5 Heavyweights Who Could Challenge the Klitschkos in 2013
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The Klitschko brothers have been dominating the heavyweight division for years.
While it seems that retirement will be on the horizon for 41-year-old Vitali Klitschko relatively soon, 36-year-old Wladimir Klitschko should remain a dominant fighter for several more years.
As long as Wladimir Klitschko is motivated to keep getting better and taking on the most worthy heavyweights, he should be a superb fighter.
While some critics refer to him as dull or lacking electricity when he steps in the ring, Klitschko does everything well, and he is starting to garner much greater respect from a historical perspective.
While nobody is about to say he belongs in a category with Joe Louis, Rocky Marciano or Muhammad Ali, he has highly developed skills.
The problem is finding worthy candidates for him or his brother that could provide significant challenges.
Here's a look at five heavyweights who could potentially challenge either of the Klitschko brothers.
Kubrat Pulev may be the most dangerous heavyweight fighter who could challenge the Klitschko brothers.
Pulev, 31, has compiled a 17-0-0 record with nine knockouts. The 249-pound Pulev stopped all three of his opponents in 2012 and he is a very aggressive and offensive-minded fighter.
In his last fight, Pulev knocked out 305-pound Alexander Ustinov in the 11th round in their September bout in Germany.
Pulev appears to be an all-or-nothing kind of fighter who would not be afraid of the challenge of fighting either Klitschko brother.
BoxRec.com ranks Pulev as the third-best heavyweight—behind both Klitschkos—and that alone allows him to deserve consideration.
Tyson Fury certainly has the name of a fighter who should be able to challenge for the heavyweight title.
Fury has some ability, but the 24-year-old may be in over his head against the Klitschkos.
On the positive side, Fury is 20-0-0 with 14 knockouts. He is a huge man at 6'9" and 248 pounds, but he needs to get some more seasoning.
Once he gets in another couple of fights, he may be as worthy as any fighter who could challenge the KIitschkos.
David Price may have more to offer as a challenger in the heavyweight division than any other fighter.
Price, 29, has a 15-0-0 record, and 13 of his wins are by knockouts.
He was 4-0 in 2012, and all four of his victories came by knockout.
Price is a huge man at 6'8" and 240 pounds. His most recent fight was a second-round knockout over Matt Skelton in November.
Price has had a series of dominating performances. If he can keep up that level when he steps into the ring with veteran Tony Thompson in February, he may find himself in a position to get a fight with one of the Klitschko brothers.
Alexander Povetkin moved up the boxing rankings with his victory over Hasim Rahman in September. Povetkin stopped the veteran fighter in the second round.
Povetkin, 33, is 25-0-0 and has recorded 17 knockouts.
While it can be argued that the 40-year-old Rahman is over the hill, he had knocked out his previous five opponents before he stepped into the ring with Povetkin.
Povetkin is ranked as the sixth-best heavyweight by BoxRec.com.
Johnathon Banks is usually not ranked with the top heavyweight contenders.
He is currently ranked as the 10th-best heavyweight by BoxRec.com.
Perhaps Banks deserves much stronger recognition. He fought up-and-coming Seth Mitchell in November. If Mitchell had defeated Banks decisively, there was a good chance he would be considered the next great American hope for the heavyweight title.
However, Banks stopped Mitchell in the second round.
Perhaps Banks should be considered the next American heavyweight hope.
Banks, 30, has done quite well in his career. The Detroit native has recorded a 29-1-1 record with 19 knockouts. Banks is 9-0-1 in his last 10 bouts.
He has a February rematch scheduled with Mitchell. If he can record a second straight win over Mitchell, he may have a shot at scheduling a bout with one of the Klitschkos.