Wladimir Klitschko vs. Sultan Ibragimov or Ruslan Chagaev: Is Heavyweight Unification possible in the following months?

21.10.07– By Adrian Saba: It could have been said that the most relevant fight in the heavyweight division, months ago, was the rematch between Wladimir Klitschko and Sam Peter. After his victory against James Toney, Peter acquired prestige –it’s amazing what a single fight can do– but now that prestige has diminished. After his Pyrrhic victory over Jameel McCline, a man that wasn’t even close to the Top 20, a lot have been talked about the mistakes and errors of Peter, and it has been said that he possesses a “glass jaw," who knows..

What is certain is that the value of a rematch between Klitschko and Peter has decreased; now the most important fights, the ones that would decide who the Champion is, are other ones. In my opinion, there are two: Wladimir Klitschko versus Sultan Ibragimov or Wladimir Klitschko versus Ruslan Chagaev. For the moment, Samuel Peter is excluded from the equation, at least until he defeats Oleg Maskaev (if he defeats him, which is not sure).

How close are we from a fight between Klitschko and Chagaev or Ibragimov? There haven’t been rumors of a fight between Klitschko and Chagaev. Now that the World Boxing Association belt holder has recuperated from his illness, he could do something remarkable and accept a fight against another titlist (without taking a tune-up first). But will he do it? His mandatory will be probably the winner of Liakhovich-Valuev, so he is free for some months. A fight between Wladimir and Sultan is more probable. According to recent news, the Klitschko camp has already started negotiations with Ibragimov. We can only hope that they will make an agreement. Ibragimov, let’s remember, has Tony Thompson as his mandatory challenger, but that fight can wait. Klitschko is free, his next mandatory will be the winner of the tournament between Povetkin, Byrd, Chambers and Brock.

Meanwhile, the World Boxing Council has its hands full with other things. After the fight between Maskaev and Peter, the winner will have to fight against Vitali Klitschko (if he plans to return anyway) and then against Juan Carlos Gomez or whoever is their next mandatory challenger. Forget about the World Boxing Council.

In retrospective, it is incredible that just some months ago unification would have been easy to organize. But there wasn’t luck. Wladimir Klitschko’s injury occurred post-Brewster and also the cancellation of the duel between Chagaev and Ibragimov. Let’s hope that the rest of time we have to wait isn’t too much. Almost four years have passed since Lennox Lewis retired.

Article posted on 22.10.2007

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