Can Klitschko-Chagaev Bring Back Light To The Heavyweight Division?
Ukrainian Vladimir Klitschko, with a record of 52W-46KO-3L, is currently the title holder of IBF, WBO and IBO Titles in the Heavyweight Division.
At a towering 6'7" stature and with an 88.5 percent knockout ratio, he is called "Dr. Steel Hammer" for clinically handing out knockouts.
Uzbek Ruslan Chagaev (25W-17KO-1D) on the other hand is currently holding the WBA Heavyweight Title, which he shares with Nikolai Valuev when he was declared "champion in recess" for failing to defend his crown for sustaining injury during training.
Though still at halfway compared to Klitschko's record, "White Tyson" Chagaev has faced tough opposition in the past and had been in the most intense punch fests in the heavyweight division.
Klitschko and Chagaev are set to face each other in a unification bout on Saturday, which includes the claim to the vacant Ring Magazine Heavyweight Title.
The Klitschko-Chagaev fight was made possible after the second failure of the fight between Chagaev and Valuev which should have determined the sole claimant to the WBA title.
Chagaev failed to pass a Finnish medical test as a pre-requisite to his fight against Valuev. It was noted that he contracted Hepatitis B in 2007 which led to the cancellation of what could have been the first unification bout since 1997 with Sultan Ibragimov.
Despite having lack of charisma in the heavyweight division, Klitschko is expected to bring in his experience along with his wide array of skills against Chagaev, promising an action-filled heavyweight bout.
Klitschko has fought five times since 2007, winning four, with one bout against Lamon Brewster that led to a sixth round stoppage.
Chagaev fought only once in 2007 and once in 2008, as well. His latest fight was last February against then unbeaten Carl Drumond.
Though it was a spectacular come back fight for Chagaev, the fight was stopped halfway through the bout due to accidental clash of heads, and Chagaev's endurance, which many speculated was a bit on the rusty side was not tested much.
Chagaev's career has been idle a notable number of times in the past, but he has always been spectacularly active inside the ring.
Unlike Klitschko, Chagaev has not lost yet in his career despite having faced some of the fiercest heavyweights. Klitschko had a history of getting floored a number of times in his career.
However, the sheer size of Klitschko along with his power and ring demeanor will play a major part in the outcome of the up-coming Klitschko-Chagaev fight—more than Chagaev's lack of action in the last two years.
But Chagaev is expected to give a fight and may have moments of his own in displaying his ability to trade punches with opponents much bigger than him.
The fight is supposedly a unification bout and is supposed to revive attraction in the heavyweight division, but in its current state of as to who really holds what, the results may just add up to the confusion.
It is a unification bout indeed, save for the WBC title currently held by Valdimir Klitschko's brother, Vitali.
And unless the WBA title can be claimed by only one of its current title holders, Chagaev and Valuev, a Klitschko victory will actually be just a "half-belt" gain.
The heavyweight division is in need of a major re-organizing, and needs to proclaim an ultimate champion to pump some blood into its veins and keep it alive.
If any of the victor will unify all the belts there is (no matter how many) and lay solid claim to each belt, it could be an igniting spark to attract full attention once again.
But if Vladimir wins against Chagaev and Valuev right after to laying solid claim to the WBA title, and chooses not to fight Vitali for his WBC crown, things will remain as they have always been in the heavyweight division—unattractive; organized but not interesting.
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