Boxing


If Vitali Klitschko And Nikolai Valuev Do Fight, Will Klitschko Become The First Man To KO The Giant?

by James Slater - Though the fight may not actually happen (promoters Don King, Sauerland Event and K2 are currently trying to thrash out a deal), the idea of a bout between WBC heavyweight king Vitali Klitschko and former two-time WBA ruler Nikolai Valuev is intriguing to some. With David Haye busy with his mandatory against former belt holder John Ruiz, who else is there the WBC champ could actually fight in the summer?

Valuev, because of his size and the fact that he has never been down in any fight, remains a worthy contender; even though he is, A: somewhat boring to watch, and, B: coming off a loss to the aforementioned "Hayemaker.." But with Haye and all the other big names of the heavyweight division otherwise engaged (and, truth be told, it's not as if the once glamour division of the sport is crawling with marquee names), a Klitschko-Valuev fight will have to do.

The match-up has a decent shot at getting a big crowd and also a good TV audience. Valuev dwarfs many of his opponents, but this will not be the case against the approx 6'7" "Dr. Iron Fist." Also, "The Russian Giant" will be meeting the hardest punching opponent of his entire career. Taking into account both of these facts, there is as good a chance as there ever will be that Valuev could be KO'd for what would be the only time in his fighting life. This possibility alone will see to it that fans will watch the fight.

Vitali, although he is pushing 40, will start a pretty big favourite, and, in reality, only a big upset would see Valuev win. But can the man from Ukraine provide boxing fans and casual observers alike with the stunning image the sight of the 7'2" colossus going down would be? Imagine if Klitscho managed to do what David Haye told us all he'd try and do, and send Valuev crashing! How many hits on You-Tube would such an event receive? Also, if Vitali were to succeed where around fifty other fights have failed, and flatten Valuev, the demand for a fight between he and Haye would be even bigger than it is now.

But can Vitali stop Valuev?

There is no doubt in my mind, an injury aside, that the elder of the two Klitschko brothers beats 36-year-old Valuev; but I'm not at all sure anyone will ever put the giant down and keep him there for ten seconds or more. Valuev was wobbled late in the fight with Haye last November, but that's probably the only time he's been so visibly hurt in a fight. And though Vitali hits harder overall than Haye does, he is not as fast and therefore he may not be able to catch Valuev with too many shots he won't see coming (also, the wobble Valuev gave in the loss to Haye came in the last round, when fatigue had set in).

In all honesty, should Klitschko and Valuev square off, I feel we will see the reigning WBC champion become the third man to out-point Valuev. We'd like to see a KO, of course, but Valuev's "brick wall" of a chin (as Haye said it felt like he was punching) figures to stand up to Vitali's right hands.

Unfortunately, though it won't be anywhere near as awful as his fight with Kevin Johnson, I think Vitali has another dull fight if he faces Valuev.

Article posted on 12.02.2010



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