To Win His Rematch with Tyson Fury, Wladimir Klitschko Must Reinvent Himself and Be Aggressive

Wladimir Klitschko – Former world heavyweight champion Wladimir Klitschko 64-4 (53) recently said that he’s “suffered like a dog” since he lost to Tyson Fury last year via 12-round unanimous decision in their title bout. But Wladimir has promised that he’ll “humble” the controversial Fury 25-0 (18) when they meet in a rematch on July 9th.

“I’m going to bash his face in for all his anti-Semitic, sexist and homophobic comments, which he regularly likes to come out with” said Klitschko earlier this week. Well, that’s not typical Wladimir speech and I’m sure it may be music to the ears of some of Klitschko’s biggest critics. And the reason for that is – we haven’t seen Wladimir step into the ring with a sense of urgency very often during his 20 year professional career or during the past decade in which he went undefeated. Personally, I would rather hear Klitschko speak of how much it bothers him that a fighter like Fury, who isn’t anything close to being a special fighter, relieved him of his title and status instead of him talking about how if he beats Fury he’ll be saving society.

I wonder if Wladimir realizes that if he looks bad and loses to Fury again, many boxing advocates will look back at his title reign as being a blip on the radar during a very forgettable time in heavyweight history. No, the 40 year old Klitschko will not get the pass that most champions get when they lose late in their career.

Muhammad Ali at age 36 lost his title to a fighter with eight pro fights and Mike Tyson was knocked out by a journeyman at age 38 in his last bout, but the legacies of Ali and Tyson were not the least bit dinged, even though Ali was totally used up when he lost to Spinks and Tyson had abused his body for years, barely trained, and was emotionally divorced from boxing. Despite being the older man, the Klitschko who lost to Fury was by no means depleted coming into the fight. If anything, he’d looked good in his most recent fights. And he had taken very little punishment in his career. However, Klitschko’s career body of work doesn’t command the same respect historically as Ali and Tyson and other universally recognized champs.

The sad part regarding Wladimir if he loses the rematch is that he’ll suddenly be relegated to a pretender. In future hypothetical match-ups with past champs down the road, he’ll never get the benefit of the doubt. And the reason is that more often than not he looked as if he was fighting not to get knocked out instead of trying to win. His risk-averse strategy turned off a lot of fans and they couldn’t digest how a big powerful guy fought so small in the ring. Unfortunately winning wasn’t enough for Klitschko because most perceive him as having dominated a weak era where he was the only big fish in a small pond. Yes, there is some truth to that, but I don’t care what era a fighter competed in, you have to be doing something right if you go unbeaten for 10 straight years fighting the best of the best. Somewhere along the line you had to cross paths with somebody who was pretty good.

Every time Wladimir stepped into the ring his opponent knew he was one punch away from stardom. Yet most of his opponents, once he touched them, reverted to fighting to survive. Sure, they talked a great fight before the first bell, but once they felt his presence in the ring they forgot about their boast and their promises and looked to survive instead of trying to win. Klitschko must get credit for that.

Others complained how his fights weren’t exciting, a lot like Floyd Mayweather’s big fights, with the difference being Floyd was prettier and flashier in the ring and he talked much better. Klitschko was punished for not being exciting, yet here’s a title holder who never once ducked a fighter who was qualified to fight him, not once. That’s something Mayweather can never say, at least not with a straight face.

“Continuous success,” said Wladimir, “is always boring. It is unsatisfying for the public.” And to a point he is right. However, he will be judged very harshly by his critics if he fights Fury the same way he did when they met this past December. In order for Klitschko to beat Fury, he must do something not many great fighters are good at – and that is reinvent himself stylistically. When they met the first time Fury was able to freeze and neutralize Wladimir with head and shoulder feints that were no more than muscle twitches. Practically every time Tyson feigned a punch Wladimir stopped what he was doing and looked not to get hit. That shut him down offensively and resulted in Fury landing a few touches here and there that ultimately won the fight for him.

Fury fought smart, tying Klitschko up after smacking him a few times, something Wladimir never once made him pay for. When they meet next month Klitschko, who has a monumental advantage in power, must go after Fury as if he’s a wounded lion. Everyone knows Fury doesn’t have the greatest chin and reports are that he’s been dropped more than once while in training for the rematch.

Wladimir may be the hardest single shot puncher in boxing. He needs to go after Fury the way Lennox Lewis went after Andrew Golota and Michael Grant. Wladimir has to forget about what will happen if he gets caught trying to put Fury away. He must come out from the onset and establish that he’s the boss and that his power is going to be the deciding factor. That won’t be easy because that is not who Wladimir is. But perhaps the sour taste of the loss in the first fight has changed him a little and is now driving him to want to really hurt Fury. If Klitschko fights like the outcome of the rematch really matters to him, he can easily win and gain favor with boxing fans. On the other hand, if the rematch is a rerun of the first meeting, Wladimir will be scorned forever. And worse than that, his title reign will be totally forgotten as if he almost never existed.

Klitschko is a good guy and has done everything right. But sometimes, for reasons unknown, some fighters never win the fans over. If Wladimir wants to be remembered as at least a formidable champion, he must separate himself from Tyson Fury and beat him convincingly next month. In order to do that he’ll have to be somebody that he’s not. He will have to go after Fury like he has no other fighter in his career — because that’s his only path to victory.

