In the shadows of the tragic and untimely death of legendary trainer Emmanuel Steward in mid-October, any certainty behind yet another Wladimir Klitschko methodical title defense has suddenly been thrown in to disarray. Steward’s positive impact on Klitschko’s meteoric rise to boxing’s elite over the past eight years is undeniable and the void left by his passing—both on the industry and the champ—is massive.
In Wach, Klitschko is presented with the proverbial “someone his own size” that critics have been calling for. Wach is a big, lumbering heavyweight with an explosive right hand, which has allowed Wach to cruise his way to a 27-0 record against largely mediocre to poor opposition. Of course, he’s never faced anyone close to the skill and experience of big Wlad.
- When: November 10, 2012
- Where: World Arena, Altona, Hamburg, Germany
- See It On: EPIX
The Pugs and The Prize
|Wladimir “Dr. Steelhammer” Klitschko
||Mariusz “The Viking” Wach
Klitschko’s bounty of championship belts will be on the line in this fight.
Klitschko vs. Wach – The Analysis
Klitschko-Wach is fraught with potential downfalls for both men.
- Can Wach out-duel Klitschko and take advantage of the whirlwind of humanity surrounding the champ to pull off a huge upset?
- At 36, should we really believe that the loss of Steward is so tremendously detrimental to Klitschko as to render him unusually vulnerable heading into this fight?
- Can Wlad’s suspect chin stand up to the pure punching power of Wach who may, or may not, be able to avoid Wlad’s jab and get within a zip code of Klitschko?
What would have seemed like a largely foregone conclusion has now become a darn interesting fight.
In the ring, Wach is going to have to look to open up Klitschko’s left side in order to leave his greatest asset—that booming right hand—at his disposal. Wach will look to temper his approach in the early rounds, while being mindful of the fact that at any moment his backside could be meeting the canvas.
Look for Wach to go heavy with left hooks and jabs early on. The thought being that given Wlad’s style of waiting an opponent out, Wach may be able to allow the champ to lull somewhat while setting him up for a concerted right hand attack when an opening is presented. If Wach attempts to come out of the corner in round one and dictate the fight, the night may be quicker than expected.
There’s really no reason to believe that Klitschko will stray from that which has made him so successful over the years. He will create space with his jab and look to throw the overhand right when available. He’s a brilliant opportunist who is well aware of what works for him and what might be considered a liability.
He’ll protect as needed, but very few fighters are able to get through his initial line of defense to make significant headway with body shots. With a new coach in his corner—active heavyweight and sparring partner Jonathon Banks—we fully expect a classic Klitschko contest, in spite of the distractions.
What will be interesting to watch—and, actually could influence the fight—is how Banks handles his fighter in the corner between rounds if Wach is able to steal points or, possibly, rounds.
Klitschko vs. Wach Prediction
Wach will struggle early with controlling his tempo and budgeting his energy in the biggest fight of the 32-year-old’s career, and understandably so. A win over Klitschko elevates the largely unknown bruiser to a level few see him reaching. Expect him to stick to the game plan worked out with his corner at all costs.
If the plan is to focus on Wlad’s right side in the hopes of using misdirection to open up the left-side view of his chin, then that’s exactly what he’ll do. If there are thoughts of somehow allowing punishment to work his way inside, that’s what you’ll see. Will that approach guarantee success? Not necessarily. But, rest assured, the first sign of freelancing by the challenger will be met with requisite force by the champ.
Klitschko is smart and talented enough to have a reasonably sound idea of what Wach is going to throw at him in this fight and, no doubt, has prepared accordingly. He’s going to keep the action on the outside with an obscene amount of damaging jabs and large, sweeping right hands.
He won’t be in any great rush to knockout Wach, but will not hesitate to go down that road if, and when, Wach makes it available. The absence of Steward, while heartbreaking, will not cost Klitschko this fight.
People either really, really think Wach can pull this off or really, really think that those who believe the former have taken one punch too many. As with any fight involving a clear underdog and clear favorite, it’s very fashionable to pick the dog and hope you’re among those lauded as geniuses when the fight ends.
Then, there are times where the favorite does what he’s supposed to do: win. This is one of those times.
Prediction: Klitschko via fifth round KO