Klitschko defeats Ibragimov in a snoozer; Garden Crowd Disappointed - Boxing
By Phil Santos, Overhandright.com (Feb 24, 2008) Doghouse Boxing (Photo © German Villasenor)  
In a lopsided victory Wladimir Klitschko expectedly dominated the smaller, lesser skilled Sultan Ibragimov. Klitschko won decisively and collected another belt in a significant Heavyweight unification bout. The overly cautious approach which Klitschko used against Ibragimov frustrated the Madison Square Garden crowd that came out in anticipation of a knockout or at least an exciting fight.

Klitschko began the fight with his right hand tied behind his back. Literally he failed to throw a single right hand until the
4th or 5th round. Wladimir spent most of the 1st slapping at Ibragimov’s jab, knocking down any right handed attempt that Ibragimov offered up. The problem was he did nothing to establish his own offense and Ibragimov took the round.

As the fight wore on, beginning in round 2, Klitschko started landing his jab successfully. Still, befuddling to me was the glaring fact that he refused to throw the right hand. Arguably his big right hand was his best weapon. Even if you thought his jab was more important you knew that his jab is what set up that right hand which has ended so many of his opponent nights early. Was he hurt? Was his hand injury worst than previously reported? You had to wonder. And if he wasn’t hurt what the hell was he doing?

What you could consider to be impressive was the ease in which Klitschko handled Ibragimov with little more than a left jab. Nearly every round he won, and he won most of them, he won behind his jab. Finally in the fights second half we began to see him let some right hands fly with decent success. You had the sense that if he let his balls hang out he could have stopped Ibragimov anytime he wanted but he chose to fight conservatively and ensure a points victory.

Ibragimov had no answers for Klitschko. The fact was he was overmatched. Klitschko was too big, too strong and plain and simple just too good. Even with Klitschko only fighting with one hand for most of the evening Ibragimov failed to capitalize.

Toward the end of the fight Klitschko’s trainer, Emanuel Steward, urged his fighter to finish the job and take Ibragimov out. Klitschko never responded and like Jermain Taylor, one of Manny’s former fighters, he seemed to turn a deaf ear to Stewards goading.

The Garden crowd commenced booing somewhere around the middle rounds and made themselves heard following the bell sounding after every round until the finish. Following the fight while being interviewed by HBO’s Max Kellerman the crowd continued to jeer Klitschko who was almost apologetic for his performance.

The win moves Wladimir Klitschko to 50-3 (44), garners him the WBO Heavyweight belt to go along with his IBF and IBO straps and solidifies his status as the premier Heavyweight in the world. What this win won’t do for Klitschko is earn him any more of an American fan base than he entered the ring with. Sultan Ibragimov suffers defeat for the first time in his career, dropping his record to 22-1-1 (17). He remains a viable contender in a weak Heavyweight field but it would probably be a stretch to project him as anything more than a top 10, possibly top 5, Heavyweight fighter.

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