Wladimir Klitschko vs. Rocky Marciano: What if?

karen belford11.09.06 - By Karen Belford: Hello East Side People, it's good to be back. Today, I'd like to discuss a hypothetical bout between Rocky Marciano and Wladimir Klitschko. Now, before I begin, I just want to let you all know that I'm not a fan of either of these two, although I won't let that get in the way of my description of their meeting. At first glance, this would seem like a mismatch for Wladimir, seeing that with his huge size (6'6" 247 labs) advantage, he'd probably toy with Marciano, and make him look like naughty child. Well, it's not that easy.

Wladimir, even though he'd be the much larger and possibly the harder puncher of the two, he would still be vulnerable to anything that Marciano threw. Consider, for example, Wladimir's new style of fighting, one that emphasizes a lot of clinching. While, I think style us effective against some fighters, like Samuel Peter, but against a busy fight such as Marciano, a fighter that rarely stopped punching.

Marciano, who retired with a 49-0 record, yet many of his opponents were well past their primes by the time he fought them. Even then, Marciano had his hands full in trying to beat them. However, he did beat them, and retire with an undefeated record at that, so he's still the top heavyweight of all time, at least as far as records go. Yet, if you ignore Marciano's impressive won-loss record and focus exclusively on his fighting abilities, you'd see that he had marginal hand speed and a leaky defense.

In fact, Marciano's high pressure offense masked his defensive liabilities, for he was always threw so many punches that he opponents were never in the position to mount much of an offensive return fire. Now, if Marciano had met up with a young boxer, someone like Muhammed Ali or Roy Jones Jr., I'd venture to guess that they would badly outbox him and make him look like an amateur. Personally, I think there’s many other fighters that could probably do the same to him, of course, but for the sake of this discussion, these two are at the top of my list.

Wladimir, 30, is a pure puncher, with outstanding power in either hand. He can take out his opponents with hooks, right hands, left hands, or cut them up with his excellent jab. When he's on offensive, it's very difficult to withstand his offensive onslaught without going down or sustaining injuries. Other than Corrie Sanders, who blitzed Wladimir, thus taking him out before he could get started offensively, there's only been Lamon Brewster and Ross Purity that could stand up to his punches. In both cases, they absorbed an incredible amount of sickening punishment before ultimately stopping Wladimir when he had tired out.

However, Wladimir, even though he punches like a monster, he tends to tire out quickly, particularly when he's pressed hard by an opponent and forced to throw a lot of punches early in the bout. He doesn't seem to be able to catch a second wind. Besides that, when he takes hard punches, Wladimir very vulnerable to being knocked down or possibly stopped. To his credit, he does get up after being knocked down and shows a fighting spirit. Even when he's hurt, he's still very dangerous. For example, the left hook that Wladimir landed against Samuel Peter in the 12th round of their fight, a punch that had Peter almost out in his feet. Previous to that, Peter was knocking Wladimir around the ring and had him momentarily hurt.

I think the size advantage for Wladimir would prove to be far too much for Marciano to contend with. Even though Wladimir doesn't seem to react well when getting hit, I think his height and reach would make it almost impossible for Marciano to reach him with anything substantial. Really, it would be easy pickings for Wladimir, since he would be able to dominate Marciano from the outside with his jab. When Marciano would try to come inside, he would have to be able to standup to a withering amount of punches coming at him before getting in range.

Ultimately, Marciano be hit with a massive amount of hooks, right hands, you name it, before being able to throw a punch in defense. By that time, Wladimir would quickly wrap him up in a tight clinch, causing the referee to step in and break the two fighters apart. This process would repeat over and over again. Eventually, Marciano would get hit with something big, probably a left hook that would stun him and cause Wladimir to unload a huge storm of punches that would cause the referee to step in and stop the bout.

Marciano always had a good chin, which would save him the embarrassment of being stopped on the canvas, but the outcome would be all the same - a victory for Wladimir Klitschko. It wouldn't be close and Marciano would be lucky to make to the 4th round, in my opinion.

That being said, if the referee for the fight was preventing Wladimir from clinching, this would be a whole different fight with Marciano being much more competitive. Though, I still see Wladimir being the winner, due to his ability to circle around the ring and flick jabs from the outside and avoid taking punishment.

Article posted on 11.09.2006

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