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Valuev vs. Vitali Klitschko in September or October

Nikolai Valuev Vitali KlitschkoBy Matt Stein: After four off and on years as the World Boxing Association heavyweight champion, Nikolay Valuev (50-1, 34 KO’s) will be facing his toughest test of his career by fighting a unification bout against WBC heavyweight champion Vitali Klitschko (37-2, 36 KO’s) in September or October of this year. Vitali and Valuev, as well as big Nikolai’s promotional company, have confirmed that Vitali and Nikolai have spoken and come to an agreement about a fight.

Valuev, 35, recently had a bout cancelled with WBA champion in recess Ruslan Chagaev after Ruslan failed a pre-fight medical test before their bout in Helsinki, Finland. Valuev declined to fight a replacement opponent Kali Meehan who was offered to step in for Chagaev. Perhaps it’s a good thing that Valuev did, because there’s no telling what might have happened in that fight.

In facing Vitali, the seven foot three hundred and twenty pound Valuev will easily be getting the biggest payday of his long sixteen year pro career. It’s unfortunate that it has taken this long fro Valuev to get a career defining fight, however. But as the saying goes, better late than never.

At least Valuev was able to hold onto his WBA title long enough for him to cash out with a huge paying bout against the big 6’8” Klitschko. There were worries that Valuev was in danger of losing his title last December when he fought a life and death bout against former heavyweight champion Evander Holyfield, 46, beating him by a narrow 12-round majority decision.

Somehow Valuev was able to hold onto his title, but it wasn’t a good sign that Valuev had to struggle with a fighter as old and as far gone seemingly as Holyfield. Aside from a rematch with Holyfield, which would make decent but not big money for Valuev, the big Russian giant didn’t have a lot of other options for fights other than taking on a dangerous opponent like Vitali or David Haye.

A bout against the British former cruiserweight champion would have been big, but not nearly so as a fight against Vitali or Wladimir Klitschko because of their proven track record as heavyweight champions. The rest of the WBA top 15 was rather limited for Valuev with Meehan, Taras Bidenko, John Ruiz and Kevin Johnson being Valuev’s top four contenders in the division. Valuev has already beaten Ruiz twice and the thought of a third bout between the two was less than awe inspiring.

Valuev’s chances of beating a fighter as powerful as Vitali would seem to be slim and none. Vitali isn’t the quickest of heavyweights, but he moves well on his feet and has big power with both hands. He’s not easy to hit because he leans away from punches. It doesn’t matter, though, even if Valuev does land any shots against him, because Vitali has a great chin and Valuev can’t crack and egg with his punches.

This is going to be a one-sided fight from the looks of it. Hopefully, Valuev gives it his all for as long as he can to try and make a fight of it because unless he comes out hard trying to hurt Vitali with something big, this fight will be like a slow torture for Valuev.

This isn’t going to be a fight in which Valuev will have a huge 100 pound advantage in which he can just maul his opponent into submission. Vitali weighs 250 pounds and can punch with big power both on the inside and outside. I can’t see where Valuev would have any real advantages in this bout. It looks like he’s in trouble. However, Valuev will at least get a good payday no matter what happens.

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