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Vitali Klitschko vs. Valuev next?

Nikolai Valuev Vitali KlitschkoBy Chris Williams: According to news from, World Boxing Council heavyweight champion Vitali Klitschko (39-2, 37 KO’s) could be facing former WBA heavyweight champion Nikolay Valuev (50-2, 34 KO’s) in his next title defense. This is a fight that will be a popular one in Europe, where the 36-year-old Valuev remains a popular fighter of sorts. This isn’t the huge mega fight that the 38-year-old Vitali Klitschko was looking for, however.

Klitschko is hoping to fight WBA heavyweight champion David Haye in 2010, but before he can do so, Klitschko has to wait to see if Haye can get by his next fight against American John Ruiz in early 2010. Barring any shocking results, like Haye being knocked out, then hopefully Haye and Klitschko can put together a fight for later in 2010.

The Valuev bout for Klitschko, if it does get made, would be the equivalent of a stay busy fight for Vitali. The 7-foot 320 pound Valuev has zero power and is incredibly slow for a heavyweight. Klitschko should have little problems battering Valuev into submission unlike Haye, who fought tentatively for most of the 12 round fight against Valuev in November. Haye won that fight by a 12 round majority decision, but averaged little better than 10 punches thrown per round. Klitschko will likely throw that many punches in the first 30 seconds of every round.

Klitschko looked slow and methodical in his last fight with American Kevin Johnson, beating him by a lopsided 12 round decision in December. Johnson spent the entire fight lying against the ropes, covering up and throwing an occasional jab at Vitali. Johnson had the better hand speed of the two, but it didn’t matter. Vitali was still able to dominate him without any problems.

But the fight did show that Klitschko is starting to slow down and lose some of his hand speed. He was never quick to begin with, but he’s clearly starting to lose even more hand speed in the past year since his comeback Samuel Peter in October 2008. However, Klitschko probably doesn’t need hand speed to beat Haye or any of the other heavyweights in the division. There’s really no one talented enough to beat Vitali other than perhaps his younger brother Wladimir Klitschko, the IBF/WBO heavyweight champion.

It would be interesting to see the 6’7” Vitali in the ring with the 7-foot Valuev, if only to see two monstrous heavyweights going at it. Both of them would look incredibly slow, but I can’t imagine that Valuev would be able to stand up to Klitschko’s big shots. Valuev couldn’t play the rope-a-dope like Johnson did for 12 rounds because of his huge size, and Valuev doesn’t move well enough to run from Vitali. I see this fight lasting four or maybe five rounds at the most before Vitali bludgeons Valuev to the canvas.

Valuev does well against smaller heavyweights that he can beat with his longer reach. Against a big heavyweight like Vitali with much better power, a great chin and the nerve to stand and trade, Valuev won’t be able to stay in there long without being knocked out. The one good thing that the fight will give fans is a contrast of how Vitali does against Valuev compared to Haye. I imagine that Vitali will look worlds better than Haye did.

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