.

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