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Klitschko vs. Johnson: Kevin looking to outbox Vitali on Saturday

vit464Photo credit: Juan Carlos Manzano – By Dave Lahr: This Saturday’s bout between World Boxing Council heavyweight champion Vitali Klitschko (38-2, 37 KO’s) and challenger Kevin Johnson (22-0-1, 9 KO’s) pits two fighters with completely different styles of fighting. Vitali, now 38, has been known as something of a brute force in the ring during most of his career. He can box at times, but most of his fights tend to result with Klitschko slugging his much smaller and slower opponents into submission.

Johnson, 30, has always been a pure boxer with amazing speed, an excellent jab and a lethal left hook. Johnson much prefers to box on the outside and dominate his opponents without getting messy and taking needless shots. As of late, however, Johnson, with his hard work in training, has discovered power that he never had before and has become a lethal puncher in his own right.

Still, Johnson prefers to box from the outside. And why blame him? With an excellent jab like the one that Johnson possesses, he doesn’t need any other weapon besides his piercing jabs to beat his opponents down and win on points. But for those hard heated fighters that think they can take the fight to Johnson and knock him out, Johnson has some surprises in the form of his new powerful left hook and right uppercut.

There’s little question what the older Klitschko is going to try to do on Saturday when he steps in the ring against the young, faster Johnson at the PostFinance Arena, in Berne, Switzerland. Klitschko is going to try and slug early, shoot his fireworks off quickly, and get the young Johnson out as fast as he can to save his aging legs. Johnson, however, isn’t going to play into any of Klitschko’s old tricks and will be using his smooth boxing skills to pound the bigger, slower Ukrainian from the outside. Johnson, believe it or not, has the reach advantage over Klitschko by an incredible two inches.

Blessed with long arms, Johnson has used these assets to his advantage during his young six year pro career to dominate his shorter-armed opponents with his long jab. Johnson’s jab is arguably the best in all of boxing. There’s no other fighter that can compare to the jabs that Johnson throws from what I can see. To go along with his lightning fast jab, Johnson moves well around the ring without laboring like some heavyweights.

Against slower sluggers like Klitschko, Johnson moves out of the way with ease like a matador steering a bull around the ring. Klitschko is going to try and do what he always does against his opponents by going after them and trying to nail them with a big right hand or left hook.

The problem that Klitschko will be up against here is that Johnson will have the reach advantage over him and will be spearing him in the face with jabs all night long. When Klitschko does get in close, which will be rare, Johnson’s faster hands will be a big problem for the slower Klitschko. Johnson will land left hooks and right hands in close and drive Klitschko back.

This is going to be an easy for Johnson. I know that some Klitschko fans don’t understand that, perhaps due to them not being familiar with Johnson, but that’s the way the fight is going to wind up. Klitschko is getting old, and he picked the wrong fighter to step in the ring with.

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