Frank Lotierzo can be contacted at GlovedFist@Gmail.com

 

 

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COMMENTS

-Kid Blast :

Frank is right on the money with this one. Wlad has to let it all hang out and go right after the Gypsey Going down in flames will do more for his legacy. But he has to show the fire. Come out after him like he did against Pulev and launch the rockets and sneaky left hooks. But above all, don't let the giant operate with his optimum separation


-deepwater2 :

Got Fury by Ko. Charlie Bronson is a fan of Tyson Fury. Google Charlie Bronson, A young prime WK went for it against Lamon Brewster and golfer Corrie Sanders. Southpaw Corrie was big and a southpaw. The Gypsy will be in good shape and can switch up to Southpaw. I forget which fight, maybe the Chisora fight but Fury got up on his feet and went Southpaw for a good portion of the fight. The man was trying a new technique and sharpening his skills on the way up to bigger fights. Learning and improving fight by fight. Traveling around gyms offering Rolex watches to any guy that could put him down in sparring. Anthony Josua tried to get that Rolex but couldn't. The Fury's know fighting and Peter Fury is seasoning Hughie the right way on the way up as well. Having fast Eddie Chambers in camp regularly was a brilliant move.


-Gabrielito :

I see Frank's opinion of Fury is fairly low , and I understand why, but I disagree. Is Fury special? He beat a special champion near his peak, with absurd ease. So easy in fact people dismiss the win outright as a fluke . Wlad looks better, sounds better and says nice things but he's not better than Fury. If Fury dominates wlad in similar fashion next time it will go a long way in telling us. I think maybe Furys strongest asset is the ability to think and implement new things . Fury will need to beat a few more wlads before we know how special he is.


-deepwater2 :

I think the plan is to: retire WK, unification with Wilder ( If promoted right, and I think it will be, the world will be watching that fight) I think Fury would retire after beating Wilder and might come back for a spectacular fight against Joshua. Tyson Fury has a plan for 2-3 fights, put 100 million in the vault and sit back and watch Hughie go for it. Hughie Fury has the chance to be a Champ in the near future.


-kidcanvas :

all Vlad has to do is throw a few punches ffs. the first fight he didnt throw a punch at the fool, to win you have punch and fury threw ,they were useless but he threw punches, vlad didnt , that was all it was, beside being one of the worst Hwt Championship fight ive ever seen in 60 yrs, id of beyt my children on the first fight hahahah goes to show you, in boxing the unknown and the unimaginable can happen


-kidcanvas :

anybody today thats halfway decent can become a "Champ" because there are 1000 titles ... its a joke .. my day 8 then 16 and now meaningless


-oubobcat :

Got Fury by Ko. Charlie Bronson is a fan of Tyson Fury. Google Charlie Bronson, A young prime WK went for it against Lamon Brewster and golfer Corrie Sanders. Southpaw Corrie was big and a southpaw. The Gypsy will be in good shape and can switch up to Southpaw. I forget which fight, maybe the Chisora fight but Fury got up on his feet and went Southpaw for a good portion of the fight. The man was trying a new technique and sharpening his skills on the way up to bigger fights. Learning and improving fight by fight. Traveling around gyms offering Rolex watches to any guy that could put him down in sparring. Anthony Josua tried to get that Rolex but couldn't. The Fury's know fighting and Peter Fury is seasoning Hughie the right way on the way up as well. Having fast Eddie Chambers in camp regularly was a brilliant move.
I will admit I never thought much of Fury and thought Wladimir would beat him with ease in the first fight. I was not sold on Fury, his style or his chin. But exactly the opposite of what I thought occurred. When I heard there was a rematch, my initial thought is nothing different would occur and it would resemble the first fight. Fury boxed Wladimir in the first fight and did so very effectively (yes boring but effective in winning). Going back through his career, when Fury boxes he typically is effective in neutralizing his opponent. By using his legs, nor running but moving side to side, and pumping the left jab out with his length his slows his opponents and does not allow them to get their own offense going. Fury will move one way and then reset moving another direction causing his opponent to reset and keeping them out of rhythm. It is a boring style but like I said effective for Fury to win. When he decides to trade though, Fury exposes the chin and gets himself in trouble. He did so early in the first Chisora fight and had some dicey moments before taking over the fight using the style outlined above. He tried to make a statement in the US against Steve Cunningham thinking the smaller Cunningham couldn't hurt him and almost got ko'd. Fury though Nicolai Firtha would be target practice and fought more aggressively which almost got him ko'd. My point here is when Fury uses his legs and establishes the jab from the outside he is tough to beat. But when he abandons that style, he gets himself in trouble. I judged him a lot on the "trouble" moments but looking closely on how he was won have determined that he was vastly underrated as boxer by myself. I don't see Fury abandoning this style in the 2nd fight with Wladimir. Fury will talk about going for the ko and being more aggressive. It's not going to happen. He knows what he has to do to win and secure future mega fights against Wilder and Joshua. My initial gut feeling was the second fight will mirror the first and I will stick with that. And have the coffee brewing as will probably need a couple cups to get through the rematch.