Wladimir Klitschko: How He Would Fare Against Mike Tyson and Others

Mike LynchContributor IIIJune 21, 2011

Wladimir Klitschko: How He Would Fare Against Mike Tyson and Others

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    LONDON, ENGLAND - MAY 10:  Wladimir Klitschko talks to the press during the David Haye v Wladimir Klitschko Press Conference at the Park Plaza Hotel on May 10, 2011 in London, England.  (Photo by Christopher Lee/Getty Images)
    Christopher Lee/Getty Images

    Wladimir Klitschko boasts an impressive record of 55 wins, three defeats and 49 wins by knockout.

    Under the training of Manny Steward, Klitschko has not lost since 2004. He has tightened up his style, and no one has been able to get past his jab. He's been able to protect his suspect chin, and he fights at a controlled pace.

    Standing slightly over 6'6" with an 81-inch reach and weighing more than 240 pounds, he is one of the largest heavyweight champions ever.

    He also is in an era where the talent pool among heavyweights is low and popularity has waned.

    Here is how Wladimir would fare against nine other heavyweight champions. Fights will be 15 or 12 rounds, depending on the era in which his opponent fought.

Vitali Klitschko

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    LOS ANGELES, CA - SEPTEMBER 26:  Vitali Klitschko celebrates his victory against opponent Chris Arreola at the Staples Center on September 26, 2009 in Los Angeles, California.  (Photo by Jacob de Golish/Getty Images)
    Jacob de Golish/Getty Images

    Vitali Klitschko (2003)

    42-2, 39 KOs

    Height: 6'7"

    Weight: 250 lbs

    Reach: 80'

    Result:  Vitali TKO Round 10


    Wladimir has better skills then his older brother, but Vitali's better chin and stamina would decide the fight. It would likely be a plodding fight with both men attempting to establish the jab.

    Wladimir, with better speed, would be more effective early on. The fight changes when Wladimir catches a clean shot and goes down.

    From then on, Vitali would press the action while Wladimir goes into a shell. The referee stops the fight after an exhausted Wladimir goes down in the 10th round. 

Lennox Lewis

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    LAS VEGAS - NOVEMBER 22:  Boxer/commentator Lennox Lewis looks on during the fight between Ricky Hatton of England and Paulie Malignaggi during their light-welterweight fight at the MGM Grand Garden Arena November 22, 2008 in Las Vegas, Nevada.  (Photo by
    John Gichigi/Getty Images

    Lennox Lewis (2002)

    41-2-1 32 KOs 

    Height: 6'5"

    Weight: 245 lbs

    Reach: 84'

    Result: Lewis KO in Round 9


    Wladimir doesn't have the stamina or chin to go after Lewis like his brother did. Lewis would wear down and knockout Wladimir. It is likely that Lewis would be in some trouble early, but manage to survive.

    He might hold a slight speed edge, but doesn't put punches together as well as Lewis. Since they are similar sizes, both men have to fight within each other's range. This really hurts Wladimir, as he has shown almost no ability to take a punch. 

Evander Holyfield

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    NEW YORK, NY - JANUARY 17: Former boxing World undisputed champion Evander Holyfield visits 'Fox & Friends' at FOX Studios on January 17, 2011 in New York City.  (Photo by Slaven Vlasic/Getty Images)
    Slaven Vlasic/Getty Images

    Evander Holyfield (1991)

    44-10-2 29 KOs

    Height: 6'2"

    Weight: 210 lbs

    Reach 78'

    Result: Unanimous decision for Klitschko

    Holyfield struggles to get by the jab of Klitschko, and when he does get through, he is easily tied up by the much bigger man.

    This also stops Holyfield from fighting at the quick pace he wants.

    Holyfield wobbles Klitschko a few times, but is mostly on the receiving end of stiff jabs and is unable to mount an effective attack.   

Mike Tyson

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    LAS VEGAS - OCTOBER 13:  Sportscaster Jim Gray (L) and former boxer Mike Tyson talk during a preseason game between the Los Angeles Lakers and the Sacramento Kings at the Thomas & Mack Center October 13, 2010 in Las Vegas, Nevada. The Lakers won 98-95. NO
    Ethan Miller/Getty Images

    Mike Tyson (1988)

    50-6 44 KOs

    Height: 5'10"

    Weight: 218 lbs

    Reach: 71'

    Result: Tyson KO in Round 2

    The speed, power and ferocity of a prime Mike Tyson stops Klitschko in the second round.

