A few hours from now, Wladimir Klitschko (58-3, 50 KO's) will attempt to defend his title for the 13th time. Klitschko has looked invincible over the last few years, but that could change very soon.
Klitschko's opponent is 32-year-old Mariusz Wach. Wach possesses an impressive record on paper (27-0, 15 KO's), but he has yet to face any opposition of merit. His recent bouts have been against a list of fighters that reads like a who's who of the bum of the month club.
The common prediction for this fight should be easy to handicap—Klitschko wins via KO.
However, Mariusz Wach has numerous qualities that make him an intriguing matchup for Klitschko.
Mariusz Wach may give up the experience factor to Klitschko, but he has the age advantage. He is four years younger than Klitschko.
Wach also has a one-and-a-half inch height advantage and a one-inch reach advantage. That may not seem like a big factor, but Wach has the size to bully Klitschko around the ring. This is not a position that Klitschko is accustomed to being in. Usually, he is the patient aggressor. It will be interesting to see if he has to fight backing up. This could spell trouble for Klitschko.
Mariusz Wach has never tasted the canvas during his professional career. The same can't be said for Wladimir Klitschko. In all of Klitschko's three professional losses, he has been knocked out. He has a glass jaw and everybody knows it. However, his defense has become so good that nobody has been able to land a clean shot on him.
What will be the result of tonight's fight?
Mariusz Wach just might be able to.
Klitschko's defense has come a long way due to the training of Emanuel Steward. But the boxing world suffered a tragic loss with the passing of Steward just 16 days ago. Klitschko was trained by heavyweight contender Johnathon Banks for this fight. This change in trainers might seriously affect the outcome of this fight.
I think that Wladimir Klitschko will win this fight via unanimous decision. I think that both fighters will fight cautiously. Both fighters have knockout power, but their awareness of this element will make them hesitant to engage one another.
Mariusz Wach is not ready for Klitschko yet. He should have taken another five fights against decent opposition before facing Klitschko. Klitschko will use his classic boxing skills to avoid a slugfest with the dangerous yet inexperienced Wach. Klitschko should retain his title easily, but the question marks surrounding Wach make this a bout worth watching. The one thing Wach does have is a puncher's chance.