Freak show or marquee bout?

Conrad M. Cariño

Conrad M. Cariño

ON November 23, two behemoths in Wladimir Klitschko and Tyson Fury will square off for four world heavyweight titles in what could be one of the most awaited clashes in the division.

The fight should have taken place on October 25 but Klitschko sustained a calf injury that pushed the bout to November 23. But now it’s all systems go for the bout dubbed “Collision Course.”

When it comes to the two fighters’ physical stature, the bout can really be called a collision course literally, because Klitschko (64-3 with 53 knockouts) stands 6’6” and weighs 240 to 245 pounds while Fury (24-0 with 18 KOs) the challenger is 6’9” and tips the scales between 250 and 260 pounds.

But while they both qualify as really large heavyweights, Klitschko and Fury are like day and night, with the champion from Ukraine nearing 40 years old and the challenger from the United Kingdom only 27 years old. Klitschko has already racked up 18 title defenses and stopped or knocked out 53 opponents, while Fury will be fighting only his 25th bout when he enters the ring against the Ukrainian.

While Fury is undefeated, he has been dropped twice by mediocre opposition or by former cruiserweight (200 pounds) champion Steve Cunningham in the second round on April 2013 and by heavyweight contender Nevin Pajkic on November 2011 also in the second round.

Klitschko has had his share of knockdowns and his three losses were all by stoppages: Ross Purity in the 11th round on December 1998; Corrie Sanders in the second round on March 2003; and former heavyweight title holder Lamon Brewster in the fifth round on April 2004.

Now the holder of the World Boxing Association Super World Heavyweight Championship, and the World Boxing Organization, International Boxing Organization and International Boxing Federation heavyweight titles, Klitschko has never been dropped since the Brewster fight or for more than 11 years now. Also, Klitschko would stop Brewster in the fifth round on July 2007.

Klitschko is No. 6 in The Ring Pound-for-Pound rankings.

Looking at the records of both fighters, it would be easy to conclude Klitschko will likely have a picnic on November 27. But the size of Fury cannot be ignored because he will be the biggest boxer Klitschko will ever face.

A potential 15-pound weight advantage, three-inch height advantage and four-inch reach advantage for Fury can never be overlooked. And Fury is about 13 years younger than the champion.

So boxing fans will definitely be disappointed if Fury gets clobbered in just a few rounds by Klitschko, which will only prove the Briton could not back up his chest thumping or claims that he could stop the Ukrainian.

But what if Fury gets to stop Klitschko? Expect Vladimir, the older brother of Klitschko, to call on Fury. Remember that Vladimir stopped Sanders in the eighth round on April 2004 or less than a year after Wladimir lost by knockout to the South African.

Klitschko vs Fury is one of the two boxing bouts to be staged this month that can hopefully, depending on its outcome, could save boxing from the doldrums it is in now. The other bout is the Canelo Alvarez vs Miguel Cotto for the middleweight belts scheduled on November 22, 2015.

Alvarez is not listed in The Ring Pound-for-Pound ranking.

So far, the Universal Fighting Championship (UFC) has produced two marquee fights this year: Jon Jones vs Daniel Cormier staged on January 4 that Jones won via unanimous decision; and Cormier vs Alexander Gustafsson held on October 4 that the American won by split decision. Both fights were not lopsided affairs and were contested up to the last rounds.

Also, Ronda Rousey’s reign of terror in the UFC women’s competition has also given fight fans more reasons to watch mixed martial arts.

Let’s hope Klitschko-Fury won’t turn out to be a freak show.


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