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In the Land of Giants - Buckle with the Knuckle: Tap Jaw Matchup
By Zito, Dog House Boxing (Sept. 2, 2015)

Tyson Fury - Wladimir Klitschko
No where in the manuscriptions did it mention Goliath having to stare upward into David's eyes before their epic encounter. It doesn't exactly coencide with the past understanding of the story, does it? Well then, what if the legends of Paul Bunyan had him squaring off against a taller and younger man that had intentions of roasting Babe (the blue ox)? It wouldn't exactly feel proper to the recolleciton of the ears, now would it? Both of these mythically misdireted scenerios will in fact take place on October 24th in Dusseldorf Germany. The reigning world heavyweight champion will be in an unfamiliar situation when he defends his 'blue ox' against one of the larger men in the division.

At 6'6", the elegantly composed champion Wladimir Klitschko defends his WBA, WBO, and IBF titles against the charismatically entertaining challanger Tyson Fury, who stands at 6'9". While Fury is the larger and younger fighter, Klitschko definately has the edge in ring experience. This not only makes for an interesting matchup, these two fighters are among the biggest men ever to fight for a unified heavyweight crown.

Neither Tyson Fury (24 wins, 0 losses, 0 draws, w/18 k outs) nor Wladimir Klitschko (64 wins, 3 losses, 0 draws, w/ 53 k outs) are accustomed to fighting opponents that can somewhat match both their own height and length. There are certainly other variables to both of their fighting styles that add to their size advantage against other opponents, but which boxer will be able to effectively use the strengths of their skills and assets to exploit potential weeknesses in this particularly sizeable contest? For a speculatory outlook on possible things to come in this 'mega matchup of massive men', we have to briefly observe a few of the positive and negative charges in each fighter.

Positive Charge for Fury - Tyson is an extremely large porportioned man. He stands, and moves, at 6 feet 9 inches and weighs approximately between 250 lbs to 257 lbs with an 85 inch arm reach. Although still a bit technically raw, he has managed to acquire some skill that goes in accordance with his size. Fury has learned to use his excessive reach advantage to box from the outside, and he has developed into a stong inside fighter at times. His youthful activity does not seem to widely diminish in the later rounds. The most important aspect in the ring for Tyson (especially against Klitschko if applied) is his fighting spirit. When he feels the need, Fury can become extremely aggresive and impose his size on the opposition.

Negative Charge for Tyson - Fury still has some fight seasoning that needs to be added. This means that he still needs a bit more ring maturaty. Although Tyson has gained some boxing skills, he tends to have moments of undisiplined craftmanship. His transitions from offense to defense sometimes leave him in vulnerable positions of exposure, and he has a tendancy of making uncoordinated movements within his footwork. This has allowed some opponents to catch Fury with solid unseen punches.

Positive Charge for Klitschko - It is well known that Wladimir is a master pugilist from range. His jab keeps the opponents at bay until he can time them with his powerful straight right or a recently developed hard left hook. Klitschko has fought a wide variety of opposition giving him a vast amount of ring experience over nearly every other fighter. Wladimir is not void of size either. His 6 foot 6 inch 240ish pound frame with an 81 inch arm reach is a tremendous asset. This reach and height advantage allows Klitschko to use his long jab to guide and stiffle his opponents on the outside while still delivering power shots from range. He is also unordinarily crafty, nimble, agile, and athletic for a man with his size and for his current age.

Negative Charge for Wladimir - Inside, inside, inside! Klitschko does not fight on the inside what-so-ever. When an opponent gets within their own punching range on him, Wladimir's only defense is to grab and hold on to the other fighter. Any contact that is not created or established by Klitschko appears to put his entire body on a frantic high alert. Wladimir's presumed adversity to contact does not afford him the opportunity to hit an adversary to the body. He will not trade punches, aggresively stalk an opponent, or counter punch when it is not conducive to his range. Wladimir usually cannot impliment his boxing style with continued success if he does not take the lead (be the first to throw punches) .

It is easy to tell when a fighter is experienced. They know how to win (in most cases) no matter the conditions. But what about a fighter that may not have a huge amount of fights under their belt, yet they have faced adversity and have rarely, or never, lost a bout? The quality of acquired experience does not reside in the number of fights throughout the coarse of a fighter's career. The value of each individual experience is the factor of success. In other words, a fighter may have 40 fights with 40 wins, but they do not gain much experience if all of the bouts were easily won in the same manner against lower class opposition. To have successful experience in prizefighting means that a fighter has learned to positively adapt to multiple situations, or they have manifested the ability to never have to adapt, therefore always making the opposing fighter compitualate toward their style and pace of fighting. Some fighters just know how to win in a contest, while other fighters do not know how to lose a competition.

Throughout Klitschko's career, his style, fight plan, and patterns have not had to change for anyone. He is a large man that knows the basic aspects of fundamental boxing according to his own size and athleticizm. On the other hand, Fury has proven to be tough and adaptable during a fight and in training for particular opponents. This, along with his size, adds a different dimension to Tyson which makes him that much more difficult to handle.

