Odds Makers Have Klitschko an Overwhelming Favorite over Chagaev
Photo courtesy of Klitschko.com – By Sam Greogry: Since Lennox Lewis announced his retirement from boxing in 2004 there hasn’t been an undisputed heavyweight champion of the world. This Saturday night that will change when Wladimir Klitschko (52-3 with 46 KO’s) who currently holds the IBO, WBO and IBF belts will be challenged by undefeated Ruslan Chagaev (25-0-1 with 17 KO’s) for Klitschko’s alphabet belts; also the winner of this fight will walk away with the prestigious Ring magazine belt; that hasn’t happened in six years.
The heavyweight division of boxing has been a dismal division to say the least for the past several years but the Klitschko brothers have at least dominated that landscape.
Many boxing fans as well as boxing betting handicappers believe that Klitschko-Chagaev is the best match-up in the heavyweight division outside the two Klitschko brothers who won’t fight each other.
Chagaev, known as “The White Tyson” will possibly be the toughest challenge Klitschko has faced in an otherwise soft division. Chagaev is a hungry fighter and he proved that in his April 2007 win over Russian giant Nikolay Valuev.
The sportsbook odds makers have Klitschko a huge favorite going into this fight and for good reason. When Chagaev defeated Valuev he beat a big, slow moving oaf; fighting the very intelligent Dr Iron Fist is quite another thing entirely. At 52 and 3 with 46 of his wins coming by way of knockout Klitschko has a ton of experience not to mention the best jab the division has seen in years.
When Klitschko fought Hasim Rahman, (regardless of what you think of Rahman he was heavyweight champion of the world) in jabs he topped double digits in every completed round. Even though Rahman had a three-inch arm advantage, Klitschko’s educated jab prevented Rahman from establishing his own jab.
According to Compubox, in Klitschko’s fight with Rahman he never dropped below 40 percent in total connects in any round and topped 50 percent three times, the fourth (51 percent), fifth (51 percent) and the seventh (67 percent). In jabs, he surpassed 50 percent in every round and in the seventh round he exceeded 70 percent in jab connects.
Chagaev has been called the WBA’s “champion in recess” since he withdrew from two scheduled rematches with Nikolai Valuev. A third fight was scheduled in Helsinki but was cancelled when Finnish boxing authorities said Chagaev failed to meet “medical requirements”.
Originally David Haye was scheduled to fight Wladimir Klitschko on June 20th for the heavyweight title. Haye apparently pulled a muscle in his back and had to back out of the fight. According to some there is even speculation Haye pulled out of the fight because he was asked to take a pay cut.
The odds are 6/5 for Klitschko to win this fight by KO, TKO or DQ. 11/8 for Klitschko by points, 6/1 for Chagaev by KO, TKO or DQ, 14/1 for Chagaev by points, 25/1 it will be a draw; the over/under is 9.5 rounds.
ESPN Classic and ESPN360.com will cover the Klitschko-Chagaev fight live on June 20th from Gelsenkirchen, Germany, beginning at 5PM ET.
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