By Jeff Aranow: Contender Shannon Briggs thinks former world champion Wladimir Klitschko (64-4, 53 KOs) is going to need to change the way he fights before he faces IBO/WBA/WBO heavyweight champion Tyson Fury (25-0, 18 KOs) in a rematch this year.
Briggs says that Wladimir will get the same results as last time if he isn’t aggressive against the 6’9” Fury in the rematch. Briggs’ advice is for Wladimir to try to get inside on Fury so that he can land his shots.
It wasn’t working for Wladimir last November when he was trying to fight the taller and longer-armed Fury by staying on the outside and trying to jab with him. Fury was able to get out of the way of most of Wladimir’s pawing jabs.
Wladimir, 39, is working to correct the mistakes that he made in the first fight. He’s not saying what he’s specifically doing, but you would have to guess that he’s working on being more aggressive, throwing more punches, and using his right hand a lot more than he did last November.
Wladimir was mainly throwing jabs. When he did use his right hand, he wasn’t throwing it with a lot of power or speed. By throwing slower right hands, Wladimir was not able to hit Fury. When he did land his right hand, he didn’t have the power on it to do anything to Fury.
“If Wladimir isn’t willing to put it on the line, it will be the same fight. He has got to be able to put it on the line. This is a guy who is close to seven foot tall and he’s going to have to get inside and work him,” said Briggs to skysporrts.com.
Wladimir has been cautious for such a long time in his fights. It’s probably not possible for him to scrape that system of fighting at this juncture of his career. Even if it were just for one fight, Wladimir would be 100 percent better off if he could throw caution to the wind and become a more aggressive fighter.
“I believe the size was the issue for him. I also believe he wasn’t 100 per cent focused,” said Briggs. “He was living off his hype and was the champion for so many years. It was great timing and I knew that, because [Klitschko] had just had a kid. I knew it was perfect timing.”
It looked like Wladimir didn’t know how to properly fight someone with a size advantage over him. He’s been fighting shorter fighters for such a long time in his career. He seems to have forgotten how to fight taller fighters. Wladimir didn’t look comfortable in his other fights against taller fighters in the last three years against Francesco Pianeta, Kubrat Pulev and Mariusz Wach. Those guys were sloppy and didn’t have the movement or the jab to give Wladimir problems the way Fury did.
In 2001, Wladimir destroyed the 6’6” Derrick Jefferson with long right hands to the head. Wladimir knocked Jefferson down three times in the fight en route to stopping him in the 2nd round. If Wladimir fought Fury the way he fought Jefferson, it would be an easy fight for Wladimir. But it’s unclear whether Wladimir can learn to fight like that again, because he hasn’t done it in such a long time. He obviously still has the punching power to do that to Fury, but he needs to find his way back to the fighter he was back in 2001, if only for the Fury.
Being cautious is a good thing for Wladimir when he’s got the height and reach advantage. But against a tall fighter with a negative style like Fury, Wladimir needs to be a lot more aggressive if he wants to win the fight. He needs to let his hands go like Briggs is suggesting, and he can’t just jab. Wladimir needs to throw long rights, and then follow them up with left hooks once he’s in close after he lands or misses with his initial right hand.
If Wladimir can land his left hook when in clinches against Fury, it could be a good weapon for him. In Wladimir’s fight against Jefferson, he was frequently hitting him with short left hooks each time they clinched. Those left hooks did damage to Jefferson. For some reason, Wladimir stopped throwing his left hook in clinches. He might want to go back to using that weapon against Fury, because in there were frequent clinches last November. Wladimir wasn’t throwing any punches in the clinches. He was just waiting to have the referee separate them.
Wladimir lost the fight to Fury by the scores of 115-112, 116-111 and 115-112.