We are accustomed to watching a Wladimir Klitschko fight with never changing expectations. Either he is going to touch the guy from range until he delivers the KO blow, or he is going to hit an hold his way to a decision. That may be true and even boring to some, but that is an awfully effective way for a big man to retain his championship. In this upcoming matchup however, the champion cannot acheive success in this manner. Boxing fans will get a treat when they finally witness a show of slight adaptation presented by Wladimir Klitschko. Fury is too big and his boxing IQ is good enough to make Wladimir have to change some of the things that enable his own pugilistic success. To put it another way, no one can constantly lean and pull their head straight back against an 85 inch reach without peril. If 6'9" 257 lbs of trained athlete wants to lean and beat on another person, it is no easy task to stop that from taking place, even for the world heavyweight champ. "When up against the most intelligent gorilla experts in the world, King Kong is still no easy victory."

Geography will be key to both men in this bout. Although Fury may have some initial success from range against Wladimir, he will eventually have to change his positioning, if he is still coherant. Klitschko's ability to time his opponent from the outside should start to take shape. It will definately get much more interesting if, or when, Tyson begins to take the fight to Wladimir on the inside. As strong as Klitschko may be, if Fury refuses to clench with him, there is not much that Wladimir can do about it. For the most part, throwing outside punches and then holding on the inside does not work on a larger fighter with aggression. Tyson has the reach and the footwork to determine where the fighting will take place in the ring. The question at hand is if he is good enough to apply his tactics consistently.

There are a few ways that this fight can go. Klitschko is favored to win as far as the betting odds. Although this is understandable, it may not be that simple. Styles make a fight. The style, size, and ever advancing skill of Fury will give Wladimir trouble in the early rounds. Once Klitschko figures a bit of Tyson's timing, Fury will either have to pick himself up off of the canvas, or he will not be able to continue after the KO punch. If Tyson makes it through the rough moments of hard hitting that will be heaped upon him, that is when the fun begins. Fury has proven to be adaptable and a rough fighter when he has to be. Klitschko's durability and conditioning may be extremely tested. Tyson has the stamina to press an opponent into combat all fight long, while Klitschko seems to tire in fights where he cannot continually apply his rangy strategies. The longer the fight goes, the more it will be out of Wladimir's control. Youth, size, and fighting mentality is on Fury's side. Will the judges also side with the challanger? My prediction is they probably won't have to.

No matter the size and weapontry of any force, it is in the discipline where its effectiveness lies. As a fighter, Fury is a very big and dangerous opponent to face. Klitschko is also big and dangerous, as a boxer. If this were a street fight, Fury would win hands down. Unfortunately for him this is a boxing match, and that happens to be Wladimir's specialty. There are certain moments in every fight where discipline matters. Maybe it is not the right moment to step into a punch, or maybe it is not the proper range to throw a hook. These avoidable actions are things that Wladimir has specifically mastered during the process of his career. Fury still may need a few more fights before he can gauge and control a measure for these disciplines. In boxing, it only takes a flash of pugilistic immaturaty for everything to literally come crashing down. Even though Fury has the physical and mental capabilities to trouble Klitschko, an undisciplined moment will ultimately be his unravelling. It may happen in the 4th round, it may happen in the 8th round, as long as it happens before the 10th. Klitschko's conditioning, adversity to uncontrolled contact, and his tendency to be satisfied simply with fight control does not allow him to get many late knockouts. It also does not allow him to make many mistakes. Tyson on the other hand cannot afford to make any critical mistakes, but he will.

It is rare to have both youth and experience. Saul 'Canelo' Alverez is blessed with this commodity. But for mostly everyone else in the world, to gain experience, youth must be sacraficed. If Bernhard Hopkins could have done the things he did at 45 years of age when he was 24, then his legendary status would be all the more remarkable. That sort of maturity does not often happen with young fighters. 27 years is relatively young in heavyweight terms. Can an older (in boxing years) Wladimir prove that his ring maturity is too much for the big young Fury. I think so. In an exciting fight with a few ebs and flows, it will be the consistency of Klitschko that will have the last word and the last flow. My prediction is that Klitschko stops Fury between round 6 and round 8. It is up to Tyson to prove us skeptics wrong, and he has the capabilities, especially against this particular opponent. If he had slightly more experience against top quality competition, then we probably would be looking at a different fight. As it is, you can never deny experience unless experience gives a reason for denial. For many years, Wladimir has been steadily grooming and progressing his skills. It has also been many years since we have seen the experience of Klitschko extremely tested. This fight has the potential to make that happen. I hope that it does not disappoint in that aspect, and I have the feeling that it will not.

By Zito

Buckle with the Knuckle is an installment of fight breakdowns, analysis and predictions presented by Zito and Tai of The Fightin’ Words Radio Show. Catch our host Butch, Tai, and Zito every Saturday at 6:00pm on The Fightin’ Words Radio Show on Blog Talk Radio.

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