OFF THE REEPERBAHN – That famous stretch of tourist traps, sex shops and rock clubs including some legitimately fine entertainment and dining options, known as Hamburg’s “Sinful Mile” is buzzing as always. Judging from the Motley Crue type cover bands heard recently, it’s a very long shot any breakthrough like the Beatles made is getting a start on international success here nowadays.
Kubrat Pulev hopes to make the sold-out O2 Arena his personal Star Club (a launching pad for the Liverpool lads), and promises a heavyweight hard day’s night for champion Wladimir Klitschko.
Judging how rock solid Pulev appeared at their weigh-in, he could have the muscle to do it. Still, this matchup may end up belonging somewhere behind those remote, multi-stained Reeperbahn barricades, erected in the spirit of decency.
On matters of appropriate behavior, publicity gatecrasher Shannon Briggs was generally shut out of the prefight party. While he remains a good-spirited distraction for much of the German media and fans, hopefully he won’t cross the line of boorish desperation that grows near.
Pulev will either show up plenty ready or totally unprepared. If he forces the issue, Wlad will have to get rid of him. If Pulev isn’t the sleeping giant his numerous supporters (but will they actually bet on him?) envision, Wlad will get him out of there, something like the Francisco Pianeta bout.
Hamburg has some solid boxing history and tonight should add to it. The boys look ready. Anticipation is high. Thus, your final Euro Bureau odds on Klitschko – Pulev.
Klitschko to win : 90% chance. He may look closer to Briggs’ age than he does to Pulev’s age, but he is still Wladimir Klitschko and this is still the present day heavyweight top ten.
Klitschko by decision : 25% chance. Think Ruslan Chagaev, who has not been proven inferior to Pulev and may still not be. Or think Mariusz Wach who probably is inferior to Pulev, at least without the juice.
Klitschko by KO : 75% chance. Klitschko retired Chagaev in the 9th frame.
Pulev to win : 10% chance. The heavyweight title has a history of surprise debacles. Klitschko has a history of surprise debacles. The challenger has the same chance at victory by either KO or judge’s call, and it isn’t much.
Draw : 100 to 1. Though it would be great for the fans and the division this will not be Sturm-Stieglitz, and despite Germany’s reputation for home “kuchen,” if Pulev pulls a surprise it will not be Lewis-Holyfield 1.
Briggs to achieve a similar YouTube sensation as in the restaurant / paddleboard incidents : 33.3% chance. Briggs (and his scheme team) is clever, but he will have to do better than wearing a knight like face-helmet, screaming from two shopping mall levels away or while pounding outside thick windows. Hamburg is one of Klitschko’s hometowns. The welcome wagons appear circled.
Fight to be a great : 10% chance. Heavyweight history.
Fight to be excellent : 10% chance. Klitschko history.
Fight to be worthwhile : 99% chance. Klitschko is historical, high quality heavyweight champion.
Fight to be any good at all : Eye of the beholder.