Unbeaten contender Kubrat Pulev (20-0, 11 KOs) will be coming into tonight’s fight against IBF/IBO/WBA/WBO heavyweight champion Wladimir Klitschko (62-3, 52 KOs) with a slight weight advantage when they meet up tonight in Hamburg, Germany. During Friday’s weigh-in, Pulev weighed in at 246.92 pounds compared to Wladimir’s 245.82.
Pulev, 6’4 ½”, is the slightly shorter fighter compared to the 6’6” Wladimir, but Pulev lacks the same kind of punching power that Wladimir has. However, with Wladimir’s fragile chin, it might not matter that Pulev lacks punching power, because if he can connect with enough of his power shots, he might be able to get him out of there. This also has a lot to do with whether or not Wladimir will let Pulev get his shots off.
We’ve seen plenty of Wladimir’s previous fights in which he spent much of the time holding onto his opponents to keep them from getting their shots off. If Wladimir elects to use that fight strategy tonight, then Pulev will be struck throwing jabs on the outside. As good as Pulev’s jab is, he’s not going to be able to beat a fighter like Wladimir by throwing nothing but jabs all night long.
Pulev is coming off of a 3rd round knockout win over Ivica Perkovic last April. Pulev was hit a number of times in that fight, and it was far from an impressive performance from him. He got the win, but he failed to show that he belongs in the upper echelon in the heavyweight division. Pulev has previous wins over an out of shape looking Alexander Ustinov, Tony Thompson and Alexander Dimitrenko.
Pulev fought well enough in those fifths to get two stoppages. Thompson gave Pulev a great deal of problems in the first five rounds before running out of gas. One can only wonder what the 2008 version of Thompson would have done to Pulev had they fought each other at that point in Thompson’s career. By the time that Pulev fought Thompson, he was already in his 40s and flabby around the midsection.