Let's face facts first, I don't think there is a single boxing fan who didn't predict a dominant victory tonight from Wladimir Klitschko over the previously undefeated Mariusz Wach.
However, there were a couple of unexpected events in this bout. First, there was the chin displayed by Wach, who weathered a 12-round beating at the hands of Klitschko and didn't even look close to landing on the seat of his pants.
Second, there was the fight Klitschko fought. We've all gotten used to the safely-does-it approach we've seen from Klitschko over the last few years, but tonight, he attacked throughout and entertained.
Did the level of opponent allow Klitschko to deliver a different type of fight as normal? Probably. However, I enjoyed the display and was surprised that Wach stayed on his feet.
From the opening bell, Klitschko came forward. His jab, as usual, was dominant throughout the bout as he landed it seemingly at will. What was different was the come-forward manner Klitscko displayed, the fact that he started letting his right hand go earlier than usual and the three- and four-punch combinations he threw throughout the bout.
Klitschko peppered his opponent with his usually jab-straight combination throughout the first four rounds while adding frequent left hooks, some as leadoff hooks and some at the end of the one-two that were landing so well.
Wach, to his credit, weathered everything Klitschko had to throw, and until the very end of the fifth round, didn't seemed phased. At the end of Round 5, Klitschko caught Wach with a big right hand that visibly shook his opponent, who seemed relieved when the bell sounded.
The big round of the bout came in Round 8 as Klitschko obviously upped the pace in search of a knockout. Leading in with flurries of punches we are not accustomed to seeing Klitschko throw, he took the fight to Wach to the glee of the fans.
Still, Wach stayed on his feet. There were moments in the eighth in which some refs would have stopped the fight, but it was allowed to continue—and rightly so. Wach ate a lot of punches but rarely looked stunned or in serious trouble, managingd to fire back with occasional shots.
Wach did have his moment in an otherwise one-sided fight. At the end of Round 6, Wach connected with a good right hand that backed Klitschko onto the ropes. For the final 30 seconds of the round, Wach attacked. It was a sight the crowd had not seen before in the bout and one they would not see again.
As Wach unloaded, Klitschko ducked, bobbed and kept his gloves in front of his face. The first right hand aside, nothing in Wach's attack landed cleanly, and the door was closed on his chance in the fight as quickly as it opened.
The remainder of the bout continued with Klitschko attacking, landing jabs, crosses and hooks, and Wach, somehow, managing to stay on his feet. The judges' decision was just a formality as Klitschko, once again, dominated his opponent to successfully defend his heavyweight titles.
I am sure we will here the usual complaints about the level of competition Wladimir is facing, and we will read articles about how overrated he is. I, however, enjoy watching Klitschko fight and was thrilled to see an aggressive, come-forward Klitschko provide an entertaining fight in honor of his late trainer Emanuel Steward.
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