Wladimir Klitschko is prepared to defend his plethora of heavyweight titles (WBO, IBF, IBO and WBA) against another little-known challenger, but at least this one is big.
Mariusz Wach stands 6'7.5" and is one of the few heavyweights who actually holds a reach advantage over Klitschko. Obviously, it's not just what you can reach.
Wach's potential success will depend a lot on how he deals with being hit.
Klitschko is one of the sport's best offensive heavyweights, and Wach hasn't faced anyone close to Klitschko in his career. He's 27-0 with 15 KOs, but his wins have come over mediocre challengers at best.
He's already committing the cardinal sin of pre-fight hype by constantly referring to himself in third person. Via ESPN, Wach said:
"On Saturday you will see a different Mariusz Wach, a Mariusz Wach who will want to take those belts off Klitschko. You will remember that fight not for hours later but for days and months to come."
Maybe he was just branding.
At any rate, he'll need to produce a monumental effort to make this fight go his way.
Per Money Control, Klitschko has dedicated this fight to his late trainer Emanuel Steward. Steward passed away on October 25 at the age of 68, and Klitschko would love to honor him with a victory.
He's 58-3 with 50 KOs in his stellar career.
Here is how you can watch his latest title defense.
When: Saturday, November 10 5 PM ET
Where: O2 World Arena in Hamburg, Germany
TV and Live Stream: Only Available on EPIX HD
The Book on Klitschko
Tale of the Tape (per BoxRec.com)
Weight: 249 vs. Tony Thompson in July
Klitschko has tremendous length, punching power and he's a better athlete than people give him credit for. He moves well for his size, and his combination of skills makes him one of the best offensive heavyweights in history.
Klitschko handled another big heavyweight in his most recent bout. Take a look at him destroying a pitiful Tony Thompson.
It's been a long time since we saw Klitschko's chin truly tested, but I believe it is still his biggest weakness. Getting to that weakness is what nearly every opponent has failed to do. He seems determined to bury the glass jaw label placed on him after he suffered three KO losses earlier in his career.
As difficult as he is to expose, I believe Klitschko can still be rocked and shaken mentally by heavy punchers.
Take a look at him being rocked by Lamon Brewster and the late Corrie Sanders.
This game plan is going to be a bit different for Klitschko. He generally likes to keep his distance with the jab, but Wach is huge, and that tactic doesn't apply in this fight.
Klitschko will need to use his speed and movement to create angles and to keep Wach off balance. He should be able to expose Wach's unproven stamina level. The challenger has only been 10 rounds once, and he's never been 12 rounds.
It is unlikely this fight goes the distance, and fatigue could be a reason why.
The Book on Wach
Tale of the Tape (per BoxRec.com)
Weight: 256 vs. Tye Fields in March
Size is easily the best thing Wach has going for him in this fight.
His arms are extremely long, and he throws nice combinations. Those combos can be devastating as he has shown the ability to finish heavyweights in spectacular fashion.
Take a look at these two KOs.
The first one is at the expense of Kevin McBride—a nobody, I know, who beat a washed-up Mike Tyson—but the punch is still impressive. It happens at the 2:38 mark.
The second video is even more gruesome. Wach destroys Christian Hammer with a punishing combination at the 23:30 mark.
Wach is very slow of foot.
He is certainly a plodder and would have issue with an opponent with good lateral movement. He has also struggled with his weight in the past. He's competed as high as 274 pounds in his career.
Staying in shape is a must for Wach, as being heavy only makes his weaknesses more glaring.
Working the jab consistently is key for Wach in this fight. If Wach can work behind his jab with hard, straight right hands, he has a shot at upsetting Klitschko.
Seriously, the size and power dynamic can't be underestimated in this fight.
However, he must get it done early. The longer this fight goes, the more things will turn in Klitschko's favor.
Klitschko will win this fight by decision or a late stoppage, but I think he'll leave with more damage than we've seen him absorb in years. I'm tempted to predict the upset, but I'm not quite that confident in Wach's conditioning.
Either way, bigger heavyweights—especially fighters like Tyson Fury—should be encouraged by the way this fight transpires.
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