There is a scene in the movie Rocky II where Apollo Creed’s trainer, speaking of Balboa, says, “He’s all wrong for us baby. We don’t need no man like that in our lives.”
I wonder if Emanuel Steward or anyone from Universum, Klitschko’s promoter, has uttered, or at least thought, those very same words regarding the quick-handed, hard punching David Haye, Wladimir’s next opponent.
Wlad is widely regarded as the best heavyweight in the division, much to the annoyance of some fans. It’s not so much that they feel Klitschko can’t fight. It’s more about the fact that he doesn’t often do so.
I don’t mean that he doesn’t box frequently enough. He fought three times last year; a goodly amount for a modern heavyweight champ.
The issue is that he is a “safety first” fighter who does everything in his power to avoid having to trade punches with his opponents.
Wladimir’s strategy is consistent. He uses his height and reach advantage to control his opponents with his jab, and then starts dropping right hands on them and occasional hooks when he deems the situation safe to do so. He rarely even goes to the body for fear of leaving his head open to counterpunches.
You can’t fault a fighter for understanding his strengths and weaknesses. Wlad knows who he is in the ring. He is tall and doesn’t have a good chin, so he fights like a guy who is tall and doesn’t have a good chin.
The danger for the good Dr. Steelhammer is that Haye is not the type of fighter who is going to stand on the outside and let himself be controlled. He will take the risk of getting to the inside where he can let his hands go and swing for the parking lot.
Barring a quick KO, at some point Wlad is going to have to fight,and he’s going to taste Haye’s power. They don’t call him “The Hayemaker” without reason. He can bang.
Team Klitschko is no doubt planning to use Haye’s willingness to take risks against him. And at 215 pounds, they see an undersized heavyweight with a suspect chin of his own, having been KO’d by journeyman Carl Thompson.
I have to applaud Wladimir for taking this fight. If he wins, his critics will say that he beat a blown up cruiserweight who had two heavyweight fights under his belt.
And if he loses his critics will lambaste him for losing to a blown up cruiserweight with two heavyweight fights under his belt.
The fight may come down to who has the better chin. Wlad is favored and rightfully so. But he didn’t need to take this fight. Outside of the UK, fans were not clamoring to see it.
Again, kudos to Klitschko for taking the fight. I just wonder if he is miscalculating his risk. As I recall, Creed lost that fight in Rocky II to a man that he “didn’t need in his life.” I wonder whether the Rocky movies ever made it to Ukraine.