For the first time since his decisive victory over Dereck Chisora in February, Vitali Klitschko will step in the ring to defend the WBC Heavyweight Championship against Manuel Charr in Russia on Saturday night.
Klitschko, along with his brother Wladimir, continues to be the class of the heavyweight division. He has not lost since 2003, a span of 12 fights. Granted, that weight class is a wasteland once you get past the Klitschko brothers, but at least they are taking care of business in front of them.
Charr does bring a 21-0 record into this fight. At just 27 years old, he is trying to make a name for himself with a big step up in competition. This will be just his second fight outside of Germany, so we shall see what role going on the road plays with his psyche.
Where: Olympic Indoor Arena in Moscow, Russia
When: Saturday, September 8 at 5:00 p.m. ET
Watch: HBO (Airing as part of Andre Ward-Chad Dawson event starting at 9:45 p.m. ET)
Live Stream: HBOGO.com
|COMPLETE FIGHT CARD|
|WBC Heavyweight Championship: Vitali Klitschko (c) vs. Manuel Charr|
|Heavyweight Bout: Magomed Abdusalamov vs. Jameel McCline|
|Super Middleweight Bout: Maxim Vlasov vs. Khoren Gevor|
|Heavyweight Bout: Vyacheslav Glazkov vs. Konstantin Airich|
Klitschko's Keys to Victory: Attack Early; Get Charr Uncomfortable
Since Charr comes into this fight largely untested in his career, we don't know how he will react to being beaten by a better fighter who is bigger and stronger than he is.
At some point, you would think Klitschko's age would catch up to him, but he has been steamrolling everyone for so long that it is difficult to bet against him.
Since this could potentially be his final fight, Klitschko will want to go out in a blaze of glory. He has the arsenal, stamina and opponent to give him the glorious sendoff he wants, if this does turn out to be the end.
Charr's Keys to Victory: Knock Klitschko Down Early: Don't Go to the Judges
This is easily the most difficult challenge of Charr's professional career. A stage like this, against an opponent like Klitschko, is going to be unlike anything he has ever gone up against.
Charr needs to make a statement early, both for his confidence and to prove he belongs in this fight. Don't completely discredit him—this is boxing, after all, and everyone has a puncher's chance—but he is not known for his powerful striking.
What They're Saying
Even though Manuel Charr is a relative unknown coming into this fight, he has the same defining characteristics that made Ivan Drago such a memorable opponent for Rocky Balboa when the two fought to end the Cold War nearly 30 years ago.
Speaking to reporters earlier this week, Charr offered a short and simple game plan that he will use to defeat Klitschko on Saturday (via BoxingNews24.com):
"I don’t want to go into details, just 3 words: volition, power and the heart of a fighter!"
Seeing that, tell me you don't hear a little bit of Drago's voice in there. The only thing that would have made it better is if he actually said he would break Klitschko.
Unless Charr has a rabbit to pull out of his gloves that will distract Klitschko, it is difficult to see a scenario where the champion loses. Even at 41 years old, Klitschko is a superior striker with more power and a greater reach to attack.
Klitschko wins via unanimous decision