Commentary: Did Klitschko Dominate Ibragimov?

By Christopher Roche, – While I do not normally open commentaries with reader submissions, I thought the one below was an appropriate lead. In part of my column last week, I predicted an upset in the Klitschko vs. Ibragimov bout. Reader AJ immediately called me out on the day of publication.

Here is part of his e-mail.

I wanted to know if you wrote that piece actually believing what you were saying or just making an outrageous call on the off chance it would happen? I don’t mean to sound disrespectful, but those three tools you say Ibragimov has, “good movement, fast hands, and is a southpaw” How has Klitschko done against that blueprint in Chris Byrd?

I hope you will own up to this pick after the fact…maybe you just like picking the underdog in the hope that in 10 tries you will get one right and be able to say “I told you so”

I just don’t understand how anyone can give Sultan a shot. He wouldn’t win if these two fought 25 times


AJ points out the logical connection between Chris Byrd and Sultan Ibragimov, however, Klitschko was much more tentative on Saturday night, than I remember him against Byrd. Ultimately, AJ was right, and I was wrong, regarding the outcome of the fight, but based on that uneventful performance by both fighters, does my prediction of an Ibragimov win really look that ludicrous? Was Klitschko a dominating fighter on Saturday night?

After only a couple of rounds, I heard raucous booing. I heard some fans clamor for a “no contest”. I saw Klitschko not land a hard right hand until the seventh round. I saw Ibragimov’s right hand play paddy cake with Klitschko’s left. How in the world could this fight be scored? I thought Ibragimov should have been awarded the early rounds, because of his subtle feints, jabs, bodywork and chopping left. What little tempo there was, I thought Ibragimov set it, early on.

However, the judges clearly disagreed, and two of them awarded Klitschko a lopsided victory. I thought Ibragimov “won” five rounds, and in my notes, I gave him 1,2,4,6 and 10. My score was closest to Steve Weisfeld’s, who gave the fight to Klitschko by a score of 117-111. While I have not reviewed the whole tape yet, I did not see the fight as a total domination for Klitschko, which the scorecards suggested. Ibragimov slipped Klitschko’s right hand very well, and even when he was hit with some shots, he attempted to rally back, with the exception of the ninth round flurry where the ropes held him up. In other words, there was not a lot of one-sided action.

Round 10 was one of the strangest rounds I have seen in awhile, and when Ibragimov tackled Klitschko, I envisioned a torn ACL or a broken scapula happening. Roughly 500 pounds crashed to the canvas, but fortunately, neither man was hurt, and the fight mercifully wound its way to the close.

While I went out on a limb and picked Ibragimov to pull off a major upset, I do not feel embarrassed, but I am certainly not vindicated. Because of the forgettable nature of the bout, I am rather indifferent to the fight and its result, and I suspect that many of the fans feel the same way.

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