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Wladimir Klitschko vs. Kubrat Pulev: Winner, Scorecard and Analysis

Gianni Verschueren@ReverschPassFeatured ColumnistNovember 15, 2014

Bulgarian boxer Kubrat Pulev, right, and IBF, WBA, WBO and IBO champion Wladimir Klitschko from Ukraine, punch during their IBF heavy-weight world championships title bout in Hamburg, Germany, Saturday, Nov. 15,  2014.(AP Photo/Frank Augstein)
Frank Augstein/Associated Press

Wladimir Klitschko  (63-3, 53 KOs) manhandled Kubrat Pulev (20-1, 11KOs) on his way to a 17th heavyweight championship title defence in Saturday in Hamburg, Germany, beating the challenger by knockout in the fifth round.

Pulev was dropped twice in the opening round and never seemed to trouble Klitschko one bit, showing great heart to make it to the fifth before being rocked by a fantastic left hook. 

The atmosphere in Hamburg was truly electric ahead of the bout, with both fighters entering the ring accompanied by impressive displays. ESPN's Dan Rafael remains a fan of Klitschko's iconic entry:

Dan Rafael @danrafaelespn

Here comes the Klitschko ring walk. Cue the Red Hot Chili Peppers 'Can't Stop' - most epic ringwalk in #boxing. #KlitschkoPulev

Pulev displayed a solid jab early in the first round but ran straight into a tremendous left hook from Klitschko, knocking him to the canvas within 80 seconds of the opening bell.

The Bulgarian's knees gave away as he tried to get up, but he was allowed to continue, going straight back down following the next combination. Pulev survived the first round, but only barely.

Round By Round Boxing couldn't believe what they saw in the first round:

Round By Round Boxing @RBRBoxing

Wowww and DOWN goes Pulev he's playing like he's not hurt but he went down on a legit punch.. AGAIN!

Pulev came out far more measured in the second round but showed no head movement whatsoever, and it seemed like only a matter of time before his Ukrainian opponent would strike again.

A massive right hook stunned Pulev in the third and the knees appeared to go again, before a left and a push sent him back to the canvas. Pulev somehow managed to survive the round, but the bout felt like it could be stopped any second.

Dan Rafael was thoroughly unimpressed with the Bulgarian:

Dan Rafael @danrafaelespn

Pulev looks like he has no game plan at all other to rabbit punch and hope he gets lucky. #boxing #KlitschkoPulev

Klitschko tuned back the aggressiveness in the fourth round, opting to work his jab and clinch whenever necessary. Pulev was grateful, going to work on the body in an attempt to wear out the defending champion.

A cut opened up in the corner of the Bulgarian's eye early in the fourth, and paired with the frustration of the constant clinches, Pulev resorted to throwing punches at the back of Klitschko's head.

Klitschko's left hook started the fight and it would also end it in the fifth, dropping Pulev for the final time. Ladbrokes shared the final shot:

Ladbrokes @Ladbrokes

Klitschko sends Pulev tumbling to the canvas in the fifth! #KlitschkoPulev https://t.co/xvQ4VP83Q9

Boxing News was satisfied with the performance they just witnessed:

Boxing News @BoxingNewsED

Klitschko finishes it with a huge left hook. Most exciting Klitschko fight in some time #boxing

Klitschko's 17th title defence was one of the more impressive displays we've seen in a long time, as the 38-year-old was aggressive and fought with eagerness and intensity.

Pulev came into this bout undefeated, but the Bulgarian was overmatched from the opening bell and never troubled Klitschko in the slightest. Heavyweight contender Derek Chisora expressed his admiration:

Derek Chisora 🥊 @dellboychisora

@Klitschko good flight one of your best 🙌🙌

ESPN's Dan Rafael had Pulev's thoughts after the fight:

Dan Rafael @danrafaelespn

LOL!!! Pulev said at postfight presser: "He was lucky. I want a rematch. I'll win the next time." Yeah, OK. #delusions ##KlitschkoPulev

Shannon Briggs enjoyed the fight ringside and immediately called out Klitschko as soon as the bout was over, as shared by Boxing360:

Boxing360 @boxing360

A fifth round KO for Klitschko as Shannon Briggs, no surprise, is ringside yelling at Klitschko and asking for a shot at the champion#boxing

If Saturday's impressive performance was any indication, however, there doesn't appear to be a single fighter capable of slowing down Klitschko as he marches toward Joe Louis' record of 25 consecutive heavyweight title defences.

HBO undoubtedly got their money's worth on Saturday, with Klitschko giving the fans exactly what they wanted: a dominant, aggressive performance that highlighted his dominance of the weight class in emphatic fashion.

 

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