    The first round is rather cautious, with Wladimir on the outside and Tyson patiently stalking. Tyson unloads late in the first round, with the bell saving Klitschko. The next round is the last as Klitschko is floored twice and fails to get up.

    A flaw of Wladimir's is his predictable attack. Tyson figures this out early and takes advantage of it.

Larry Holmes

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    19 Jun 1992: Larry Holmes looks on during his fight against Evander Holyfield in Las Vegas, Nevada. Holyfield won the bout with an unanimous decision after 12 rounds.
    Holly Stein/Getty Images

    Larry Holmes (1980)

    69-6  44 KOs

    Height: 6'3"

    Weight: 215 lbs

    Reach: 81'

    Result: Holmes by unanimous decision after 15 rounds

    Holmes' quickness allows him to get the better of Wladimir.

    It is mostly a battle of jabs, but Holmes is better able to throw combinations. Both men hit the canvas during the fight, but it doesn't alter the flow.  Klitschko wins a number of rounds, but Holmes is the clear winner.

Ken Norton

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    CANASTOTA, NY - JUNE 12: Ken Norton listens to the speech of Joe Cortez (not shown) during the 2011 International Boxing Hall of Fame Inductions at the International Boxing Hall of Fame on June 12, 2011 in Canastota, New York. Norton was inducted into the
    Rick Stewart/Getty Images

    Ken Norton (1976)

    42-7-1 33 KOs

    Height: 6'2"

    Weight: 218 lbs

    Reach: 80'

    Result:  Klitschko KO in Round 2

    Norton struggled against bigger men with power. He did well against boxers such as Holmes, but got blown out by George Foreman and Gerry Cooney.

    Manny Steward advises Klitschko to press early and Norton wilts to the pressure.

George Foreman

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    Getty Images/Getty Images

    George Foreman (1973)

    76-5 68 KOs

    Height: 6'3"

    Weight: 225 lbs

    Reach: 82'

    Result: Klitschko KO in Round 5

    This may seem like an odd result given Klitschko's bad chin, but Foreman was very sloppy back then and wasn't very fast.

    Essentially he'd just try to bludgeon Klitschko with little regard to strategy. Wladimir is smart enough to survive a one-dimensional attack like that.

    Once Foreman slowed down, he'd be ripe for straight rights from Klitschko. 

Joe Frazier

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    Gray Mortimore/Getty Images

    Joe Frazier (1971)

    32-4-1, 27 KOs

    Height: 5'11"

    Weight 205 lbs

    Reach: 73'


    Result: Klitschko KO in Round 3

    Joe Frazier's style simply will not work against a big man with power.

    Klitschko is the worst possible matchup for Frazier. Watch both Frazier/Foreman fights to see how this one will go.

Muhammad Ali

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    15 Sep 1978: Muhammad Ali wins his third World Heavyweight Title against Leon Spinks. Mandatory Credit: Allsport UK/Allsport
    Getty Images/Getty Images

    Muhammad Ali (1967)

    56-5, 37 KOs

    Height: 6'3"

    Weight: 211 lbs

    Reach: 82'


    Result: Ali by TKO in Round14.

    The fight is initially close, with the size and style of Klitschko troubling the dancing Ali. Klitschko's lack of variety on offense and predictability allow Ali to take control.

    The referee stops it in the 14th as Klitschko is exhausted and unable to defend himself.

Wladimir's Issues

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    NEW YORK - FEBRUARY 23:  Wladimir Klitschko of the Ukraine celebrates his 12 round unanimous decison victory over Sultan Ibragimov of Russia during their WBO and IBF/IBO Unification Heavyweight World Championship bout on February 23, 2008 at Madison Squar
    Chris Trotman/Getty Images

    Wladimir Klitschko's style of boxing protects his two most vulnerable qualities: his chin and his stamina. He does this by keeping opponents outside using his jab, completely dictating the pace and style of the fight.

    When he's able to pull this off, he's unbeatable.

    Each fighter that I saw beating him was able to force Klitschko into a fight that exposed his chin and forced him to fight at a quicker pace. Except Tyson, every fighter that I picked to beat him was big, smart and had a good long jab.

    Ali and Holmes were way too fast. Vitali and Lewis were too durable. Tyson in his prime had such a tremendous combination of speed power and ring smarts that he would have gotten an early shot in.

    The losing fighters were all too small and liked to fight inside, except Foreman. I believe Foreman had the skills to beat Klitschko, but lacked the discipline. Frazier and Norton had disastrous results against big powerful boxers. Holyfield's problems with Lewis tell me he would struggle with Klitschko.