What Type of Fighter Can Defeat the Klitschko Brothers?
There is no question that the Klitschko Brothers are the two dominate fighters in a weak heavyweight era. In a two part series, Pro Boxing Fans identifies what type of fighter matches up well with the Klitschko’s and explores the technical side to devising a strategy for defeating each of the Ukrainian giants. (See part I: How to Beat a Klitschko: Vitali)
Record: 53-3, 47 KOs
Height: 6’6 ½’’
Notable Wins: Chris Byrd (twice), Samuel Peter, Calvin Brock, Lamon Brewster, Sultan Ibragimov, Hasim Rahman, Ruslan Chagaev
The “hardcore” boxing fan would know as well as I do that Wladimir’s fighting style has morphed over the years, from a somewhat exciting style to the boring style equivalent to former champion Lennix Lewis. Why has this change occurred? Well, the fighting style shared by both fighters can be traced back to one man, Emanuel Steward. Under the tutelage of legendary trainer Emanuel Steward, Klitschko has learned to use his unprecedented combination of size, speed and athleticism to develop a simple, but highly effective fighting style.
The 6’6 ½’’ 245lb heavyweight uses the top jab among the current heavyweights to control his opponents and set up thunderous straight-right hands and sneaky, but powerful left hook. “Foot speed… He can move in, explode, move out, move back in, explode, and I’ve never seen anyone that could…move in and out and be in perfect balance,” Emanuel Steward explained.
Again, similar to Lennox, Wladimir chooses to methodically break down his opponents while using underrated footwork and defensive skills to control ring generalship and stay away from the heavy hands of his challengers. Wladimir is able to use footwork to keep his opponents at the end of his powerful punches and mitigate the scoring opportunities of fighters when they press forward by using effective, but underrated side stepping techniques that Emanuel Steward also taught to his brother, Vitali, and Lennix Lewis.
Below is a break down of Wladimir’s strengths and weaknesses:
Strength: experience, ring generalship, jab, punching power and repertoire
Underestimated Strengths: footwork, technique
Weaknesses: Stamina, chin and exposed body
How to beat Wladimir Klitschko
The fight plan to defeat Wladimir Klitschko has already been discovered. To date, Klitschko has yet to prove that he can win a bout fighting outside of his comfort zone. Wladimir lives and dies by throwing a highly effective jab, powerful straight right and a sneaky left hook, all while conserving energy. If a fighter is going to defeat Wladimir, he will have to apply consistent pressure, pushing Wladimir back and he will need to have the power to score damaging blows when given the chance.
In order to consistently score against Wladimir, a fighter will need the technical skills to close the gap and the strength to stop Wladimir from side-stepping, clenching or pushing his opponents away. The aforementioned skill set could put a fighter within striking range to take advantage for Wladimir’s weakness of not being able to fight going backwards, his habit of dropping his hands and being open for a big punch, being taken out of his game plan and suspect conditioning.
Also, the champion has a glaring weakness of allowing his body to be exposed. To date, the only fighter that attacked the body was Calvin Brock, who was leading the fight on all score cards before being knocked out. Wladimir’s technical skills, power punching, impressive physical presence and methodical way of breaking down opponents is evident when comparing him to today’s top heavyweights; however, merely a big heart and punch could lead to a victory against the Ukrainian on any given Saturday night.
Below is a list of more commonly known fighters (new and old) and how they stack up against Wladimir. These lists are certainly up for debate, but keep in mind it is assumed that Wladimir is being compared to each fighter in their prime and the long-standing point that “styles make fights” comes into serious play:
Fighters that would defeat Wladimir:
Muhammad Ali, George Forman, Joe Louis, Joe Frazier, Mike Tyson, Riddick Bowe, Evander Holyfield, Vitali Klitschko
Fighters that are even with Wladimir:
Larry Holmes, Lennox Lewis
Fighters that could upset Wladimir:
Floyd Patterson, Max Schmeling, David Haye
Do any of today’s heavyweights have what it takes to follow the blueprint to topple Wlad? The next year or two will reveal whether the likes of Eddie Chambers or Alexander Povetkin has what it takes.
Image Credit: Pavel Terekhov